“Mobile giant O2 confirmed yesterday that the first of the iPhones, which combine a phone with a widescreen iPod music player and an internet browser, will go on sale in Ireland on March 14,” Jason O’Brien reports for The Independent.

“But Irish consumers will have to make a significant financial commitment if they want to own the latest must-have gadget. As well as paying out between €399 and €499 for the iPhone itself, depending on the storage capacity, they will also have to sign up to an 18-month contract with o2 costing at least €45 per month,” O’Brien reports. “It means the cheapest iPhone will set you back €1,209 over the next year and a half.”

MacDailyNews Take: So, how much are O2’s other data plans combined with devices that do the same things as iPhone… oh, wait, there are none of those.

O’Brien continues, “‘You can’t compare it with other products,’ Danuta Gray, O2 Ireland CEO said yesterday. ‘Comparing it with a standard handset is just not like-for-like. I have music on it, videos on it, DVDs, photo albums, camera. To me it’s just an amazing device and I think the type of price here compared with this type of functionality is where the value should be judged.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Yeah, what Danuta said.

O’Brien continues, “The device, which plays videos and music and sends email, as well as having an impressive touch-screen navigation system, will be sold in an 8GB and 16GB version here. The 16GB version will cost €499, compared with approximately €430 in Britain and €370 in the US, as of yesterday’s exchange rates. However, despite the price tag, O2 is confident that the queues seen in the US last June and in Britain last November will be replicated here. ‘I’d say your Apple freaks will be queuing out the door when we launch,’ Ms Gray said.”

Full article here.

“Freak” is a term of endearment on the Emerald Isle. wink