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When will the iPhone be released in the UK?

When will the iPhone be released in the UK? Can I import one from the US?

I love Apple products and when I heard that Apple is making a mobile phone, I almost jumped out of my seat with joy. The only thing is, I'm not sure when it's coming out in the UK.

When will the iPhone be released in the UK? And if it's out in the US sooner than over here, can I import one?

Michael Mcfann

Hi Michael,

I think this question is on many people's minds and if you didn't get a chance to watch Steve Jobs, chief executive and co-founder of Apple, talk during the Macworld keynote, then let me fill you in...

There will be two iPhones available in the US, one with 4GB of on-board memory and one with 8GB. The 4GB version will store about 1,000 songs and the 8GB version will, accordingly, store about 2,000 songs.

Jobs also announced that the 4GB version will cost $499 (£250) and the 8GB version will cost $599 (£300), in addition to a two year contract. It is still unclear exactly what contract will apply in the UK. Both models are scheduled to be available in the US by June, in Europe by December and in Asia by 2008.

If you watch the keynote carefully, however, Jobs only said that it will "hopefully" be available in Europe by the fourth quarter -- so there is a chance that the UK might not get it until 2008 -- but judging by Apple's track record over the past five years, it should be on time.

In terms of importing an iPhone, there are a couple of potential problems. You'll have to buy it with a two-year network contract, so even if you're paying £300 for the 8GB version, you also need to pay a monthly tariff for two years. In addition, you will have to have a US postal address in order to get a contract.

The other problem is that the iPhone is most likely to be locked to the network operator, in this case Cingular, making it impossible to use another SIM card in it. This means that unless you're prepared to pay the roaming costs of using a US mobile in the UK, you won't be able to use it.

There's a small chance that Apple will decide to sell it SIM free and without a contract in the US, but my advice would be to do the hard thing and wait until it comes out in the UK later this year. Details are still thin on the ground as to the UK pricing and contract deal, but we suspect it will be a similar setup to the US.

Finally, if you, like most people, decide to wait for it to come out over here, make sure you get to an Apple store the minute it arrives -- stocks will almost certainly run out quickly.