Apple is expected to confirm a new 3G iPhone today at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco.
Apple announced the first 3G version of the device, an upgrade from the 2G launch model, at the same event last year.
And O2 store staff told Mobile News there are similarities between stock availability and pricing in store this year and last year, ahead of the San Francisco event.
They cited the sudden unavailability of the higher-priced 16GB version of the Apple iPhone, just as the premium 16GB 2G version was pulled from shelves last year ahead of the 3G upgrade.
Rumours suggest Apple is to announce at least one new iPhone device, with better camera, better memory and in-built MMS functionality.
O2 has also hiked the prices of high-end ranges from rival manufacturers ahead of WWDC. Devices such as the BlackBerry Bold and Nokia N96 moved last week from being free on £35 and £40 per month contracts to £75 deals.
Market observers consider it a technique for O2 to improve margins ahead of the introduction of new iPhone versions.
Unconfirmed reports suggest the new flagship version will have a memory capacity of 16 GB as the standard version and a 32 GB handset.
Added features are expected to include an improved camera, video capability, MMS software and a digital compass.
Speculation surrounds the future distribution of Apple devices, with Orange tipped as a contender to carry certain Apple models in the UK. Orange is Apple’s biggest network partner globally.