So finally, I own an iPhone! The Pay and Go version was released on September 16 and the price, though high, is competitive with other smart phones purchased without a contract.
I am most impressed with:
The Buying Experience: 02 has a store round the block from Exeter's Apple Store and the employees at each store know each other well. This really made a difference. Plus both specialists I spoke with own iPhones so they are very familiar with the product. Apple could not sell me a Pay and GO (I know not why) so I met with Ben at O2 and he was most helpful. I had purchased and activated the unit within minutes and then we chatted about a few things such as user tips on saving battery use as well as some neat Apps. I then bought a leather case by Incase at the Apple Store and chatted with Alex, also very helpful.
The Setting Up: This was surprisingly easy but time consuming, mainly because I first had to download a an updated OS for the iPhone (I had already downloaded a whole suite of PowerBook upgrades yesterday). Before I knew it my iCal, Address Book and safari Bookmark preferences and Mail accounts were synced so that I could receive and send e-mails once the new OS was installed. Selecting files on iTunes was easy but again the transfer time for around 12 GB of data was quite slow. I copied two movies, the first season of The Wire, selected albums and podcasts. I also uploaded all my Canon IXUS 70 images from iPhoto.
The Apps: I have downloaded only three Apps so far, all of them free. Remote is neat but does not control volume on the Apple TV (that requires the TV's remote which is infra-red). Remote works anywhere we have wi-fi, which is all of the house and a lot of the surrounding space.
O2 has really good coverage where we live and a signal inside our house is normal (Orange requires all sorts of machinations to stay connected).
I have not tried the phone away from home yet so there will be more on this subject when I have had time to test and experiment. First looks, though, suggest the iPhone 3G with 2.1 software is a fantastic product!