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iPhone launch proves a success

Hundreds of Swiss queued at midnight to be among the first to purchase the new version of the iPhone, which Apple and its telecoms partners launched worldwide on Friday.

This content was published on July 11, 2008 - 11:38

Around 600 people lined up for hours at a Swisscom shop in Zurich which opened its doors at one minute past 12 o'clock on Friday to become the first to sell the iPhone 3G in Switzerland.

There were complaints from consumers on Friday morning that some of the Swisscom and Orange shops were already sold out.

A Swisscom spokesman said the launch was "very successful", and confirmed that some of the company's shops may not have had sufficient supplies to meet demand.

By mid-afternoon, both companies said their entire stocks were gone.

Analysts expect the new iPhone to draw as many as 10.5 million buyers worldwide this year, and with six million of the older devices already in use, help Apple beat its target of selling ten million devices by the end of 2008.

The latest version of the phone has faster web links than the first, supports third-party software like games and instant messaging and is heavily subsidised by many phone carriers, some of which are giving it away to lure new users.

Industry experts say the iPhone's email capability squarely targets Research in Motion's Blackberry, popular with business people.

Last year, the Swiss spent SF60 ($58) per month on mobile phone services, or up to SFr38 more than people elsewhere in Europe.

While per-minute rates had decreased both in Switzerland and in the European Union between October 2005 and October 2007, the Swiss continued to pay 33 per cent more.

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