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An Apple fan bends over inside his tent in Denmark.  (Source: Engadget)

New York was a zoo, but an orderly one.  (Source: Engadget)

Chicago wasn't too crazy, but there was a solid contingent of fans outside.  (Source: Engadget)
Today marks Apple's biggest product release of the year

Many people across the country have caught a fever, and the only medicine is more iPhone.  Large lines formed outside Apple stores in major cities across the U.S., in anticipation of the 8 AM release of the long-awaited 3G version of Apple's iconic smart phone. 

The launch was truly an intriguing global phenomenon.

The lines were shorter than the original iPhone release at Apple's 5th Avenue store in New York, according to initial reports, but the crowd exuded a much stronger sense of desperation.  Apple employees were on hand to start wild rounds of cheering, whipping the crowd of Apple lovers into a frenzy.

In New Zealand, first to get the iPhone due to time zone mechanics, huge crowds formed.  The typically sedate Kiwis went wild, some of them camping out, forming crowds as the moment approached.  Japan was among the next to get the phone, with even larger crowds of up to 1,000 forming.  Reporters spotted many of the ever-studious Japanese youth reviewing textbooks while they waited.

Across Europe, in Sweden, the Netherlands and elsewhere, similar excitement was seen.  In Europe iPhones were delivered by armored car and handed off to the store manager.

The exception seemed to be Canada.  In the normally busy city of Calgary, the Canadians seemed somewhat apathetic towards the launch, perhaps due to recent dissatisfaction with Rogers, Canada's leading service provider who picked up the cell phone.  Or perhaps it was the hailing storm that pelted the city overnight.  Nonetheless, citizens reported small crowds camping out over the course of the night.  Quebec was similarly quiet.

One curious phenomena that arose was the iPhone EDGE model fire sale.  Patrons of the iPhone were offering their obsolete models for as little as $50 to would be buyers.  While some might be wary, it seems that it might be a fair deal for some, living outside AT&T's more limited 3G coverage, but within the EDGE network coverage.

Finally getting their sweaty palms on the new iPhone, Apple fans were perhaps a bit surprised to discover it looked amazing like...  their old iPhone.  Perhaps among the cuts that dropped the price from $399 to $199 was the removal of the chic aluminum casing.  In its place is a shiny black (or white, optional on the 16GB model) plastic, a magnet for fingerprints. The move to plastic may also have been made to deal with Apple's ever growing list of radio frequencies supported -- GSM, EDGE, HSDPA, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS.

In the end, the phone still looks pretty much like an iPhone, and people report the plastic to feel solid, and not at all flimsy.  The phone is now curved, fatter at the center and thinner at the edge, a popular design trick to give the illusion of thinness.  Unfortunately, this means that when tapping out an email on a table, the phone rocks back and forth.

In a move that angered some, Apple replaced the old dock, which is no longer compatible with the iPhone.  After Apple "sells" customers on the iPhone, they are in its clutches and it slams them with a $30 fee for their new phone.  Another minor gripe is that the phone does not automatically detect GSM or 3G networks, the user must configure it themselves.

The new phone sports noticeably better quality on 3G and GSM, according to early adopters.  Battery life weighs in close to expectations from Apple with 10 / 5 hours talk on GSM / 3G (respectively), 5 hours 3G data, 6 hours WiFi, 24 hours music and 7 hours video.  The camera is reported to be slightly sharper, but unimpressive, overall.

Music fans will be happy -- the iPhone now has a flush 3.5mm jack.  This will allow normal headphones to be used.  The speaker, which many complained was too quiet, has also been pumped up. 

IPhone tests have showed it to be a speedy performer, with data rates of 300 - 500Kbps in the U.S. and 700-800Kbps on faster foreign networks.  The GPS is also very fast, supplementing satellite acquisition with cell phone tower triangulation.  Also the GPS uses Skyhook's proprietary WiFi-based location system, the only known phone on the market to do so.  Microsoft Exchange, now supported, works well for email, but can only support personal/corporate coexisting accounts, not personal/enterprise.  PowerPoint presentations now can open automatically on the phone as well.

In other iPhone related news, the 2.0 Firmware for the iPhone/iPod Touch which enables the new Apps feature and such goodies as Nike+Apple was leaked for free.  It has now been officially released for $9.99, but it is still floating around for free.  There have been some reports of problems with the free version.  Expect a rapid crackdown from Apple as well.

All in all it was a busy day for Apple worldwide.  No real surprises, no riots, but still the iPhone launch was an impressive display by Apple of its market might.

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Only Apple
By BioRebel on 7/11/2008 11:11:25 AM , Rating: 5
Can re-release a product with a small change and people will call it a phenomenon. I swear, if MS did this for the Zune, people would flip out. I don't understand why people think Apple, who commits just as many injustices as Microsoft, is so great.

RE: Only Apple
By Brandon Hill on 7/11/2008 11:19:24 AM , Rating: 5
Two words: Steve Jobs

For some reason, people worship Steve and the Jesus phone :)

RE: Only Apple
By mondo1234 on 7/11/2008 11:51:26 AM , Rating: 3
If it makes cell phones better and more competitive, let them buy! I think it is great regardless of who makes them.

RE: Only Apple
By daftrok on 7/11/2008 3:49:03 PM , Rating: 2
But they didn't fix the main issues. Now some people would say once again you can't remove the battery. But so long as you allow the phone to discharge its battery to around 20% and unplug it once its fully charged you can keep using the same battery for years and years. But I have some issues with the iPhone that just will not stand for me:

1) No Picture messaging. Seriously what the hell.
2) No Video recording.
3) Forced AT&T activation.
4) Expensive plans.
5) No AIM/MSN support
6) No Google Docs or MS Word support (I could have sworn they would have made an app for Google Docs. For those of you who don't know, Google Docs is like a basic version of MS Word, Powerpoint and Excel, but surprisingly good for being online)
7) No landscape keyboard (it only does portrait)
8) Lamentable audio/video support

Fix these issues, then I'll get it. GPS and 3G isn't gonna do it for me.

RE: Only Apple
By daftrok on 7/11/2008 4:00:31 PM , Rating: 2
Just to clarify Number 6, support means reader AND writer.

RE: Only Apple
By Spivonious on 7/11/2008 4:50:30 PM , Rating: 1
Your battery comment is wrong. A battery only has so many charge cycles, regardless of how far it was discharged.

Lithium-ion batteries last the longest when discharged completely, so charging it at 20% would shorten its lifetime.

The iPhone battery has something like 250 charge cycles until half-life. If you recharged it daily, it would have less than a year before the battery lasted half as long as it did new.

RE: Only Apple
By sprockkets on 7/12/2008 1:14:48 AM , Rating: 2
Wrong. Lithium Ion benefits from frequent charging and not deep cycle charging. Look it up.

No matter what you do though, Lithium ion batteries will lose capacity just by time passing, whether you use it or not.

RE: Only Apple
By Spivonious on 7/14/2008 11:23:59 AM , Rating: 2
D'oh! I got them confused with NiCads. Sorry about that!

RE: Only Apple
By mondo1234 on 7/11/2008 9:23:48 PM , Rating: 2
I thought the 3G and GPS were the biggest gripes (not including the battery replacement)?

1 & 2 = Apple should fix, but can't you email pics in gmail from safari?
3 - Verizon had a shot and turned it down. Its not sold unlocked like the n95, but its cheaper.
4 no more so than verizon
5 you can pick up aim for the iphone
6 Quickoffice is coming out with a version for the iphone, its the same that is one the nokia
7 landscape kb works with Safari only
8 I transcode for ipod video all the time w/o problems. I dl mp3's from alot of paid sites w/o a problem. I am sure someone will come out with other codecs for the iphone just like OSx.

I am using Windows Mobile on my phone right now and it isn't heaven either. My next phone will either be an iphone or BB. Its just time for change. Maybe this is it, maybe not. I think this is great to stir up the industy, thats all....

RE: Only Apple
By cmdrdredd on 7/12/2008 12:06:26 PM , Rating: 2
I agree 100% with Daftrok. That coupled with the "I don't care about current subscribers" attitude that AT&T takes really makes me hate the whole iPhone craze. They'll jump through hoops and subsidize the price of the phone for new subscribers who want to sign a contract they can't get out of, but if you just want the phone and you want to transfer your current service to the iPhone and add the media package they charge you $200 over the advertised price as a way of saying "Thanks for being a customer for 8 years"

RE: Only Apple
By Oralen on 7/12/2008 5:08:04 PM , Rating: 2
You forgot one issue, although it only concerns the place I'm from:

In belgium, where it's forbidden for operators to subsidise the price of a phone to force a contract...

The Iphone is priced at 615 €, with taxes... That's 976$, folks.

And if you want to take advantage of what makes the Iphone stand out, namely internet access, you still need a data plan. About 75$ per Month.

It's not Apple's fault, of course, but still.

A little bit pricey for a phone...

Guess I'll have to pass.

RE: Only Apple
By othercents on 7/11/08, Rating: -1
RE: Only Apple
By michael2k on 7/11/2008 12:45:07 PM , Rating: 1
What are you talking about? Steve Jobs left Apple in 1985 and didn't return until 1997? What mistake could he possibly have made that doomed Apple? The last thing Jobs did at Apple was design the Macintosh, it's hard to call that a mistake.

It's also not "dumb luck" he came back. He brought with him OS X, the OS that now powers the iPhone, iPod touch, AppleTV, Mac, and XServe products. Surely the iPod was good fortune, but it isn't dumb luck that made it fast, small, portable, and usable. That's called hard work.

So his influences count; he cares about design, and that makes iPods and iPhones attractive to people. That isn't dumb luck.

RE: Only Apple
By chick0n on 7/12/08, Rating: 0
RE: Only Apple
By robinthakur on 7/14/2008 7:36:21 AM , Rating: 2
I hardly think you're a rational person. You can't even spell. I think that if you did buy Apple the brand would die overnight..

RE: Only Apple
By Regs on 7/11/08, Rating: 0
RE: Only Apple
By DeepBlue1975 on 7/11/2008 11:33:08 AM , Rating: 5
It's just because most of the apple fans out there are iRresponsible, iLliterate, brand iLlness and iDolatry driven buyers.
And more important, they are plain egocentric, too, as they are full of i-this, i-that, and everything "i".
The non capitalized "i" surely is an indicator of lack of self confidence, though.

RE: Only Apple
By gramboh on 7/11/2008 12:40:53 PM , Rating: 3
I'm in Canada and am planning on buying my first Apple product (iPhone 3G). I walked by the Rogers store in TD Center (downtown mall) at 9:15 (prior to 9:30 opening) and there was a line of about 75+ people! This is a tiny Rogers store in the MALL. I did a 180 and went back to work.

Even if they had enough stock (I'd be surprised if they had more than 20) I wasn't about to wait hours for my turn to come to sign-up (and probably pay an extra $50 on the $299 price of the 16GB model AND $35 activiation, since the voice plan I want is only $25 and not $30+).

I just can't fathom how you would camp outside on a street for a revision to a PHONE. It actually upsets me to see that picture. How pathetic is your life that you dedicate time to an act like that. I'm not even willing to waste an hour in line waiting for people in front of me to sign-up. I'll just wait a week or two.

RE: Only Apple
By barjebus on 7/11/2008 1:26:45 PM , Rating: 2
You're also in Toronto, a place known for chasing fads as badly as New York seems to.

The rest of Canada is most likely going to wait this out and either not adopt it because Rogers and our telecom industry here are a bunch of tools, or Rogers will offer further incentive, especially since the 6GB data plan for 30$ a month is only until August, and then it reverts to the old plan which got everyone so pissed off in the first place, and that's 30$ a month for a 400mb data plan hahaha. Like honestly, I can download a hundred songs off iTunes each month? So that works out to 3 per I'd be paying close to a hundred dollars a month for a super special phone that cost me 199$ to buy (or 299$ if I am feeling super rich) and the only additional benefit to me is downloading 3 mp3's each day?

Wow, technology sure has come along way...

RE: Only Apple
By gramboh on 7/11/2008 3:25:11 PM , Rating: 2
I'm actually in Calgary, and I hate Toronto as much as anyone who doesn't live there (I lived there for 2 years, I know how much that place sucks).

Turns out I should've gone to another Rogers store downtown in the Petro-Canada building. My friend walked by on his way to work at 8:30 and said only 10 people were in line. I went into the store after lunch and they said they had 20 in stock and sold out pretty fast, but everyone in line got one. I put my name down for them to call me when they get more stock, supposedly on Tues or Weds next week.

Re: pricing. Yes it's expensive, but I currently pay ~$65/mo on Telus all in for 200 daytime, 6pm evenings/weekends, Caller ID/voicemail, 500 texts, 200 daytime LD and unlimited 6pm LD.

With Rogers I'll pay $88 all in (with GST) for MY5 (5 numbers unlimited in Canada, covers my LD needs and I really only call 3 numbers often), 250 daytime, 6pm evenings/weekends, 6GB data, $15 visual voicemail/2500 SMS/caller ID pack.

So $23 more a month for basically the same voice as I have now but with effectively unlimited data.

I don't care about iTunes (I'm pretty upset I'll have to install that piece of crap on my Vista box). I will only be using the phone for the browser, GPS and email (ActiveSync).

RE: Only Apple
By DeepBlue1975 on 7/11/2008 4:05:47 PM , Rating: 2
I hear you loud and clear!

That's something I can't get either. It makes me remember of little children: mom buys exactly the same toy to both of their kids, but each of them likes the brother's toy better even though they're exactly the same.

What has this analogy to do with anything at all?
Simple: I think that these fellas camping for long hours and even sometimes more than 24 in a row, believe that the first day's iPhone is a different product than the one they'll get a couple of days or a couple of months later.

The sad and most pathetic part is that they're usually true: if they waited some prudent time before buying, they'd probably get

a) a newer firmware revision with less bugs and better performance.
b) a better price.
or even...

c) both (a) and (b)!

Seriously, I Don't understand these guys. They're completely iNcomprehensible to me.

RE: Only Apple
By mondo1234 on 7/11/2008 11:43:07 AM , Rating: 1
O2 in the UK reached 13,000 orders per second when their online ordering system failed.

RE: Only Apple
By phatboye on 7/11/2008 11:52:45 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed with the OP. People get excited over the stupidest things.

RE: Only Apple
By spluurfg on 7/11/2008 12:03:46 PM , Rating: 2
Luxury goods designers do this two to four times a year for their products. Motorola did it for a while with the RAZR. I'd argue that the 3g version is a bigger improvement. I suppose the next step is to add a credible camera, so good to see they left themselves plenty of room for the next model.

RE: Only Apple
By michael2k on 7/11/2008 12:39:18 PM , Rating: 1
Uh, why do you call it a small change? The OS and apps have been totally revamped. It is akin to the change between XP and Vista, if you're curious.

So, yes, if MS did this for Zune, it would be huge. Imagine if MS redid the whole Zune infrastructure.

And as for why people think Apple is so great, it's because they like the product. Most people can't say the same about Microsoft. Just because you don't like Apple, however, doesn't mean other people won't.

RE: Only Apple
By gramboh on 7/11/2008 12:42:11 PM , Rating: 2
Totally revamped, as in fundmentally new OS kernel (XP to Vista)? From what I've read, the OS changes from first gen to 3G would be more like a service pack in the Windows realm.

RE: Only Apple
By michael2k on 7/11/08, Rating: -1
RE: Only Apple
By walk2k on 7/11/2008 12:43:01 PM , Rating: 5
It takes a special brand of moron to stand in line all day to buy a phone.

At least, why not wait until next week or something, when there's no lines and the activation process actually works. I mean you'd have to be stupid not to expect this on the first day.

RE: Only Apple
By michael2k on 7/11/2008 1:48:54 PM , Rating: 3
RE: Only Apple
By sprockkets on 7/12/2008 1:20:08 AM , Rating: 2
Well, at least he gets website traffic and then revenue for it, and will get more if he posts something about it today.

For everyone else...

Hahaha, selling your stupid old iphone for $50 not even after a year. Losers.

Damn it, why can't I make millions off of selling something no one needs but can't live without? I guess I don't have the lack of brains to think like Apple people do.

Don't get me wrong, Apple stuff does do things right with the control wheel on the ipod, and other stuff. But if you think I would sacrifice the mundane standard features for that?

RE: Only Apple
By TheGee on 7/11/2008 5:55:04 PM , Rating: 2
Dumb barstards!!
You can just see 'em skipping out the shop holding it up so everyone can see what a fashionista they are with the new 3G iphone..... much like the old iphone!!

(I feel some lyrics coming on here)!!

RE: Only Apple
By michael2k on 7/11/2008 6:03:06 PM , Rating: 2
You know, some people really are happy to own the iPhone. Most people LIKE buying new things. I mean, don't you enjoy Christmas or your birthday?

RE: Only Apple
By audiomaniaca on 7/11/2008 11:35:01 PM , Rating: 2
Everybody enjoys buying news things.

I don't like acting like an iDiot, standing in a line for hours, helping a company that overcharges its customers to promote its pathetic marketing, just to be the "first one" to have the "first mobile phone with 3G, mp3 player and touch screen in history".

Santa Claus never forced me to stay awake during the whole night, standing, just to get my gifts.

RE: Only Apple
By cmdrdredd on 7/12/2008 12:02:58 PM , Rating: 2
Yes and it's such a gimmick as well. They advertise $199 price, but that's only for NEW subscribers to AT&T. You can't be a current customer and just want to have the phone. Oh no, you pay $399 for the cheapest one. That's a ridiculous thing to do for your customers AT&T. The price point and hype machine of the ad campaign is all just a come on add to get people to sign up for service at $100+ a month for 2 years. They really don't care if you already have service, they got you and you're stuck.

RE: Only Apple
By robinthakur on 7/14/2008 7:31:49 AM , Rating: 2
No If MS did that with the Zune people would just laugh at them wanting to flush more of their money. I think its being a little uber-dramatic to call this an "injustice". Apple have just given the market what it has been whining for since the iPhone debut: The iPhone with faster wireless. Especially in Europe where mobile networks are generally more advanced than the US, expect them to sell alot more devices now. The most major change for me has been the spectacular price cut. This also means that demand will be especially high for it until the next version is released by Jebus :)

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

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