Will Londoners queue up for the iPhone?

Apple today said it will launch the iPhone for the United Kingdom on Nov. 9, marking the start of the iPhone European invasion. The company gave the exclusive contract to O2, which will sell the smart phone for £269 (about $538), with contracts available for £35, £45 or £55 per month, depending on data used, etc. The phone will also be available through Apple's retail stores and through the independent Carphone Warehouse retail chain. The European version of the iPhone is substantially unchanged from the U.S. model, which already has the capability to operate on the 900 MHz and 1800MHz GSM bands used in Europe and Asia, as well as the 850 MHz and 1900 MHz bands used in North America. Like the U.S. model, the European model will operate on the GPRS and EDGE network, not a higher-speed 3G network. At £269, the iPhone will face stiffer competition in the U.K. than it does in the U.S. That's because prices for other smartphones are typically lower in Europe, where many operators subsidize the cost of new phones in order to attract customers. For instance, O2 customers signing a £30-a-month contract for 18 months or more can get Nokia Corp.'s top-of-the-range N95 smartphone with Wi-Fi, camera, music player and GPS for free. Apple revealed a new version of the iPhone firmware, 1.1.1 on Friday with a new settings menu for international options not seen in previous versions. (The IDG News Service contributed to this report)

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