iPhone, exclusivity and the great British public

"The decision to offer the Pre free to those on a 24-month contract is in sharp contrast to the 269 price of the iPhone at its launch, while the launch timing capitalises on the fact that thousands of UK iPhone early-adopters are approaching the end of their 18-month contract period, while the next-generation iPhone is not expected until next June."

IT PRO asked its readers whether they would be keen to get an iPhone when the market opens up. The results weren't that surprising.

"I will probably buy an iPhone now that the other carriers will be able to sell it. My resistance to date has primarily been because I have a fundamental aversion to companies that restrict price and distribution like Apple have been doing," wrote one reader.

"Of course if the new players try to do a little price fixing of their own then I will not be owning an iPhone next year."

It would seem that those keen to get their hands on an iPhone will definitely benefit from new deals as a result of the market opening up. Meanwhile, those who've been looking for a viable alternative to the iPhone may just have found that in the Pre and if they're happy to sign up to a two-year deal are likely to be smiling when they look at their bank balance too.

But there is a further twist in the tale. Apple is unlikely to rest on its laurels after just three iterations of its iconic device, so all eyes will be on Steve Jobs et al in 2010 to see what form the next iPhone will take. After all, it would be a terrible shame to end things here.

If or when a new iPhone is announced, we'll be back to square one again. There will no doubt be a potential new exclusive deal on the table and those who've just signed up for the current iPhone on a new network will be left wishing they'd been a little more patient or working out their options.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.