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French operator pooh-poohs iOS4

Dismissed with a 'non' and a Gallic shrug

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Updated French network operator SFR is thumbing its nose at Apple by telling customers to think carefully before upgrading to iOS 4.

In a text message sent to subscribers the operator explains that upgrading to iOS 4 significantly slows down the menus of iPhone 3G and 3GS*, and that should they be tempted to go for it anyway the process is irreversible. That advice is repeated on the company's site, also in French.

The news came from several readers who dropped us a line following yesterday's coverage of the upgrade issues (thanks chaps). It seems many French customers are holding off on the upgrade on the basis of the operator's advice, preferring a snappy user experience to application folders and playlist creation.

It's not quite true that the upgrade process is irreversible, but it's certainly some effort to roll back.

The warning is an interesting power play on the part of SFR. The French have no more faith in their network operators than anyone else, but by offering this advice SFR is putting itself on the same side as the customer, and against Apple. Contrast that with O2's response in the UK, that it is "investigating with Apple" and will update us when the companies have (apparently jointly) found a fix.

Either way it's Apple which will have to provide a fix for the ongoing problems, unless it can just convince everyone to upgrade to an iPhone 4 and the issue disappears. ®

*SFR has now updated its advice to state explicitly that the warning relates only to the iPhone 3G: "Cette information concerne uniquement l’iPhone 3G et non l’iPhone 3GS," as the French would have it.

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