Wednesday, 10 January 2007
At the Macworld Expo Steve Jobs announced that the iPhone is scheduled for UK release during late 2007.
According to the Apple website, iPhone is dependent on EDGE technology for many of it's enriched wireless capabilities.
Orange are the only operator of EDGE technologies in the UK and have a significant EDGE infrastructure across the EU. Unless Apple re-engineer core technologies behind the iPhone, it's not unreasonable to predict Orange is the ONLY operator technically capable of a 2007 release of the iPhone in the UK and Europe.
It's my guess Apple and Orange are already collaborating on core software/network technologies to enable the enriched features of iPhone - including 'random access' voicemail, and core music and video download and streaming features.
Integration of iPhone and EDGE is critical for user experience. So is integration of iPhone within home broadband and computer systems. Given this fact, it's no surprise Orange are piloting ways to integrate their services with Apple computers (through an Orange France pilot offering Macbook rental with broadband).
Stan Sigman, CEO of Cingular said their relationship with Apple is a unique relationship that lets "Apple be Apple and Cingular be Cingular."
This sentiment is reflective of why, and how, an Apple and Orange relationship will succeed - Orange delivers pioneering communications and media platforms through EDGE and home broadband, upon which Apple delivers groundbreaking devices capable of enabling enriched communications and multimedia experiences.
I expect an Orange Apple partnership to be announced during Summer 2007 if not before, with a scheduled release date towards the end of 2007.