The new iPhone model makes its debut in the Asia-Pacific region today. In order to get one of the world’s first to grab the new-generation iPhone, fanatical Apple fans around Asia had queued up days before its launch, despite rain or freezing temperatures. By Friday, the line that had been had reached about 1,000 people. Signs went up that said the store had stopped accepting applications.
“This is the year that the cell phone becomes an Internet-connecting machine,” Softbank President Masayoshi Son told the crowd at the countdown ceremony. “Today is that day that will make it real, and it’s a historic day.” The iPhone is designed to browse the Web in much the same way computers do. The networks promoted by Japanese carriers, such as “i-mode” from NTT DoCoMo, are more closed than the Web. Such systems have allowed carriers to control services and charge fees.
A report from Japan said the iPhone’s had potential to change lifestyles and bring new business opportunities. Some people tend to spend an hour or more on daily commutes, and the iPhone could make Netsurfing more than reading or listening to music, it said. It is also said that the iPhone’s arrival could also change the relationship between manufacturers and carriers because of Apple’s clout. Up to now, carriers have had considerable leverage over manufacturers.
The celebration at Japanese carrier Softbank Corp.’s store, which included a digital clock display ticking away over the entrance, was part of a global rollout in 22 nations of the 3G, or third-generation, wireless connecting Apple Inc.’s much-hyped cell phone, an upgrade of the model that went on sale last year in the United States and several other nations.
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