Why the UK iPhone won't go 3G this year

A 3G version of the iPhone is unlilely to be launched at Apple's Regent Street store event next week

The Apple iPhone almost certainly won't get 3G in the UK and elsewhere this year, relying on slower 2G and EDGE networks instead. This is sure to disappoint Apple fanboys and early adopters alike, not least because a UK release date for the iPhone looks likely to be announced next week... and even then you'll have to wait until November (as widely expected) to get your hands on one.

However there's little need for total disappointment, as a 3G iPhone is definitely on the way. Sources close to Apple have apparently told Mac rumour site Think Secret that a 3G-equipped phone is currently under development and will be launched in February 2008.

Sources close to Deutche Telekom have also told Reuters that the launch of the iPhone there will also be announced next week, with Deutsche Telecom subsidiary T-Mobile gaining an exclusive contrast to sell the iPhone. Orange France is expected to make its announcement ahead of Apple Expo 2007, which starts in Paris on Tuesday 25 September.

Both of these rumours add credence to reports of a UK iPhone announcement being made at Apple's "Mum's not the word" special event at the company's Regent Street store on Tuesday 18 September.

Leopard launch more likely?

However the Regent Street Apple Store is an unlikely place to hold such a high-profile event. The comparable iPod touch launch last week was held at BBC Television Centre, which has a much higher seating capacity for invited press. Media invites for the "Mum's not the word event" have also been limited and sporadic - they're certainly not as widespread as for the iPod launch.

This suggests that the "Mum's not the word" event could just as likely be about a UK release date for Leopard, the next version of Apple's Mac OS X operating system, or even some other software or hardware update that's likely only to be of interest to the specialist Mac press.

Indeed, the only press events we've been party to at Regent Street have been low-key product roll-outs, one for the first generation iPod shuffle, and another for a pre-Christmas event which showed off existing Apple products.