Apple schedules London press event, iPhones expected

With plans to enter Europe by the end of the year, Apple could be ready to announce who gets to carry the iPhone.

Apple will take its keynote show on the road to London next week, with speculation mostly centered on the carriers for a European iPhone.

The company sent out invitations to a Tuesday press conference, but didn't specify the topic. "Mum is no longer the word," was the tagline attached to this invitation, stirring up talk across the pond that Apple is ready to announce its plans for European iPhone sales. The company has previously said that it wants to start selling iPhones in Europe by the end of the year.

Apple could shed more light on its plans for iPhones in Europe next week. CNET Networks

The Times Online reported that Peter Erskine, CEO of wireless carrier O2, didn't quite confirm that his company was about to start carrying the iPhone. However, he told reporters that Apple's insistence on receiving a share of the carrier revenue from calls made with the iPhone--as Apple does with AT&T--is actually a good thing for the wireless industry, apparently practicing for calls with his shareholders later this year.

Previous reports had indicated that O2 would be the U.K. carrier of the iPhone, but O2 representatives would not comment Thursday to The Times Online. The Financial Times had also reported that Apple had chosen T-Mobile's network in Germany and Orange's network in France, but it's not clear whether Tuesday's event will be just about the Brits.

Apple's forays into Europe will be very interesting, given the quality and quantity of mobile phones in that market. It's likely to produce the first 3G-based iPhone, and it's likely to be a much tougher go for Apple amid stronger competition and choosy shoppers. The company plans to enter the Asian market--also way ahead of the U.S. mobile phone industry--in 2008.

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by Bridget Carey