3G-enabled iPhone for January 2008?

A 3G version of the Apple iPhone could be available in Europe as early as January 2008

Following Steve Jobs' announcement of the Apple iPhone last month, more details are starting to emerge about Apple's mobile handset, due for US release in June. Rumours suggest that a follow-up iPhone model with 3G capabilities may appear in early 2008.

An unnamed Swedish mobile operator has announced it has received information from a provider saying the first generation iPhone would arrive in September, and a follow-up version a few months later, AppleInsider writes. This could mean that an Apple iPhone model with 3G wireless internet access would be available to consumers as soon as January 2008.

If the rumours are true , Apple would have a follow-up iPhone model ready just seven months after its US release, and only months after the UK release of the iPhone later this year.

Introducing 3G capabilities into the iPhone would considerably improve data transfer speeds, allowing smoother email and video messaging. This could mean that Apple would be able to offer iTunes music and film downloads straight to the iPhone at much quicker speeds compared to downloads over a Wi-Fi network.

Steve Jobs announced the iPhone would eventually include 3G in his Macworld Expo keynote , but no-one expected it to arrive so soon after the release of the first generation model. Apple has previously said 3G mobile networks "will be supported at an unknown date in the future".

Lower price?

Following survey results showing that only 1 per cent would buy the Apple iPhone at its current price, $499, Apple may be forced to lower its price tag.

Online market research firm Compete surveyed 379 people in the US, most of whom had heard of the Apple iPhone and already owned iPods. Of the respondents, one in four (26 per cent) said they were "likely" to buy an iPhone.

But among those 98 respondents, only 1 per cent said they would pay $499 for it. If the price of the Apple iPhone were to be dropped to half its supposed price point - between $200 and $299 - then 42 per cent said they would probably buy the phone.

The Apple iPhone will be available in two versions, one with 4GB of storage and one with 8GB. According to the company, these models will cost $499 and $599 respectively.

The first TV commercial for the Apple iPhone was aired during the US broadcast of the 79th annual Academy Awards last night. The 30-second ad featured some 30 famous actors and actresses answering the phone in famous TV, movie and cartoon sequences.