The European version of the iPhone looks like it’ll be available only in the UK and Germany at first, leaving iPhonophiles in other EU countries looking at unlocked iPhones as their best bet of getting their hands on a multitouch phone.
My friend Roger Aberg, who runs the MacFeber site, already has an unlocked iPhone he uses in Sweden. He has no problems with the device, he says, but he’s hoping the European iPhone will be upgraded to HSPDA — a super fast 3G standard that’s common in Europe.
Writes Roger in email: “People are a bit skeptic about the non-3G-part. I hope for a HSDPA-version (or turbo 3G) that is plenty faster and is pretty common here. Its 3.6 mbit (regular 3G is 0.3 mbit) and would be sweet on the iPhone! That would make me upgrade.”
However, some analysts don’t expect a 3G version of the iPhone until 2008 at the earliest, when Apple will introduce the iPhone to Asia.
If Apple delays the 3G iPhone, Europeans outside the UK or Germany looking for an unlocked iPhone might be best off shopping for one in the U.S. Thanks to the weakness of the dollar, and local European sales tax (or VAT, which can run to 25 percent in some European countries), Yankee iPhones will likely be cheaper — about $35 according to Roger.