Thousands buy first iPhones in US

Thousands of US gadget fans flocked to stores to be the first buyers of Apple's iPhone, a music-playing and web-browsing device expected to shake up the mobile industry, a Reuters report said.

The Reuters report said crowds lined up at some of Apple's outlets cheered as their doors opened at 6 p.m. local time, while smaller groups waited outside AT&T stores.

AT&T is the phone's exclusive wireless carrier for the first two years.

Early hitches included a hiccup in AT&T's retail computer system that delayed some East Coast sales for 45 minutes, and a sluggish response on Apple's online store shortly after it began offering iPhones, the Reuters report said.

The iPhone melds a phone, web browser and media player, and costs $500 to $600, depending on memory capacity, it added.
Technology gurus praised it as a 'breakthrough' device, but questioned whether users would be unhappy with shortcomings such as its lack of a hardware keyboard and pokey Internet link, the Reuters reports aid.

The light, svelte gadget is a gamble by Apple Inc. co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs to build upon his company's best-selling iPod music player and expand the market for its software and media services, the report said.

Apple aims to sell 10 million iPhones in 2008, which would amount to a 1% share of the global market. It has not given a sales goal for the launch, but some analysts said it could sell up to 400,000 units in the first few days, the report said.

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