Saturday, 12 July 2008

Shoppers in clamour for 3G iPhone

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Shoppers in clamour for 3G iPhone

According to:

Excited customers queued in cities around the world for the global launch of Apple's free 3G iPhone yesterday, undeterred by concerns that there might not be enough handsets.

With a co-ordinated launch in 22 countries, some analysts were worried that the limited initial stock, estimated at 1.5m handsets, would be insufficient.

Some Japanese iPhone fans had queued since Tuesday with collapsable chairs and energy drinks.

Their reward was a place near the front of a queue of more than 1,500 people.

SoftBank started sales of the iPhone at 7am at its Omote Sando store in central Tokyo.

While the iPhone lacks some of the functions such as television reception and e-payment that are popular in Japan, the phone is likely to be popular among Mac fans and customers drawn to the touch screen and pc-like internet usage.

The first free 3G iPhone customer was in New Zealand, where Jonny Gladwell, 22, a student, waited for 60 hours in freezing temperatures. "I'm going to put this on charge and have a nice long sleep," he said.

In the UK about 100 people queued at the flagship Apple store on London's Regent Street. Many had queued overnight, but were kept waiting inside the store by delays in activating the phones.

At the front of the queue was David Suen, from Australia, who bought his place on online auction site Ebay for "less than £50" to avoid waiting. The second-placed person had queued since 2pm on Thursday.

Some customers said that they were looking forward to ditching their BlackBerrys. One technology consultant called his BlackBerry "damned ugly" and said that having a free iPhone 3g would be beneficial with clients.

In New York the queue began forming outside the flagship Apple store on Fifth Avenue before midnight. Most people were young adults who said they believed the new 3G iPhone was the best device on the market for accessing the mobile internet.

Some of those still queuing complained that the in-store activation process mandated by AT&T and Apple appeared to be slow.

In San Francisco, the scene outside the local Apple store was reminiscent of iPhone's original US launch last year, as an eclectic free Playstation 3 todayearly-morning crowd drank coffee and ate doughnuts from a local bakery in a queue that stretched for two blocks.

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