Huge queues wait to buy iPhones

CUSTOMERS in Germany and Britain lined up to buy the iPhone as it debuted there yesterday, with Apple hoping to replicate the success that the combination mobile phone, music player and web browser has seen in the US.

Apple hopes to sell 10 million iPhones in 2008, helped by its launch in Asia next year.

In Germany, the phone went on sale at more than 700 T-Mobile shops, including one in Cologne that opened just after midnight with 350 customers already waiting outside.

By 5pm, Deutsche Telekom AG, which owns T-Mobile, said it had sold more than 10,000 iPhones in Germany through its shops and online.

Johannes Krause, 32, waited for nearly four hours to get into a store.

“It’s the first mobile internet device that makes it easy to surf the web,” Mr Krause said.

In central London, about 50 people lined up outside the Apple Store before iPhones went on sale.

The iPhone’s price tag drew complaints yesterday, however.

In Germany, it costs about $587 (€400), on top of a contract through T-Mobile starting at $72 (€49) a month and a $37 (€25) “installation” fee.

Jonathan Arber, an analyst with London-based Ovum, said the costs could put off some would-be buyers.

“The relatively expensive contracts on offer with the iPhone will represent an attractive revenue stream over 24 months, but the high up-front and monthly cost and long lock-in could put off some users in a market where free handsets are the norm,” he said.

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