How Apple has stuffed up the iPhone 5

As the Tame Apple Press gives Jobs’ Mob free advertising by reporting how the faithful fanboys have lined up at launch to buy the iPhone 5, it appears that all is not well in Apple land.

According to Bloomberg, Apple appears to have mishandled its carrier partners because the LTE technology it insisted upon only works on a few of them.

This means that disadvantaged carriers are cutting prices for handsets from rivals such as Samsung and pushing these instead.

The iPhone 5 connects to fourth-generation wireless networks in Europe that run on a 1,800 megahertz band.

This only helps Deutsche Telekom and the British EE venture with France Telecom SA. Vodafone and Telefonica’s O2 unit will only be able to offer the iPhone 5 on their slower 3G networks.

Robin Bienenstock, a London-based analyst for Sanford C Bernstein warned that Apple’s restrictions will push Vodafone and many other European operators harder into the arms of Samsung.

This is bad news for Apple as the spec of the Galaxy line is already better than the iPhone 5 and includes a 4G version that is compatible with carrier networks.

What this amounts to is Apple’s mistaken belief that it is the kingmaker when it comes to smartphones. After all – didn’t the mighty Vodafone lose its top spot in the UK to O2 after failing to win the exclusive rights to the first iPhone in 2007?

The ground has changed a lot since those days. At the time the iPhone’s spec really was appealing. Now the competition is a lot tighter and Apple is on the back foot.

Samsung’s Galaxy S III is already established in the market place. It has 20 million units already out there. Nokia Oyj unveiled a lineup of Lumia models this month. Windows Phones will be out there soon with much better cameras and mapping technology.

Apple will have problems competing in the UK where EE’s LTE network will not be widely available. It is rolling out in 16 British cities by Christmas. This means that most iPhone 5 users will be getting their bandwidth served up by 3G connections anyway.

To make matters worse they will have to educate users as to why its network and the one that Apple has bet the farm on is better than what others will offer.

Gartner said that the mass market doesn’t have a clue what LTE is and by the time they have worked it out Vodafone may be ready to offer its own service.

Basically, when you see Apple iPhone 5 queues in the UK you are looking at people who have not really thought about the product they want to buy and if it will even work. The “game changing” mapping software has already been proved to send people to the wrong places – including defunct tube stations and buildings submerged in water. 

Meanwhile, Samsung declared its intent to add the iPhone 5 to a patent suit against Apple.