O2, UK's exclusive iPhone carrier, today announced that both 8GB and 16GB versions are sold out at its stores.
O2 had earlier lowered
the price of these models in advance of a rumored June launch of a 3G iPhone, in order to spur sales of the current iPhone model.
New rumors and announcements related to the iPhone have popped up for the last few days:
- The 3G iPhone will announce on June, 29th in the USA, and in the following weeks it should invade Europe.
- Vodafone has won a contract to distribute the iPhone in 10 European countries (not all are exclusive contracts: in Italy, for example, Telecom Italia is also distributing the iPhone).
- thus, Italy will be the first country where 2 operators will sell the iPhone.
- Orange is said to be in talks with Apple about a similar contract.
It appears that Apple has finally decided to step away from the exclusive-carrier business model, in order to let carriers compete among eachother. Taking into account that T-Mobile and O2 are trying to sell all iPhones they still have in stock, and the exclusive contracts still appear to continue, one can imagine Apple's new approach:
- If an operator is willing to pay the high price for the exclusivity-contract, they'll get it. Otherwise, they'll have to share the market with those willing to sign a cheaper contract. These contracts are still necessary, because Apple wants unlimited data traffic, and -obviously- support for its Visual Voicemail feature.
- Apple allows carriers to sell its iPhone, and therefore, some competition may be welcome. Therefore, we expect to see cheaper iPhones in Italy.
- Given the higher price Apple Store UK continues to ask for its iPhones (compared to O2 retailstores), Apple might be keeping these prices high enough, trying not to stimulate more gray-market sales (since the iPhones sold in Apple's store are sold without having to sign a carrier contract).
In short, we're still far away from the standard business model for mobile phones, but the gap is narrowing.
has tested the new iMacs, and they're performing, unsurprisingly, better than their predecessors.
We're especially mentioning the 3.06 GHz model, which features a very powerful graphics card and fast harddisk, even better than the default HDD's in the Mac Pro.
This iMac may be interesting to consumers who want a powerful machine, but don't need the 8 cores and plenty of harddisk-slots in the Mac Pro.