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iPhone 4S 64GB and iPad 3 64GB: £199 up front, £66/month

I’m delighted to see that Orange has brought back their rather smart deal for anyone wanting both an iPhone and iPad.

You can pick up the top of the range iPhone 4S 64Gb and the new iPad 64GB for a £199 up-front fee and then £66/month (for 24 months).

If you absolutely positively have to have the best of everything, this might be a useful deal. The £66 price plan gives you 600 minutes, unlimited texts (as if you’ll bother using them, eh? iMessage all the way) and 2GB of data per month — crucially, this is shared across both your iPhone and iPad.

You also qualify for unlimited BT Openzone WiFi. Although why you’d want to bother connecting via a 1.2k-per-second style experience such as BT Openzone is beyond me. Messing around with the login screen at your city centre railway station of choice does pass a bit of time I suppose.

Back to Orange.

You don’t need to go for the 64Gb devices though. You can Pick up an iPhone 4S 16GB and the new iPad 16GB for free. It’s still £66/month. £66 across 24 months is a whopping £1,584.

Still. If it’s all-in “job done” convenience you’re looking for — and if you were thinking about splurging the money on both devices anyway, you might as well get Orange to finance it for you.

If it’s just the iPhone you want, then the 16GB+3G (or “4G”) offer is £199 for existing customers and £25 per month for 24 months. You’ll get 1GB of “anytime data” and 1GB of “quite time data” included. (Plus the usual BT Openzone nonsense.)

Interesting stuff.

Any takers?

My real problem? What happens in March 2013 when the new-new iPad is launched? And when the iPhone 5 is released (possibly this year?)

The current answer is that you need to stare at the wall and try and ignore the cacophony of noise made by Orange and Apple about the new devices and wait out your contract for ANOTHER YEAR.

This simply won’t stand.

The sooner the operators actually recognise this and do something about it — i.e. offer to upgrade the devices (provided you give back the old ones in reasonably good condition) — the better.

We all know that, generally speaking, this is never going to happen. Not until it’s too late. Not until the plodding donkeys running these companies get fired. Or scared witless enough to actually think outside the box. Not until Apple or somebody else sorts it all out.

You simply can’t sell folk “fast moving technology goods” like this and then expect them to smile politely when you’re selling the next version 6 or 12 months later.

The consumer tolerance for 24-month contracts is going to wither and wither. Oh, they’ll still sign UP to them. That’s not the problem. The issue for the operator is trying to hold on to the increasingly irate legions of customers who’ve gone from loving to hating, because of their own susceptibility to the Apple (and operator) joy. Yes you’ll still get their money, the contract enforcement segment of the operator business is one of the real efficiencies of the industry. That’s not the issue at all. Watch the satisfaction rates plummet. And once you’ve had that 24 months from the customer, watch them move-like-a-flash to your competitor.

Still, as long as the customers are swapping between everybody, it’s all good, right? Half a million leave Orange in a huff and join Vodafone. And repeat, only in the opposite manner. It’s all good. Until a third party arrives and crucifies the marketplace.

That said, I’m pleased to see a bit of continued originality from Orange.

I’d like the news even better if it came with an option for a MacBook Air too.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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