So I caved in and bought an iPhone today. So far I'm quite enjoying it. It's very responsive, the UI has been superbly designed for usability and feedback. My only problems with it are that it's locked in to a contract with no hope of unlocking it through O2 (only hacks will be available) and there is no way of making third-party apps for it (yet!). Apparently an SDK is coming in Jan/Feb.
I spent about 2 hours trying to purchase the device from The Carphone Warehouse - forget it. The salesman there was a downright liar and con artist. The guy's name was "Izzy" from the Harlow, Howard Way store. He suggested I get their insurance for 40 GBP quarterly because it covers "everything" and that O2's insurance at 7.50 GP per month wouldn't. I checked the O2 website and it had exactly the same coverage. There's lie #1. The guy even said he was calling his "friend at O2" to compare insurance coverage, I'm fairly sure O2 said they had the same coverage, at which point he hung up and told me they did not. Lie #2.
I asked him if there was an O2 shop nearby so that I could compare insurance myself (I knew there was), he said no. Lie #3. He also said all O2 shops would be sold out, again he had no way of knowing this for sure.
He then told me I needed to give him my bank details so that he could run a credit check when there is absolutely no need for him to do this as it is done entirely by O2 and Apple via iTunes. I was told by him that O2 cross-check what I enter when I activate the iPhone with what he enters whilst I am purchasing the phone - lie #4. I eventually gave in but then found out he was doing it so that he could charge me for the insurance. He then told me "Because it's an iPhone, the insurance is mandatory"- lie #5. He then told me I would not be able to get insurance from anywhere else after buyng it - lie #6. He told me that if I bought the iPhone from Apple directly that they would force me to buy the extended warranty - lie #7. After telling him I'd walk out if he didn't stop harassing me over the insurance he eventually gave in and tried putting the payment through for just the phone... their systems crashed. I waited for another 30 minutes whilst he promised that he was doing everything he could to bring the system back online, but after being in the store for 1.5 to 2 hours, enough was enough. I asked for my card back and told him to tear up all of the paperwork that I had signed. I then drove the 5 minutes to the O2 store that didn't exist and was in and out of the store within 10 minutes, new iPhone in hand, 5.83 GBP per month better off and no hassle of "cross-checking" my bank details - all I did was pay for the phone with a credit card, nothing more.