During the WWDC keynote, Steve Jobs boasted that 22 countries would be getting the iPhone simultaneously on July 11th: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and the US. Unfortunately, it appears that one of those countries is not like the other, and won’t quite be making the cut for that first round of availability.
French iPhone customers will have to wait another six days, until July 17th, for the iPhone to drop in their country. This is a change from the original plan, which saw Orange releasing the iPhone in Austria, France, Portugal, and Switzerland on the 11th. It’s not known at this point whether Orange will be launching its iPhone service on July 11th or 17th in the other three countries, but as Orange was not the exclusive carrier in any of them, the iPhone should still be available for purchase in Austria, Portugal, and Switzerland on the 11th, from T-Mobile, Vodafone, and Swisscom respectively.
As for why the 17th, Orange did not give a reason in its press release for the change, but perhaps it has something to do with the Bastille Day holiday on July 14th? Or perhaps they displeased Steve Jobs in some way that only the French can, like cutting off his daily source of croissants. Horreur!