Apple launches iPhone in Europe
EmptyFRANKFURT, Germany -- Customers in Germany and Britain lined up to buy the iPhone as it debuted there Friday, with Apple Inc. hoping to replicate the success that the combination cell phone, music player and Web browser has seen in the United States.
Apple hopes to sell 10 million iPhones in 2008, helped by its launch in Asia next year.
In Germany, the phone went on sale at more than 700 T-Mobile shops, including one in Cologne that opened just after midnight with some 350 customers already waiting outside.
By 5 p.m., Deutsche Telekom AG, which owns T-Mobile, said it sold more than 10,000 iPhones in Germany through its shops and online.
Johannes Krause, 32, waited for nearly four hours to get into a store, saying he had wanted to get his hands on an iPhone since June, when Apple unveiled the device in the United States.
"It's the first mobile Internet device that makes it easy to surf the Web," Krause said.
Others were drawn by the intense media coverage in the U.S.
"I just want to be the first to touch it, play with it and try it," said Reinhold Steinwasser, 54, likening the launch to the appearance of color televisions in Germany in the 1960s, when people would stand in front of department store windows marveling at them.
In central London, about 50 people lined up outside the Apple Store before iPhones went on sale at 6 p.m.
France Telecom will sell the iPhone in France through its Orange wireless arm, starting Nov. 29.
The iPhone's price tag drew complaints Friday. In Germany, it costs about $587, on top of a contract through T-Mobile starting at $72 a month and a $37 "installation" fee.
"It's absurdly expensive," said Christian Kiew, 20, who said the device was aimed more at professionals than young buyers.
Jonathan Arber, an analyst with London-based Ovum, said the costs could put off some would-be buyers.
"The relatively expensive contracts on offer with the iPhone will represent an attractive revenue stream over 24 months, but the high up-front and monthly cost and long lock-in could put off some users in a market where free handsets are the norm," he said.
Apple cut the price of the 8-gigabyte iPhone in the United States by $200 to $399 in September. And it apologized to those who had paid full price over the previous 10 weeks and offered them $100 in Apple Store credits.
Consumers in Britain will pay $566 for the 8-gigabyte model.
Both European price tags include value-added tax.
Many iPhones found a back door into Europe before Friday, but it is unclear how many. Programrs around the globe collaborated to "unlock" iPhones to work with SIM cards tied to other carrier networks. Apple officials estimated last month that buyers of 250,000 iPhones sold by then intended to unlock them.
Online auction Web site eBay said it would permit people to sell iPhones in Britain, but under certain conditions.
"We're certainly anticipating some heated bidding on these," said Richard Kanareck, an eBay spokesman in Britain.