No Otago rush on iPhone

Sales of the new iPhone appeared to get off to a slow start in Dunedin yesterday although figures could not be verified by the Otago Daily Times.

Seven or eight people were outside both Magnum Mac, in Crawford St, and First Mobile, the Meridian shopping centre, as the doors opened yesterday.

Vodafone external communications manager Libby Hay could not provide the number of phones sold in Otago.

She said it would take 24 hours to get the information and she did not know when she could supply it.

The high price of the Vodafone plans might have dissuaded people from signing up.

Although the phone has been receiving rave reviews from technology writers around the country, once the data plans became known potential customers were turned off.

Announcing a $199 iPhone one day, then following it up with a $250-a-month service plan the next day meant the cost of the phone was more than $6000 over two years.

It was possible to buy an iPhone without a service contract - for $979 for the 8GB model and $1129 for the 16GB version.

Hundreds of enthusiasts queued outside stores in other main cities as midnight on Thursday arrived, loudly counting down the seconds to the first local sale of the iPhone, NZPA reported.

About 300 were queued outside a store in Auckland where Jonny Gladwell, the first customer to buy the new phone, had waited since Tuesday to spend his cash on the device.

Because of time zones, he was likely was among the first paying consumers in the world to get their hands on a device that combines a mobile phone, iPod music player, email and Internet access in one unit.

In Wellington, 24 people were waiting at midnight to buy the new 3G phone, while in Christchurch, web developer Lucinda McCullough headed a queue of about 50 prospective iPhone buyers.

Ms McCullough and the others in line braved chilly mid-winter winds and the stares of curious passers-by as they waited for its release at midnight.

She had been planning to buy one of the phones since the new-generation model was announced by Apple chief executive Steve Jobs about a month ago.

Telecommunications analyst Paul Budde said high pricing of its iPhone plans by Vodafone, the only mobile provider selling it in New Zealand, showed "the desperate need" for greater mobile phone competition in the country.


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