The iPhone 4S is now available for pre-order in the UK today and we have had a look at the prices and tariffs from Apple and the various UK mobile operators to help you navigate the murky waters that can be choosing the right deal for you.
Buying Direct From Apple
We’ll begin with the price of the new phone if you buy it directly from Apple, which you may need to sit down for. The 64GB version will set you back a cool £700 in black or white, while the 32GB version will cost £600 and the 16GB version a comparatively budget-friendly £499.
All versions can be pre-ordered now and have an expected shipping time of between one and two weeks. The iPhone 4S will be available in shops from next Friday, 14 October if you can't wait and are willing to put up with just queues and Apple fanyboys, that may be a better option.
As well as announcing the pricing of the 4S, Apple has also announced a new 8GB version of the iPhone 4, which is now the only model avbaialble from the Apple website and which will cost £429. The iPhone 3GS is similarly available only in the 8GB configuration and will set you back £319.
Of course a lot of people won’t have £700 to hand in order to purchase the iPhone 4S outright, and so let's have a look at what the networks have to offer.
Vodafone is offering the 4S on 24-, 18- and 12-month contracts (the only company offering a variety of contract lengths) ranging from £26-a-month up to £67-a-month with customers paying between £519 and £29 up front for the 64GB version. If you go for the smaller versions you will be able to get a ‘free’ handset for as low as £46-a-month.
Those paying the highest monthly tariff of £67-a-month, available on an 18-month contract, will end up paying £29 up front (64GB version) which equates to £1,235 over the life of the contract. The same contract with the 16GB phone will cost almost as much, £1,206.
Those paying the lower £26-a-month, only available on a 24-month contract will pay £519 up front (64GB) which equates to £1,143. The same contract with the 16GB phone will cost £983.
Vodafone will be offering the 8GB version of the iPhone 4 for free on contracts as low as £36-a-month over two years. The iPhone 3GS (8GB) can now be had for free from price plans starting at £26-a-month.
Moving on to Orange, it will offer the 64GB version on contracts as low as £20-a-month and £519 up front but for that amount, you only get 50 minutes, 50 texts, 100MB of data and “unlimited wireless”. Overall this will cost you £1,000 over two years but probably a lot more with such low allowances.
At the high tariff end of the scale, Orange offers a £61-a-month contract with the 64GB handset costing £99 up front, which will end up costing you over £1550 over a 24-month period. Ouch!
Orange is offering the 16GB version of the 4S for free on a £46-a-month plan which will still cost you £1,100 over two years.
Looking at the iPhone 4, the new 8GB model will be available free on a £36-a-month contract the same as Vodafone, but the 8GB iPhone 3GS will be available for free on a contract as low as £20-a-month, but again this will only give you very limited calls, text and most importantly data.
T-Mobile seems to be offering some pretty interesting deals with a 64GB 4S on a 24-month contract costing £449 up front on a £25-a-month deal, which adds up to £1,050 but gives you 100 minutes, 100 text and 500MB of data – which is a lot better than Orange’s £20-a-month deal.
Like the other two providers, no matter how high a monthly tariff you pay, you’ll still have to shell out if you want the 64GB version - £99 up front on a £61-a-month contract, which adds up to a huge £1,550 over the lifetime of the contract.
Looking at the 32GB model, this is available free on the £61-a-month contract, while choosing the lowest monthly tariff (£25) will mean you stump up £380 up front, equating to £980 in total.
O2 is offering the cheapest monthly tariff of £15.50-a-month for the iPhone 4S though that doesn’t include any data which cost £6 for 500Mb or £10 for 1GB a month. Taking a 500MB bolt-on into account, a 64GB iPhone 4S, will cost £1,036 over a 24-month contract paying a huge £520 up front.
The same deal for the 16GB version will cost £816, jumping to £916 for the 32GB version. On the higher end of the scale, you can nab the 16GB and 32GB versions for free on a £57-a-month contract but the 64GB version will still cost you £30 – adding up to just below £1,400 over two years.
O2 is offering the iPhone 3GS free on a £21.50-per-month contract with 100 minutes, 500 texts and 500MB of data.
All of Three's tariffs for the iPhone 4S range between £30-a-month and £43-a-month with the up front price going from: £0 - £129 (16GB), £90 - £219 (32GB) and £309 - £180 (64GB). This means that for the 64GB version can be got for £1,029 on the £30-a-month contract or £1,210 on the £43-a-month deal.
The 16GB model can be got for £849 on a £30-a-month deal while the 32GB model will be cost you a total of £940 on the same tariff. One thing to consider of course with Three is that a number of the tariffs (£35 and £43-a-month) will give you an all-you-can-eat data allowance, which you won't get anywhere else, so if you're a heavy data user, Three could be the answer for you.
Three is offering the 8GB iPhone 3GS on a £20-a-month contract but with 100 minutes, 5,000 texts and 500MB of data.
Of course choosing which is the best tariff for you is a rather complex matter due to a huge variety of factors influencing your decision, including the amount of call, text and data you want; contract length; which size iPhone you want and how much you can spend.Ideally you would simply buy the handset of your choice outright from Apple and use a cheaper SIM-only deal from one of the networks, but not all of us have £700 just lying around.
So, for those of you looking for a contract, here are our suggestions for the best deals available for the various models:
iPhone 4S 64GB: Vodafone, 12-month, £36-a-month, £479 up front – Total cost: £911
iPhone 4S 32GB: T-Mobile, 24-month, £25-a-month, £380 up front – Total cost: £980
iPhone 4S 16GB:Vodafone, 12-month, £51-a-month, £139 up front – Total cost: £751
iPhone 4 8GB: Vodafone, 12-month, £51-a-month, £99 up front – Total cost: £711
iPhone 3GS 8GB: Three, 24-month, £20-a-month, free – Total cost £480
Let us know what you think of the iPhone 4S pricing as well as the reduced tariffs available for the older models in the comments section.
If you want more details on the new Apple handset, why not check out our iPhone 4S Round-up.