updated 10:25 am EDT, Wed April 9, 2008
Australian iPhone by July?
Australia may be receiving the iPhone as soon as this summer, rumors suggest. The country's local edition of Macworld cites "reliable sources," who at first indicated that the iPhone would not come to the country until next year, but then pointed to a release date in either June or July. This is said to be bolstered by talk from resellers contacted by MacTalk Australia, who are proposing a release date in the final week of June. Representatives for Apple, however, have denied speaking with resellers on the matter.
An unusual aspect of the rumors is that Australia could be the first country in the world to support the iPhone on multiple carriers without additional fees, unlike France, where Orange charges extra for a phone that can operate on other networks. In regions like the US and the UK, the iPhone can only operate on a single network, at least without hacking.
The possibility of a non-exclusive iPhone in Australia is complicated not only by Apple's history, but by the fact that only local carrier Telstra would be able to support the present device, being the only company with EDGE support. As a 3G iPhone is widely anticipated this summer though, the phone could potentially be available for other carriers including Optus and Vodafone.
The Australian iPhone may even be sold at third-party Apple resellers, instead of just official telecom or Apple outlets. It is speculated that this could mean the availability of unlocked iPhones, although it is unknown if Apple would insist on extra charges for these models and/or region control, as in the case of Orange.