O2 ignores existing iPhone users with the all new iPhone

Apple just announced their newest iPhone – the iPhone 3G S and is due to launch on June 19th.

The S stands for Speed supposedly, which feels more Microsoft then Apple in style. No that isn’t a complement. It also seems a bit light on new features if you already have an iPhone as you can download the updated 3.0 software using the latest version of iTunes on June 17th (more instructions here).

If you do that you’ll miss out on a longer battery life, a 3MP camera, hands free voice contol and the ability to record video. The battery life is the same as the previous version when using 3G but is approximately a third longer using WiFi, listening to audio or watching video.

Existing O2 iPhone users are out of luck this time though. Whereas previously there was an option for existing iPhone users to upgrade to the new version by extending the length of their contract to O2, this time the only path to get the new iPhone is to pay out the remainder of your contract.

Most of the comments on Twitter when searching for O2 and iPhone are complaining about this state of affairs.

My take: most people will not pay and Apple could stand to take a hit. If Twitter is anything to go by, O2 is taking a bit of a hit to its brand as well. It is certainly not winning any plaudits 😉

One thing is certain though, when those who bought the iPhone 3G when it launched come to the end of their contract (about 6 months from now) the mobile industry could be a different beast altogether in the UK. There is no Palm Pre today and the Google phone (G1) has been slated for its hardware (though not its software). In the next 6 months though, the Palm Pre should be available in the UK (on either  O2(!) or Vodafone) and there are supposed to be a large number of new Google phones (18+!) hitting the market by the end of the year.

Interesting times in the mobile phone market..

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