Apple’s iPhone 3G arrived in stores today and was met by lines of enthusiastic buyers –dauntingly long lines. At Softbank Mobile’s flagship store in Omotesando, Tokyo, where iPhone monomaniacs first began camping out three days ago, the queue stretched for a half mile. “Mobile phones become Internet machines this year,” Softbank President Masayoshi Son said with almost Jobsian hyperbole before opening the store’s doors. “Today is a historic day.”
In New Zealand, where the deck chairs and sleeping bags began appearing Tuesday night outside the Auckland shop of Vodafone, the line included a customer who traveled to New Zealand from San Luis Obispo, Calif., simply to purchase the phone before it went on sale in any other country. Also in line: some folks with more nefarious purposes.
Back in the states, the sustainable-agriculture activists who dominated the queue outside Apple’s (AAPL) Fifth Avenue store earlier this week were quickly overwhelmed by less altruistic iPhone activators. No reason to break out the iPod white riot gear yet, though.
And, then there were the profiteers. For those not willing to spend the night squatting on the sidewalk outside an Apple store, the rate for a decent spot in line at many of Apple’s US retail stores was $50 or more. “I will have the rest of the family stay in line. I will have FOUR (4) extra spots so you don’t have to camp out,” read one ad on craigslist. “You give me $75 cash and you will have a spot in line.”
And, if you still happen to be waiting in line, describing exactly MacRumors has graciously posted an Apple Retail document what you have to look forward to.