James: Onerous iPhone terms


And it appears Apple does not to trust Orange’s judgement, anymore than it trusted O2’s.

Certainly, Apple is not about to accept Orange’s first draft of quality third-party connectors (or federated dealers). It will make its own decision, in its own time, and Orange will be informed in due course.

Just as it reviewed O2’s own dealer list on its own criteria, and, indeed, reviewed all the UK operators themselves.

It is hard to take, perhaps, such an outsider entering the market – one that has existed and developed over two decades – for the first time and requesting the market meets its level.

This is what Apple has done consistently, by carefully vetting every partner it has signed since 2007 and demanding they stake significant investment in its brand.

But if that is the case, then it is even harder to watch the market clamber over itself to please an outsider like this.

Ultimately, it proves what a mess the mobile market has got itself in; how far away from understanding customers’ needs its longtime protagonists are.

For Apple makes really great mobile phones, whatever the argument is about certain lightweight hardware specifications.

And dealers? They have been left for dead. Five pounds per box? There’s probably comparable mark-up on a round of ‘flat whites’ at Orange’s Monmouth ‘community store’ – or cappuccinos, if Apple did not set down the coffee criteria.

But Apple is elitist, nonetheless; an aspirational brand. In a way that Google is not. Google’s democratic open-door approach with Android might just help dealers who can’t make the £1,000 per-store investment forget about the Apple iPhone.