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Japanese fans queue up for Apple's new iPhone

by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) June 23, 2010
Braving summer rains and tweeting about their excitement, dozens of Apple fans queued outside a Tokyo cellphone store Wednesday, the eve of the global launch of the latest iPhone.

"I'm a huge fan of Apple. If a new product comes out, I want it," said Manabu Ishiyama, 28, who has camped since Monday outside the flagship Tokyo store of Softbank, the iPhone's exclusive carrier in Japan.

Ishiyama, who said he was one of the first people in Japan to get an iPad when it was launched last month, said diehard aficionados such as himself queued up simply "because it is fun."

"You may think we have too much time to kill, but we're reporting live on Ustream or Twitter what the line is like. Those who are interested respond," he said, sitting on a mat on the sidewalk under a roof of umbrellas.

"Many other people around the world are lining up... We are all connected, right in my hand," he said, adding that he was checking messages on an iPhone.

Another Apple disciple sitting nearby, 20-year-old student Yasuhito Matsuura, said: "If we are buying it anyway, then the sooner the better."

"You can enjoy a sense of superiority if you get the latest version early."

Because of its eastern time zone, Japan will be the first country to sell the iPhone 4, which features video chat, can shoot and edit high-definition video, and has a crisper screen resolution that the previous model.

Kazuhisa Sobukawa, 40, said he wanted to get an iPhone 4 since he saw its presentation by Apple chief executive Steve Jobs earlier this month.

"I came to like Apple after I got an iPhone 3G and 3GS and I've already switched from PC to a Mac. I'm turning out just as Steve Job wishes," he said.

Softbank Mobile, which has the exclusive rights to the phone in Japan, suspended pre-orders this month after a deluge of reservations.

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