iPhone 4 pre-orderPhoto credit: El_Enigma (Flickr)

At this years Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) Steve Jobs revealed the iPhone 4 and promised it would change everything again. We were told that pre-orders for the device would start from the 15th June, with the device being in our hands on the 24th June. Yesterday, the world woke up and in their droves attempted to pre-order the new iPhone. The net result was Apple pulled the sale from their on-line store due to demand exceeding web provisions.

Elsewhere, especially in the UK, we’ve been eagerly awaiting news from our various carriers regarding price plans and anticipated cost of the device. O2 announced last week what they expected their price plans to be; taking a lead from AT&T by axing their unlimited data plans. Monday saw the below plans and prices appear on Vodafone’s web site before being promptly pulled again.

First, the 16Gb iPhone 4 plans and prices.  In the example, it’s a white handset, but I’d anticipate the colour is cosmetic and not priced differently.

iPhone 4 16Gb (White)
iPhone 4 16Gb (White)

Second, the 32Gb iPhone 4 plans and prices. This time in black, but like I said, I would expect a colour price difference.

iPhone 4 32Gb (Black)
iPhone 4 32Gb (Black) plans and prices

Interestingly enough Vodafone are offering a flat 1Gb of data regardless of tariff. Something that’s sure to win a lot of O2’s business given their decision to tier their data plans. I love the fact that pre-orders will qualify for free Vodafone to Vodafone calling since it means I can ditch my Vodafone Friends and Family call group, therefore saving £7pcm.

Despite this leak, Vodafone are refusing to discuss any plans or take any pre-orders. They are instead referring people to a web link where you can register interest in the device. O2 are doing similar. At the time of writing Orange have advised no orders will be taken until the 24th June. T-Mobile and 3 have yet to show any kind of hand.

This lack of information is more than a little frustrating. Countless people in my Twitter stream are asking the various operators for updates and receiving the same jovial but stock answers to their queries. I feel for the web relations teams – I doubt they have any further information and it must be a nightmare to deal with the same question repeatedly but managing to maintain a sunny disposition. (That said, screenshots of a web chat Sam’s work colleague had with Vodafone made for embarrassing reading. Vodafone’s side was clearly staffed by an off shore worker whose grasp of English was diabolical. Not someone I’d want conveying a public image for a company I might own.)

I’m left wondering if this pre-ordering farce and lack of information is down to none of the operators want to be the first to release their products to market for fear of being beaten by others with more competitive plans, or if (and this is far more cynical of me) Apple has a hand in things via their controversial media machine. We’ve seen examples before of how Apple have stirred up interest and hype over their product launches in order to make them even more in the public eye; sometimes even to induce panic ordering for fear of those believing they’ll miss out if they don’t get on board as soon as possible.

What’s your gut feeling? How do you feel about the plans / cost of handset above? Do you have an operator you’re loyal to regardless? Share with us your thoughts and feelings below.

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