It's Friday July 11th and Apple has rolled out its iPhone 3G in 21 countries including Japan, New Zealand, Hong Kong, etc.
Yes, Apple's iPhone 3G is finally, and officially -- out. And yes, as Techtree did report earlier, New Zealander Jonny Gladwell (22) has successfully become the first person in the world to own an iPhone 3G.
A visibly excited Gladwell told the Associated Press (AP), "I'm going to put this on charge, have a play around with it, and have a nice long sleep." Yes, he needs all the sleep he can get; he's been camped outside the Vodafone store for a record 60 hours, and in freezing temperatures -- before he could get his greasy hands on the object of his desire.
In fact, there were hundreds like him who queued up outside stores in New Zealand's main cities except that they weren't as lucky. Sales kicked off at the stroke of midnight (beginning of Friday, July 11th) in New Zealand.
In Tokyo, the newest iPhone was greeted by swirls of smoke and eager buyers who had all but lined up outside the Softbank (sells iPhone in Japan) store. Apparently, by the morning of Friday, the store had seen over 1,000 people lined up waiting to get their hands on the iPhone 3G. And within no time, Softbank even declared it had sold out stocks. In Japan, the 8GB model is going for $215 and the 16GB one for $320.
Tomohiko Katsu (38), a banker, actually confessed that he'd rarely ever lined up for any product in his entire life, this being the first time. An overjoyed Taichiro Nakamura (28), filmmaker, called up his girlfriend the moment he had his hands on the new iPhone.
In the US which saw the "exclusive" launch of the original iPhone last year, iPhone 3G models were made available in all time zones at 8am on Friday -- ahead of the big weekend. USA has the 8GB version going for $199 and the 16GB version for $299.
Meanwhile, a disciplined London saw an orderly queue form in front of its flagship O2 store. Steve Alder, O2 UK's iPhone Director remarked, "We ordered lots. We've seen the demand the first time, but we're even blown away by this demand. I think it is unprecedented." Yes there were others outside of the store who wondered what the fuss was all about but they remained a minority.
The big picture: Apple's shares went up nearly 4 percent over the whole of last week -- merely in anticipation of the Friday launch of the iPhone 3G in 21 countries. Now that the hotly awaited (and debated) device is finally out on the market, analysts expect it to draw up to 10.5 million buyers worldwide within this year itself.