Last night, Apple released the latest incarnation of its already iconic handset – iPhone 3G S. You can get the full, in-depth run-down of the new device elsewhere but, suffice to say, there is not really that much ‘new’ to write home about.
For me, the interesting part of last night’s eagerly awaited keynote at WWDC was the battering that AT&T (the carrier that has sole distribution of the iPhone in the US) took from the Apple fanboys.
AT&T’s failure to offer MMS immediately and its inability to offer tethering support, was met with jeers from the crowd.
But that’s not all. O2 – the iPhone’s ‘exclusive’ UK carrier – also took a bit of a bashing on Twitter moments after the keynote ended, with the revelation that there would be no special deal for those wanting to upgrade. It is a story that has run and run today and is quickly gathering momentum, including a growing Twitition.
I felt a bit sorry for the poor guy handling the O2 Twitter account last night. He simply had no ammunition that would satisfy the raging hoards. Sometimes, no matter how much outreach you do, you are always stuck with an unpopular decision or a lousy product.
And it makes me wonder exactly why O2 took this stance. Today, they responded:
“We understand that everyone wants to get the new device, but we have to treat iPhone customers the same as anyone else. All our iPhone tariffs are the best value: you’re not going to find a better deal anywhere else.”
This is a stance that is easy to take considering their ‘exclusive position’ and one that the Guardian is quick to dispel.
AT&T and O2 are fighting a losing battle though. Up against the can-do-no-wrong-company that is Apple, they will often come out second best. But it is a dangerous strategy, especially with these exclusive deals likely to end soon.
With Apple’s so-called competitors failing to make much of a splash, I don’t see the iPhone losing support anytime soon. But O2 and AT&T would do well to listen a bit harder and argue their corner against the hardware giant to try and garner at least a little bit of the limelight.