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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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RE: Canada
By omnicronx on 7/11/2008 8:26:49 PM , Rating: 2
My contract ends with Bell next month, I pay 40$ a month for 8megs of transfer alone. Until early this year, it was not uncommon to be paying 120$ for 120MB transfer for Windows Mobile phones, at one point last year when I tried resigning my contract to a higher rate they told me 120MB was the max, and anything over I would have to pay fees. One of my friends got 1000$ in charges because he let a friend use his phone for just 2 days! All of a sudden 56$ for 200mb and 0.24c/mb does not sound so bad =P


RE: Canada
By xsilver on 7/11/2008 10:10:54 PM , Rating: 2
ouch - yeah our 3rd provider, vodafone has the same thing. Max 100mb, charges thereafter.

My conspiracy thingy about this is that if you're "stupid" enough to buy an iphone, you're "stupid" enough NOT to know the extortionist prices on data.
Another funny thing about the australian launch was that it has already been discovered that the first person in line that lined up for 11 hours was an employee of the phone company. lol. I guess the phone company didnt want the tv stations interviewing the first guy saying anything bad about the iphone. sad.


RE: Canada
By Aries1470 on 7/15/2008 4:38:43 AM , Rating: 2
@ xsilver
I don't know where you get your facts, but don't post things that are untrue!!! The only one I am not sure of, is for Telstra, since they over charge and underdeliver!!!

People, ignore most part of what he has said!!
Here are the plans made exclusively for the iPhone!!!
For Vodafone, go their site here:
http://store.vodafone.com.au/iphone/
The original Vodafone plans were the iPhone specific ones. Those were available if you had signed up to be notified. The email went out a day before, the other two (maxi & super cap) came out later, after launch.
For Optus:
for their Cap plans:
http://personal.optus.com.au/web/ocaportal.portal?...
For their normal ones:
http://personal.optus.com.au/web/ocaportal.portal?...

what xsilver is refering to is the optional add-on plans for normal mobiles, and what I have noticed or cared to look at, that is the vodafone price.

Now the good news is, is in the optus disclaimer, you CAN UNLOCK the phone, as long as you have bought it from them!

[start of rant]So xsilver, GET YOUR F*KNIG FACTS RIGHT BEFORE POSTING!. [/end of rant]

As for the Vodafone plans, the 1st 4 were the original. I was invited to pre-order/ buy, but I am waiting for a better offer. Hehe. I will wait out a couple of more months and see if I can upgrade later.

I am on optus, with a great OLD cap plan that includes the international calls, their new ones don't. The other GOOD THING FOR BEING A LOYAL CUSTOMER, is that I can upgrade earlier my phone, so I am looking for around September instead of March next year ;-) Now to convince my account manager to do me a deal around that time. I am allowed to get any other phone, except the iPhone on my old cap plan. Hmm SE Xpedia X1 might be out by then. The resolution, camera and many other more better features than the iPhone. Decisions decisions. I might even get it at a better rate too by the time i decide to upgrade from my old N93i...

p.s. We also have 5Gb plans and others with mobile internet for use with usb dongles for laptops or pc's. Very good prices too.


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