The Mail on Sunday has reported that Apple is "gagging" its UK iPhone partners and forbidding them to reveal sales figures for the device.

Stating that in a Christmas season that saw strong sales of mobile phones, but at lower price points, the newspaper suggests that sales of Apple's £269 mobile "disappointed".

According to industry insiders, Apple has told O2, the exclusive operator that offers the iPhone, and retail partner Carphone Warehouse not to tell investors the true sales statistics.

Although Steve Jobs is expected to reveal how many iPhones have been sold outside of the States in his Macworld 2008 keynote speech, it seems he will only provide an overall figure, rather than a country breakdown, something the Mail is interpreting that could be a "sign of market problems".

A senior industry source told the paper: "The iPhone has not been a huge product for either O2 or Carphone. Particularly in the current market, no one wants to buy an expensive phone with a very expensive 18-month contract".

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