Wednesday, July 28, 2010

iPhone 4 Will Go on Sale in 17 Additional Countries

Apple will take its popular iPhone 4 to 17 more countries, making Europe the largest iPhone market. The iPhone 4 will be essentially unlocked in the U.K., France and Canada, meaning it can run on any GSM carrier. Gartner's U.K.-based analyst said problems with Apple's innovative iPhone 4 antenna are not expected to hurt sales.
Apple's iPhone 4 will ramp up its world tour Friday, reaching new markets in North America, Asia, Europe and Australia. The popular but trouble-plagued handset has been available since late June in France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom for the same cost as the U.S. version, $199 for the 16-gigabyte model and $299 for the 32-gigabyte iPhone. Apple has not announced price points for the new markets.

"iPhone 4 will roll out to many more countries later this year and Apple will announce availability and local pricing for these additional countries at a later date," the company said.

Europe Is Largest Market

iPhone sales in Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom, have been strong as new carriers join the scene, said Carolina Milanesi, the U.K.-based vice president of mobile devices for Gartner Research.

"Europe -- all countries combined -- is now the largest market for Apple," said Milanesi. "Spain will move to more carriers at the end of this month, which leaves Germany as the only market with an exclusivity deal. In Asia, there are many carriers Apple is working with. The largest markets [by country] remain Australia and Japan, with Hong Kong, China and Korea following."

The new countries for the iPhone 4 are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Additional markets will be named in August with the eventual goal of selling the iPhone in 88 countries by September.

Bad publicity for Apple from the signal difficulty experienced by some users because of the iPhone's unusual antenna design is not expected to take a major toll on iPhone sales. In disclosing third-quarter earnings last week, Apple executives said 8.4 million iPhones were sold, although most of them were before the iPhone 4 was released on June 24. Apple says it sold 1.7 million iPhone 4s in its first three weeks.

Perception Abroad

The impact abroad will be minimal, said Milanesi. "The antenna issues, although covered in the press (in the U.K.), have not been as big as in the U.S.," she said. "There has been coverage in media and blogs about the actual signal not being impacted as much given better network coverage."

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