IPHONE WEEK: Uncovering the secret costs of the iPhone

So you want an iPhone and no amount of sceptical Apple-bashing can put you off? Good for you, we say. But beyond the initial £270, what’s t

So you want an iPhone and no amount of sceptical Apple-bashing can put you off? Good for you, we say. But beyond the initial £270, what’s the real cost of the Jesus phone?Pocket painThe iPhone costs more in the UK than in the States  – £269 compared to £191 ($399) in the US. That £80 premium comes courtesy of our beloved Exchequer.   The real pocket pain comes from O2: £35 a month for a compulsory 18-month contract. Suddenly you’re £899 lighter off. Not bad for a day’s work. If you’re already in a contract with another network or joined O2 after 18th September 2007, you’ll have to pay that off to change. You can’t blame O2 or Steve Jobs for that one. Leg it to legitYou have your iPhone and you’ve gone legit and signed up with O2.  You’ll be wanting to call a few mates to tell them about your new best friend. The O2 iPhone tariff offers you far fewer free minutes and texts than other O2 tariffs. You’ll pay £180 more than other users for the same deal. And when those run out, O2’s charges start at 12p per text and 20p a minutes for a UK call. On the bright side, you have unlimited net use on O2. And yes, we do mean unlimited. Since it removed its data cap, you can surf to your heart’s desire. Just don’t download the whole internet.

O2’s deal with The Cloud means you’ll have free access to 7,000 hotspots in the UK. But you’ll have to pay to use other Wi-Fi services, and those costs vary depending on how tight the coffee shop/café/bar owner is. Since it's on all O2 tariffs, a phone such as the Nokia N95, for free on a lower tariff, works out as a cheaper and faster alternative.Holiday in iPhoniaThe iPhone tariff qualifies for O2’s International Traveller Service, giving you a discount on calls while you’re outside the UK. Kerching! But it’s not all that cheap.Europe to UK – 58p per minUS/Canada to UK – 81p per minAustralia and Hong Kong to UK – 60p per minAfrica to UK – £1.20 (aprox)Think that’s not fair? The UK iPhone is one of the most expensive on the planet. Americans pay $399 (£191) for the handset and $60 (£30) a month on a two-year plan with AT&T. The Germans pay €400 (£280) with T-Mobile for a two-year contract at €49 (£35) a month. But it’s the French who’ll get the best deal. Orange has been forced to sell the iPhone unlocked over there. But the exact tariffs and phone deal costs are still sketchy.Crucially, people, if you’ve bought your iPhone abroad, you won’t qualify for free help in UK Apple stores.

Protect your investmentWhoops! In your sweaty palmed excitement, you’ve dropped your iPhone down the loo. You’ll need to call in your insurance.  According to the O2 sales desk, the excess on the iPhone is the same as any other phone – £25 on most of their plans. But you can avoid such mishaps by blowing more wonga on protective accessories. Software-wise, some Apple-approved apps like Roami, a remote iTunes controller, will charge you a fee, typically around a fiver. If you’re watching your wallet there are phones that can do more, faster and for less money. But it just wouldn’t be an iPhone, would it?