Reports are coming in that Apple and Vodafone's talks about the iPhone contract for the UK have got to the details, and you have to assume, make or break, stage.

These rumours, from an "unnamed source" should not be considered reliable, but they certainly make for interesting reading.

Vodafone were always tipped as the Europe-wide partner of choice to be graced with the iPhone contract, but subsequent reports have put O2 as leaders in the race.

In a surprising twist in the saga, we recently reported on news that suggested that Vodafone might be forced to share iPhone distribution with O2 in the UK.

The O2 CEO Peter Erksine was quote as stating that they "hope" to be marketing the iPhone here in Blighty, but Apple will be courting all possible operator-partners, especially in the light of the positive launch for the device in the States.

But apparently now Apple and Vodafone have got down to brass tacks on the negotiating table and it's just minor details holding back the deal being signed, sealed and delivered.

Vodafone are said to not want to give up the kind of control that AT&T were seen to cave in to in the States, with marketing plans, and more, dictated by the Cupertino firm.

These Vodafone requests that appear to benefit the consumer, rather than than money-making mobile phone operator might seem unlikely, as the reports suggest Vodafone is fighting for the good of the people.

They are apparently pushing for the YouTube application to "work much more like the internet version", improvements to Outlook and Exchange support and browser improvements, particularly the ability to "cut and paste".

Other Vodafone requests, perhaps less surprising in the light of recent security scares, are said to be improved security and firewalls and changes to Apple's WEP and WPA security key requirements.

Sadly, in these most recent reports, there is no mention of Vodafone insisting on a 3G-enabled version of the iPhone, despite the CEO of the company, Arun Sarin, saying he "looks forward" to such a model.