So, O2 look like they're going to be the iPhone operator here in the UK. I've tried to avoid writing or thinking about the accursed thing over the last few months, but a couple of chance encounters in San Francisco (a hotel coincidentally around the corner from the Apple Store and a friend of Joh's who works for Mr Jobs) led me to give it a going over... and start feeling the oh-so-familiar Apple Lust.

I find the device pretty pleasant; lack of MMS is a shame, but the screen is lovely, the touchiness (?) works well (better than the Prada phone, which is ostensibly similar), and the hardware drips Apple slickness. The really nice things about it are at the business end though: tariffs that actually let you use Google Maps without bankrupting yourself (unless you're abroad), and that 10% of revenues generated which Apple has apparently negotiated with operators.

This percentage is something really new - I can't recall any other handset vendor having successfully negotiated for in the past, and chatting to a few industry types I get a sense of unease from folks who've had experience working at operators: it's the slippery slope, and other vendors will want this too, now Apple have it. Who knows, maybe it's the beginning of the end for handset subsidies too?

But I wonder whether this might be a good thing in the long-term. Handset vendors are trying to circumnavigate operators and build direct relationships with end-users, what better way to prevent this than offering to cut them in? And what better way to improve worthwhile features and user experience than giving handset vendors a financial incentive to drive usage?