Customers in Asia queuing for new iPhone

Fanatical Apple fans around Asia are queuing up two days ahead of its July 11 launch while inquiries and early orders are swamping related web sites.

A Reuters report also said customers, from New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, have queued up days before the launch of the device

The device is expected to go on sale in 70 countries by the end of the year.

Targeting a far bigger market with its new iPhone, Apple slashed the handset price and is allowing carriers to subsidise the phone this time around, making it easier for users to bring home the device, the report said.

Vodafone, New Zealand's biggest mobile-phone operator, is selling the phone for as little as NZ$199 ( €96) in the country if consumers sign up for a two-year contract.

Demand for pricing details was so heavy it crashed Vodafone's New Zealand web site, the Reuters report added.

In Hong Kong, Hutchison Telecom International was flooded by 60,000 online applications over the weekend from consumers who are hoping to grab one of just 500 phones on sale.

A number of the more desperate would-be users pleaded online they needed the iPhone to appease demanding wives or stressed it was their birthday, according to local media.

In Japan, one of the world's most advanced mobile markets, about 20 people were lining up outside of the Softbank flagship store in Tokyo with a sign at the top of the queue reading 'We Love iPhone,' the Reuters report said.

Softbank, Japan's third-biggest mobile carrier, will start selling iPhones at the flagship store on Friday.

Research firm Enterbrain has said 6.7% of 1,200 people it surveyed in Japan wanted to buy an iPhone immediately, and most of the people in the queue plan to buy the device as their second cellphone, the report further said.