First off, earlier this week the SMH reported that the exclusive agreements with carriers that Apple has negotiated so successfully in the US, France, Germany and the UK could well be illegal in Australia.
The crux is the argument is that unless the carriers subsidise the handset, the agreement could breach the Trade Practices Act. Online outlets are arguing that it could be the end of Apple's current distribution strategy.
And it could be, but don't count on it. Apple aren't stupid – they would be well versed in the legal implications of their strategy before releasing the product here. That could be one of the main reasons we haven't seen it here yet – they're busy trying to negotiate a deal with a number of carriers that doesn't effect their income stream. In any case, don't think for a second that this is news to Apple.
Not that it matters, if reports from Engadget are correct. Apparently Apple's COO Tim Cook, speaking at a Goldman Sachs investor's conference, dropped the following nugget:
"Apple is not married to the single, exclusive-carrier model."
So does this mean we'll see iPhones on multiple carriers here in Australia? I'm guessing not, at least not straight away. Keep in mind that the only thing we know for certain (and it's not really that certain) is that Australia will get the iPhone this year. That could be December for all we know. Plenty of things could change before any announcements are made.
Hopefully though, we'll be hearing the rumblings of an announcement in the middle of the year, to coincide with the latest rumoured release of a 3G iPhone. Engadget has stated that UBS analysts are saying that Infineon will be making the chips for this new 3G model, which would make sense considering they make the current iPhone's internal chips.
Is it likely? Who knows. This is Apple. Analysts get it wrong much more frequently than they get it right, but we've got our fingers crossed for a
global Australian June release of a 3G iPhone with 32GB on board. We've waited this long – it's only fair that they spoil us, right?