iPhone UK launch live blog

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Charts, Charts, Charts: How The U.S. and UK iPhone Launches Compare

[Note: This is the ‘as live’ blog I did for the Apple launch today, even though the London Apple Store, which usually has WiFi, did not have WiFi today. Go figure. Not only that but the venue was shielded from any mobile signal. I had to leave to get WiFi straight after the launch. Apple needs to “sort itself out” in this respect and… well, I’m being as polite as I can right now… Grrr….]

Steve Jobs takes the stage…:

Welcome to the Apple Store regent St. It’s out largest store in the UK and second largest in terms of revenues.

We appreciate the store shutting down a bit so we have be here (yeah, but and no wifi today Steve!!)

The iphone is three awesome products in one.

In addition it is the best ipod we’ve ever made

It’s the best browser on any mobile browsers that gives you the full internet.

Plus you can have other fun with stuff like google maps

In the US the iphone has been on sale for less than 90days and we have sold over a million in the first 74 days.

But what’s better is our market research matches 3rd party research which says the customer satisfaction is the highest of any apple product. Over 90% are happy or very happy.

This is what counts in the long run and we can’t wait to let the people here have one.

So we’re coming to the UK and we wanted to pick the best carrier. We were able to talk to the all the carriers and we felt the one we got along with the best was 02.

We’ve now lowered the price if the iphone and focused on the 8GB model and we want to make it affordable. So in UK it will be £269 (which includes VAT) for the 8GB iPhone.

So we’re going to be launching with 02 on Nov 9th.

Now in the US we ran ads for the iPhone and we have three ads ready for the UK. Here they are…

(Steve intros 3 ads – see our video below)

Video thumbnail. Click to play
Click To Play

And now I want to introduce Matthew Key, the CEO of O2Key:My mind goes back to when I met Steve and it was early Summer. Now I see 100s of devices a year but in 2 mins of using it I realised the iPhone was a breakthrough product. If I had been able to get it on an 02 plan right there I would have .IN the UK we are about great customer experiences and it’s not by accident that we have broken through to be the top network in the UK.

We still carry about 40% of of text traffic in the UK.

We’re done bold things like like the 02 dome [the former Millienium Dome in London, renamed the 02 – just a branding deal people]

Now it’s the iPhone.

So the first thing we had to do to use the iPhone and create a great experience. Distribution was going to be key.

So we have partnered with Carphone Warehouse [Not – no-one form Carphone Warehouse appeare dat the press conference]. And have 1300 points of distribution in total.

Combined that covers 90% of the UK.

Every store will have an iPhone expert in store.

[Key demos the ipHone, you’ve seen all this already]

No, the iPhone is a great product. Visual voicemail is my favourite. On the iPhone you can slide to the point of the key bit of information you missed. Great function.

In terms of tarif we have 3 tarrifs:

£35

£45

£55

Per month.

All plans have unlimited data.

So customers won’t need to worry.

If a customer is not with 02 they can keep the current number and have it ported over from their current provider.

We’re setting up a dedicated care centre with 1000 agents to look after customers.

There’ll be a great end to end customer experience.

The device itself and the user interface is very easy to use, with loads of content and applications

I was recently picking up daughter, who was lost. I keyed in the road I was going to and found my map easily on the iPhone. That’s the power of the iphone. [cute story huh]

In terms of using the Net customers don’t need to worry.

The power of the network is smart. It will always search for the best network. Usually that will be WiFi.

Lots of people have WiFi at home and work.

We have created an agreement to use 7500 Hotspots in the UK, when they roam on it will be a seamless experience.

If WiFi is not available the customer will go onto the O2 Edge network, which for the vast majority of users will find satisfying.

The iPhone has beaten requests to me for Led Zepplin tickets at 02. [Press laugh at this]

This partnership is multiyear and we’ll bring a great customer experience. Steve and I will now have questions.

Q&A

[Q: Why no 3g?]

Steve:

No 3g because 3G chipsets are very power hungry and our phone has a battery life of 8Hrs

That’s really important when you start to use the Net or listen to music. You won’t listen to music if you are afraid of losing your phone.

The 5+ hour range for a 3G phone will be the suitable level. We hope to see that late next year. The trade off with 3G is too bad right now.

We found that Edge is great for most things like Mail, Google Maps. The one thing you’d like faster is Web.

So we built in WiFi to the iPhone address that.

So we’ve kind’ve sandwiched 3G between Edge and WiFi.

[Q: 7500 hotspotpts?]

The hotspot is The Cloud (http://www.thecloud.net/About-us/ ) . 02 will look after the customer and the usage of the hotspots is included in the Tarrif.

[People, This IS A BIG DEAL – no other network has married a mobile with a WiFi experience in quite the same way – Ed]

Steve: Most people have Wifi at home or work now. The iPhone will look for the fastest network and seamlessley switch to it.

Key: We think 2 out of every three usage occasions will be on WiFi.

[Q:Plans for deal with Starbuck? ]

Steve – You’ll have to ask Starbucks. They love the UK thgouh.

[Q: Similar enabling/activatoin of phone with iTunes in US ?]

Steve: The way we will activate the phone is the same way in the US. You get to go buy the phone, take it home, plug it into iTunes. From iTunes wyou ill pick a tarrif plan and activate the phone. It’s also how they deliver updates. Until the iPhone mobile phones didn’t update their software, but now there are millions of iPod owners who can do this and are used to this and we are doing this with the iPhone.

[Q: What was that purple application on the UK iPhone, bottom right hand side of the iPhone screen?]

Steve: The purple application is the iTunes music store which is rollowing out

[How long is this multiyear deal with Apple?]

Key: no details on multi-year deal how long etc.

In terms of the customer, the customer signs up to an 18 months contract. You need to use more that 1,400 internet [I assume he meant web pages] pages per day to break the unlimited data tarrif. That’s a lot.

[What are the terms of the deal? Sales revenue from device sales?]

Steve: We are not going into that. But good question.

[Will UK users be shocked that they have to pay for a mobile phone? Note: Lots of mobiles in the UK come free as they are subsidized by the carrier]

Key: This is a great mobile, but not just a mobile. The other thing is this is an overall package. But what you’ll do is leagues different from what you will do with a normal phone today.

Steve: Sometimes you get what you pay for.

[What are you going to do about iPhone unlocking?]

Steve: This is a constant cat and mouse game. We play it on iPods with DRM. We promised music companies to stay ahead of this problem. We try to stay a step ahead. It’s going to be the same way here with the iphone. It’s our job to keep them from breaking in. That’s job security [did he actually crack a joke there? He didn’t smile, but…]

[Q: With direct purchase of music will apple share purchase of songs with 02?]

Steve: Not saying right now, but one day that might make sense, conceptually.

[Q: What does O2 need to do to its network to make this work?]

Key: In terms of the network we are investing in Edge. At launch we’ll be north of 30 % Edge across the network [I assume that means London first then the rest of the UK]

Once we have built edge into our network, 5.5 million customers will benefit from it. Over 30% by launch, and we’ll go north from there. I can’t answer in terms of amount of money invested.

[Will the iPod Touch affect sales? Will it hurt sales of iPhone whne it launc]hes in the UK?

Key: You always know Apple will be on the front foot [Press laughs – he is possibly registering a little frustration, maybe?]. iPod Touch and iPhone is a different segment of the market. We will sell a lot of iPhones and Steve will sell a lot of the iPod Touch.

Steve: One is a phone one isn’t. One has email one doesn’t. People may buy iPod Touch and show it to friends and may realise they can have it all . the iPod touch is almost training wheels for the iPhone.

[How many will you shift this Xmas?]

Key: We won’t be held to a number, but our research says 80% of our high value customers said they would want an iPhone and 40% of other network’s customers said they would switch carrier to get the iPhone.

[The iphone in the Uk is more expensive than the US]

Steve: In the UK the extra price tag on the iPhone is VAT. In the US the sales tax is lower. It’s also a little more as it’s a little more expensive to do business here. But we try to be as aggressive as we can.

[What about other European markets?]

Stev: We are rolling out in UK this quarter and with other networks across the next quarter.

We think partnerships take a lot of work and it takes time to find the people you want to work with. It’s a little like dataing. We dated a few people that we didn’t get married to. We found one and got married. So there’s a few upset girlfriends out there.

Key: I was happy to say “yes”

Steve: For us it wasn’t an economic but cultural choice [I’m sure the rumoured 40% revenue split may also have helped – Ed]

We’d like to sell 10m phones in calendar year 2008. Proportion in Europe? I don’t know.

[CrunchGear/techCrunch asked a question: When will you open up the iPhone to sid-eloaded applications?]

We’ve talked about other apps. In terms of Web, Facebook has done great optimizations for the iPhone and so has Salesforce.com

Some people want us to open it up intimately, so we’re looking at it.

But Phones are not like Pcs.

If you use a PCs a lot of people have issues with viruses and they trade off reliability with the ability to use some applciations. That might be the trade off for a PC but it’s not OK for a phone. So if you load a strange combination of apps onto you phone, you will be really upset when it doesn’t work. People hold their phones to a higher standard than their PC. The more open you are by definition the less predictable you will be so we want o do the right thing by our customers.

[Q: At the 35 per month tarrif plus £269 is minimum £900 a year. Or £1,260 pounds on highest tarrif. Can you give us an assurance that you won’t slash the price by a third in a month?]

Steve: I wish we could but then we would be in the philanthropy space. But in technology there is no guarantees. There are always new models and reductions on old models. If you always look at the horizon you will never buy anything.

Our goal is what serves customer best

[Do you think EU customers will be disappointed by a 2megapixel camera on phone? Note: 3m is becoming standard now]

Steve: More megapixels doesn’t make a better picture. The problem is camerphones don’t let in enough light because of the smallness of the lens. That’s the problem we fight. But with enough light the iPhone takes great pictures. There will be better sensors and fancier options. We have a great camera on the iPhone if there is enough light.

Sensor vendors like talking to us as they are interested in sensors not megapixels.

Ok, well thanks, please come look at the iPhone downstairs.

[Crowds start to gather outside to see what the press are looking at. Yes, it’s here kids…]

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