Apple Takes a Bite Out of the UK

by : Andy Adams

After the dust settled on Apple's first venture in to the mobile phones market in the United States, Europe is preparing for its release across the Atlantic.

Many mobile phone networks have been in a bidding war to be allowed to sell the computing giant's new product. O2 won this contract in the UK, following AT&T's example in America. Apple is now in talks with mobile phone companies elsewhere in Europe.

Apple, whilst new to the mobile phones market, is drawing upon its many successes in other fields. The phone uses a scaled-down version of the "Safari" web browser found on Apple's computers, as well as iPod MP3 player technology, bringing these and the standard phone functions together in a user-friendly interface.

Using a design that sits easily with other products by Apple, it is a highly stylized device, with its slimline look and large glass touch screen. And with a 3.5in viewing display it makes the iPhone even better suited for video playback than the current generation of iPods.

The main attraction consumers were drawn to after its initial announcement was the integration of the iPod functionality. That, coupled with the ability to view videos with the device held sideways for a more cinematic effect, has given a glimpse into what future iPods may look like.

However, the inclusion of an 8gb or 16gb storage capacity, as opposed to iPods with up to 80gb storage, seems to steer the device's focus from being perceived as an iPod, rather than mobile phones with some iPod functionality.

The iPhone met with great response in the US both critically and by the rate they sold. Some users said there were some additional functions they wished were present, but in general response was good.

Pricing plans in the UK with O2 are not as expensive as some people may expect, with plans starting from ?35 per month. However there are upfront costs for the handset itself, which comes in at ?269.

Initially O2 is the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the UK, but with companies like T-Mobile securing other European territories there is a possibility that other mobile phone networks will be releasing their own iPhone schemes too in the future.