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Update: Apple fans flock to buy iPhone 3G S

For the third year running, buyers turned out early to get the newest iPhone

By Peter Sayer and Agam Shah
June 19, 2009 04:45 AM ET

IDG News Service - The iPhone's magic is still there: The crowds turned out to see -- and buy -- Apple's iPhone 3G S early Friday morning as it launched around the world.

In Paris, several hundred people waited patiently in front of the Orange store on the Champs-Elysées, to the bemusement of passing tourists. They were hoping to be among the first in the world to buy the new phone when the store opened at one minute past midnight. Orange is one of three network operators selling the iPhone in France: the others, SFR and Bouygues Telecom, will offer the phone beginning June 24.

Among the customers waiting in Paris, one was so keen to start using his new iPhone that he had dragged along a friend with a laptop so that he could activate the phone without returning home, using the store's Wi-Fi hotspot.

In Boston, more than 120 people lined up outside of the Boylston Street Apple store by its 7 a.m. opening, but unlike past launches of hot Apple product launches, only a handful waited outside overnight. One of those was Patrick Morton, a recent college graduate who was the first in line had been using a BlackBerry smartphone on another network.

"As far as the new upgrade, I don't think it's that significant over 3G but over a BlackBerry its pretty significant -- the speed, the compass, the MMS will be good, the tethering once we get that," he said.

In fact, the iPhone 3G S supports both MMS and tethering as a modem, but in the U.S. AT&T's network does not. Tethering capabilities, which allow the iPhone to share a 3G wireless broadband connection with a Mac or PC via Bluetooth or USB (Universal Serial Bus), were also added to appease user demand. However, Apple warned that the tethering service will be unavailable in some countries. That frustrates some customers.

"Yeah, that's actually been disappointing," said Christina Ghobrial, who was also in line in Boston. "I did download the Quip application on the last iPhone that I had and it was helpful, but it wasn't the best because it wasn't as good as being able to send a picture in a text message."

The iPhone 3G S, unveiled earlier this month at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), is considered to be an incremental upgrade of the original iPhone 3G, which was announced at last year's WWDC. The new phone is "faster and more responsive" than the original iPhone, with more battery life and close to double the storage, Apple said.

The iPhone 3G S has a maximum of 32GB of storage, double that of the iPhone 3G. Users will get talk time of up to 12 hours on 2G networks and up to five hours on 3G networks, with a standby time of 300 hours. Users can browse the Internet for up to five hours on 3G networks on a single battery charge and for up to nine hours on Wi-Fi networks.

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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