After much anticipation, the iPhone 3G was released internationally this morning.
Apple's second-generation iPhone first became available at midnight — 10PM AEST — in Auckland, New Zealand, when the local Vodafone NZ store opened its doors to eager buyers. New Zealander Jonny Gladwell was the first customer anywhere in the world to purchase the iPhone 3G, gaining the nickname iPhone Jonny from tech bloggers.
Brett Howell became Australia's own iPhone 'hero' when he managed to be first in line at Optus' George Street store in Sydney. The store threw open its doors at midnight AEST with an inventory of 500 iPhones.
Telstra's opened at its Sydney T[life] store at 6am. Vodafone's 7am George Street opening was decidedly smaller than the Optus event, despite appearances by Wallabies player Lote Tuqiri and celebrity Lara Bingle.
More than 6 million people bought the first generation iPhone after it was released in June 2007. Since then, the number of countries selling the iPhone has expanded to 24, with a further 49 countries expected to begin selling the iPhone 3G in coming months. Apple has stated it expects sell more than 10 million iPhones this year.
Apple's new activation procedure means customers will have to activate their new iPhone in two steps: an in-store SIM activation and an iTunes registration at home. A spokesperson at Vodafone suggested the in-store process will take up to 20 minutes.
The Apple Store in George Street, Sydney, has separate lines to handle activations and registrations for each of the three Australian carriers offering the iPhone. As of 11am, there were roughly 200 people in line to activate with Optus; the Telstra and Vodafone lines had five people each. There have been some issues at the store, with the server for Optus customers crashing, causing the queue to lengthen. The whole store is dedicated to the iPhone for the morning; customers are unable to buy other Apple products. Seminars on iPhone personalisation are being offered.
James Hutchinson was driven to Vodafone's Sydney event this morning in a black, tinted-glass Holden Statesman courtesy of the mobile carrier. Additional reporting by Khoi Bui