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Apple/O2 confirm 3G iPhone will be free

UK customers get subsidised handset

Apple's 3G iPhone will be available in the UK for exactly the same price as it is in the US, with UK customers able to get their second-generation handset for free, or pay anything between £59 and £159 depending on the contract and spec.

O2 announced UK pricing for the new iPhone, which was announced yesterday and adds 3G capabilities and GPS, this morning. It will be available in the UK on July 11.

First look: Apple's 3G iPhone

Those who subscribe to the £45 or £75 per month contracts can get the 3G iPhone for free, while customers paying £30 or £35 each month will have to pay £99 for the smartphone.

Meanwhile, the 16GB model is free with a £75-per-month tariff, £59 to those signing up to a £45 per month deal and £159 for customers paying £30 per month.

Apple hopes the cheaper iPhone, which is thinner at the edges than the original but slightly thicker across the middle, will attract more buyers, with CEO Steve Jobs claiming during yesterday's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote that the high cost of the hardware was the only reason more people hadn't bought an iPhone during its first year on sale. Apple claims to have sold 6 million handsets over the past 12 months, but it still trails mobile-phone market leaders such as Nokia.

Jobs said the 3G iPhone is "amazingly zippy", claiming that download speeds approach those that can be achieved with Wi-Fi. Two other smartphones were used to demonstrate the iPhone's speed superiority during yesterday's keynote - the Nokia N95 and Treo 750 - with Apple claiming its new iPhone is 36 percent faster than them.

Jobs said the introduction of 3G capabilities won't hurt battery life. The 3G iPhone will last for 300 hours of standby time, while 2G talk time is up to 10 hours (from 8 hours). On 3G talk time, while other phones are capable of 3-3.5 hours, the iPhone lasts for 5 hours, Jobs said.

"That's actually a very large amount of 3G talktime. We're very proud of this," said Jobs.

Meanwhile, the 3G iPhone is capable of up to 5-6 hours of high-speed browsing, 7 hours of video and 24 hours of audio.

iPhone 3G

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