By July 9, 2008

iPhone 3G fever sweeping the world

image Japan’s Apple fans traded sleep and comfort for the thrill of being first to buy the latest iPhone as they began queueing on Wednesday, two days before it officially goes on sale there.
Some 30 people lined up in front of a Softbank Mobile store in downtown Tokyo where the iPhone will go on sale at 7:00 am Friday, five hours earlier than any other Softbank store in Japan.

image "I am a huge Apple fan and I’m excited to buy the iPhone, which I find is far better than any other cellphone," said 25-year-old graduate student Hiroyuki Sano who was first in line.

Wearing an Apple T-shirt, Sano arrived early Tuesday morning from the central city of Nagoya and sat for a day-and-a-half in his foldable chair, eating food from a nearby convenience store.

The 199-dollar iPhone 3G, which Apple is billing as twice as fast and half as expensive as the debut model, will roll out in cities from Tokyo to Sydney on Friday.

Softbank Mobile, Japan’s number three mobile cellphone operator, said it would initially limit its sale to one per customer.

The operator is presently the only one to offer iPhone in Japan, although its contract is not exclusive as other companies are working to clinch deals with Apple.

"The iPhone 3G is very useful for people like myself who carry at all times a personal computer, an iPod, a cellphone and a games console," said Tomohiko Sataki, who was second in line.

"The iPhone will have all these in one, and it’s much lighter than other cellphones. Although Japanese cellphones have advanced interfaces, they have become much heavier and bulkier," he added.

However, experts have said iPhone could face an uphill battle in Japan, where handsets allow users to watch television and pay for goods like they do with a credit card — neither of which the Apple phone can do.

Japan, including the capital Tokyo, also has less free wireless areas than major cities in the US and Europe.

Amid tough competition in the Japanese cellphone market, Softbank hopes iPhone will enable it to capture new users.

"We hope the iPhone will be a good opportunity to have users of other cellphone operators switch to Softbank," said Naoki Nakayama, a Softbank Mobile spokesman.

via yahoo

Posted in: Phones

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Seasoned tech blogger. Host of the Tech Addicts podcast.
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