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iPhone: not so easy or painless

Apple wireless point of sale systemWhen Apple’s 3G iPhone went on sale in the U.S. on Friday, the company had in place what it thought was an easy and painless process that would just work in getting customers up and running quickly. Apple said employees could complete the entire sign-up wirelessly, and in test runs figured it would take about 15 minutes per customer.

Turned out that wasn’t exactly the case. By 11 a.m. California time it was clear things weren’t going as planned. Reports on the Web abounded that existing iPhone users and buyers of new ones couldn’t activate the phone once they downloaded the new software.

Some workers in Apple’s flagship Manhattan store told customers the problem was with wireless partner AT&T. But AT&T blamed iTunes. Apple has so far gone radio silent, though by late afternoon it looked like things were improving.

Some fans didn’t seem to mind that the shiny new iPhone they just bought would work as little else than an elegant paperweight until it could be activated.

Danny Fukuba, 17, a recent graduate of Palo Alto High School, was first in line at his local Apple store. He bought the first iPhone last year, and has been camping out since Wednesday night for the second.

Where are all the iPhones?

teliaiphonepix.JPGWe’re wondering how many iPhones Apple and its telecom partners actually stocked in the 21 countries where it will be sold first. Are some fans who camped out for the launch waiting in vain?

We’ll soon find out. But this is what we can gather from the UK, expected to be one of the biggest selling markets. Actually it’s a bit worrisome, if, say, you live in London and really, really want an iPhone on Friday.

Apple’s only UK carrier partner, O2, says it will have a very limited supply of the phone – like a few dozen phones per store. O2 has already sold out online.

iPhone’s first chapter – a timely update

(Here’s an updated chronology. This first posted June 9)  

 

iPhones

2007

Jobs_iPhoneJanuary 9Apple Inc CEO Steve Jobs unveils iPhone in the tech industry’s most anticipated new product introduction of the decade.

June 29 – Apple and U.S. carrier partner AT&T Inc start selling iPhone as technology enthusiasts form long lines outside Apple stores.Scoble

July 25 - After big build-up, first weekend sales figures reports disappoint investors. Apple and AT&T sold 270,000 iPhones in first 30 hours; but customers only activate 146,000 of the devices due to initial AT&T service problems.

Follow the 3G iPhone around the world

The new iPhone is expected to attract hordes of buyers when it goes on sale on Friday in more than 20 countries, helping Apple Inc handily beat its target to sell 10 million of them by the end of 2008. The launch began in New Zealand at 1201 GMT on Thursday. Use the map below to follow Reuters reporters and photographers around the world as the new iPhone goes on sale.


View Larger Map

Neither wind, rain nor a classroom will keep iPhone fans away

iphone.jpgHere we go…

Two days before the iPhone’s launch, fans around Asia are queuing up to buy Apple’s latest offering. They don’t seem to care that it’s raining or freezing cold or if lining up early means missing work or school.

The July 11 launch will be the first chance, after all,  for Asian consumers to own an iPhone.

“I’ve told my professor I was going to go buy an iPhone, and he gave me permission,” said Hiroyuki Sano, a 24-year-old graduate student who early on Tuesday arrived in rainy Tokyo from Nagoya to be first in line. Sano, speaking to Reuters, and incidentally wearing a T-shirt with an Apple logo, described his professor as an equally big Apple fan. “He sent me off cheerfully.”

iPhone 3G: lower price, more profit

Apple CEO Steve Jobs speaks about the new iPhone at the Apple Worldwide Developers ConferenceDon’t think that Apple’s executives are great humanitarians or just a bunch of really nice guys for cutting the price of the new iPhone in half. They are in it for the money — and they stand to make more and more of it with this second generation iPhone.

Research firm iSuppli “virtually” cracked open the 3G iPhone “using insights from our analysis staff to develop estimates of iPhone content, suppliers and costs.” (It plans to really deconstruct the phone when it is released on July 11.)

ISuppli concluded that each iPhone costs $173 to make. It will sell at retail at $199. When you tack on an estimated $300 Apple gets in subsidies from wireless carriers, that puts the value of each iPhone to Apple at about $500.

iPhone rivals: We’ve got news too

While all eyes are on Steve Jobs’s presentation at Apple’s developers conference, rivals to the iPhone want you to know that they are not afraid to shout during a hurricane — in hopes that someone hears their thunder.

At least that’s what we suppose is the reason Samsung and Nokia both have news today, about one year after the original iPhone was introduced.

A woman walks past a sign set to promote Samsung Electronics’ mobile phones in Seoul While Apple’s CEO was unveiling a new “more affordable” iPhone with 3G network support and integrated GPS support, Korea’s Samsung launched a new touchscreen smartphone called Omnia that aims to make Internet browsing easy. It has a wide screen for viewing video as well as music capabilities and a 5 megapixel camera, and runs on Microsoft Windows Mobile software.

Here it comes …. the 3G iPhone

“The big news is $399 to $199,” CEO Steve Jobs said of sharp price-cuts Apple is making on its iPhone 3G.

Summary

Eight-gigabyte 3G iPhone to be priced at $199

 199

 16-gigabyte 3G iPhone at $299

16_gig

3G iPhone features:

    Jobs calls it iPhone 3G. Offers two to four times faster speeds that existing models working on so-called 2.5G “Edge” networks, he says. The phone offers GPS – Global Positioning Services for real-time location tracking on one’s iPhone. Same 3.5 inch display. Jobs says it is thinner at the edges and has “dramatically improved audio” Promises five hours of 3G talk time. Five to six hours of Web browsing. Video viewing can run seven hours. In the first year of sales, six million of first-generation iPhones have been sold, Jobs says. The new phone will be available in 70 countries over the next few months — in 29 European countries, 15 Latin American countries and 8 in the Asia Pacific, not including China. price: $199 for 8GB ; $299 for 16 GB Available July 11, in more than 20 countries, with 70 by the end of the year, Jobs says. “We are going to be in 70 countries, this year,” he said.

A side-by-side demonstration of faster Web download speeds of iPhone 3G devives versus existing iPhone.

Faster_downloads

Promised improvements in battery life for selected functions on iPhone 3G: 

 Battery_life

Here is a side shot of the slimmer iPhone 3G

Slimmer

A shot of the back of the new iPhone in black and white versions:

MobileMe

Apple head of worldwide sales and marketing Phil Schiller introduces MobileMe, a desktop-quality e-mail, calendar and contacts Web service. It’s a companion Web service for iPhone users. It’s priced at $99 a year and will be available in early July, he says.  

St. Steve, patron saint of gadgets, to take the stage

opening

Apple Inc Co-founder and Chief Executive Steve Jobs is set to take the stage at the Apple developer conference in San Francisco where he is widely expected to introduce a new generation of iPhone devices that bring the Internet to phone users at faster speeds.

Speculation is rampant that some models will be thinner and cheaper while other models, designed to work on so-called 3G networks and speed data delivery, will make using the Web on your phone more like using the Web on a broadband computer. CrunchGear claims to have obtained promotional marketing materials showing 16-gigabyte iPhone models in black and red and sporting a tiny video camera for live video calls.

In preparation for the news, Apple has taken its Apple store offline temporarily. “We are busy updating the store for you and will be back shortly,” a notice on the store site read Monday morning.

Apple’s new iPhone: It’s almost time

apple.jpgIt’s almost time, at least we’re pretty sure it’s almost time. Come Monday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is widely expected to introduce a new iPhone at the company’s developers’ conference.

Early buzz is that the new iPhone will be faster and accompanied by support for corporate e-mail, which should help expand the gadget’s audience to the business world. Apple has declined to comment on what Jobs will announce, but speculation can be found just about anywhere on the web.

Rather than spending hours today reading through all the rumors, check out TechCrunch, which gives a good roundup of the iPhone chatter.