Orange teases with cut-price iPad offer
Yours for £200 on contract, apparently
Orange and T-Mobile are to discount the iPad to just 200 quid, it has been claimed.
The quid pro quo, says London business freesheet City AM, which made the claim, is signing up for an 18-month or two-year contract.
Orange has just posted the following promo:
The network told Reg Hardware: "Orange... will offer new purchase options for iPad users, including more affordable prices when purchased with a data service plan, for iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G models in the coming months." [our italics]
This is the latest in a flurry of carrier-related iPad stories making it into the mainstream press over the past few days.
Girls'n'gadgets mag T3 today staked its reputation on the rather bizarre claim that Apple will release the iPad 2 before Christmas after being told so by a mole allegedly from within one of the UK's carriers.
The Sunday Telegraph yesterday reported that the iPad will gain a built-in Sim card and be sold through UK network operators - even though the same report claims said operators have refused to accept an iPhone with an integrated Sim.
The integrated Sim malarkey is nicely debunked by The Register's Bill Ray.
The Sunday Telegraph further weakens its credibility by stating that the 'new' iPad will lose its Lock key, replaced by a Mute switch. Reg readers will know this already - it's been part of the iOS 4.2 feature set for months.
What can we draw from all this? Orange and T-Mobile will offer heavily subsidised but locked 3G iPads in the coming weeks. They will run iOS 4.2, which is due out this month, but will not be second-gen models.
Does it have an integrated Sim? It's possible, but would Apple really go to the trouble - and cost - of re-tooling the iPad 3G internals just to suit a UK operator?
If Apple is doing so for its own reasons, surely it would be more cost-effective to design it into the iPad 2 rather than tweak an existing product? That might point to a new iPad coming sooner rather than later but for the fact that such an important launch would surely involve getting Steve Jobs in front of cameras now, before Americans flock to the shops for the Thanksgiving spend-a-thon? ®
Apple always support at least the current and previous generation device
So I'd suggest your definition of a legacy device is someone excessive. At any point that you buy an iOS device, you're guaranteed at least a year of software support from Apple — which is a year more than 99% of other phone manufacturers. Though it's difficult to guess what the other tablet manufacturers will do.
That the GSM spec explicitly required a removable sim?
I'd guess that this is the same as all the operators that'll give a free XBox, PS3, television or whatever. The calculation is that they'll still make a profit (probably on an individual basis, definitely over the whole group) even if you cancel in very short order.
Is the iPad bound by the same rules though? It's not a voice device, so is it still precluded from having an integrated SIM? TomTom Live and Amazon Kindle are examples of devices with SIM cards that are "not user accessible."
Also, integrated SIM != software SIM.
I doubt they will be locked
>What can we draw from all this? Orange and T-Mobile will offer heavily
>subsidised but locked 3G iPads in the coming weeks.
There is no need to network lock a handset or other device if you provide it on contract, as the customer has signed a contract of however many months and has in effect committed to pay for it in installments. The handset subsidy is safe because of the contract, not the lock. It is pretty common to get a phone on contract and find it is unlocked, particularly if the carrier is O2 and/or the phone is sold through a third party dealer like Carphone Warehouse of Phones 4 U. Two of my three latest contract phones have come unlocked.
Apple doesn't seem very keen on the idea of locking iPads: I believe that all iPads sold so far have been unlocked, and I doubt Apple will change. Apple seems to be cooling on the idea of locked iPhones for that matter, too, as they have been becoming available unlocked in more and more markets.
I suspect that T-Mobile/Orange will simply be obtaining the same unlocked iPads as everyone else through more or less the same channels as anyone else, and then bundling them with a contract.