I had a painless extraction of £599 at 8 am this morning, London time, when the Apple Store came back on line. Despite the big rush, as always with a new product, Apple’s site held up well and the transaction was completed in a few minutes.
The 32GB black/slate model is going to be the most popular, in my opinion, and that is what I have gone for. Delivery is scheduled for September 21.
The UK prices for unlocked iPhone 5s are a little odd. The base 16GB costs £529, which from memory is £30 more than the iPhone 4S was at launch last year. The mid-level 32GB is slightly cheaper than I suggested yesterday, at £599, while the 64GB is a whopping £699. I just do not see the sense in spending a further £100 for an extra 32GB of memory. This top phone will appeal only to those who like to keep lots of music or video handy.
American readers should note that all the above prices include tax by law, so direct comparisons cannot be made. If we remove the tax from the UK prices the phones cost £441 ($693), £499 ($784) and £583 ($915). In the USA, the equivalent prices are $649 ($44 less), $749 ($35 less) and $849 ($66 less).
Apple traditionally puts the difference down to “the cost of doing business in the UK.” In fairness, however, there is difficulty in juggling ever-changing exchange rates. This time, though, the British price gaps are relatively minor. They don’t justify a shopping trip to New York unless you intend illegally to avoid paying the 20 percent tax on returning home.