Friday, May 16, 2008

iPhone's world tour

Rumors of the June 9 announcement of the 3G iPhone keep building. Normally Apple (used to) pre-announce by 30 days to fill the channel, but because the 2G iPhones have disappeared from the channel, it suggests that the new phone will be available for sale within 24 hours.

Beyond AT&T in the US and its three partners in Europe, Apple has added Rogers in Canada and America Movil (owned by the man richer than Bill Gates) in Latin America. Its existing partners, Vodafone and (this morning) Orange, have announced plans to sell the iPhone outside their home countries in places like Australia, Austria, Belgium, India, Switzerland and now Africa/Middle East.

Not all of the deals are exclusive for the national markets, and it’s unclear what’s happening with the revenue share. That these are sales coming in the future implies they’re waiting for the 3G phone.

But still no major Asia deals, as I’d predicted back in January. Does this mean the Apple brand does not provide the buyer power necessary for cutting a favorable deal in Asia? That there’s no point of killing gray market sales until the 3G phone is available in quantity? Or that that part of the world is just not interested in Apple’s combination of iPod, web browser and Wi-Fi?

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