Recent YouGov research shows that although there is a "significant" awareness for the iPhone's imminent launch in the UK, the high price is going to be a big hurdle for O2 and Apple to overcome.

YouGov, which is monitoring the phone from pre-launch to post-launch, gave participants a list of features of the iPhone and 25% of respondents expressed "a high likelihood" of buying the device.

However - and perhaps more crucially - this dropped to only 1% when they were informed that the handset costs £269 and the minimum monthly contract is £35.

Unsurprisingly, awareness of Apple and the iPhone was highest among young adults, early technology adopters, men and Sony Ericsson handset owners.

Marek Vaygelt, head of technology and telecoms consulting at YouGov, said: "The challenge for Apple, O2 and Carphone Warehouse is to convince customers to make a significantly higher outlay for the iPhone than they have been used to historically.

"The Apple iPhone has the potential to be a disruptive product in the mobile phone industry in the run-up to Christmas but it will require marketing that changes traditional purchasing behaviour to win over customers."

Industry watchers have long said that Apple does indeed face a hurdle in the UK by asking such a high price for the device, where consumers are used to getting contract phones for free, and this problem was not seen to be overcome with O2's not terribly competitive iPhone tariffs.