Long lines for iPhone 4S as servers crash at Japanese launch

Hundreds lined the streets, some overnight, to get the latest iPhone, while the Apple faithful continued to mourn Jobs

Hundreds lined the streets of Tokyo on Friday to be the first in the world to get their hands on the iPhone 4S, temporarily crashing the registration servers at one Japanese mobile operator.

Mobile operator Softbank held a sidewalk countdown in front of its flagship store to mark the start of sales at 8 a.m. local time, blasting silver streamers into the air as the doors opened for business. Several hundred customers, many of whom had been waiting since early Thursday evening, lined up and patiently waited their turn inside.

Softbank, Japan's third-largest carrier, was temporarily overwhelmed by the demand, and in some locations across Japan was unable to process new contracts or phone upgrades until the system was fully restored at 11 a.m., with some shoppers stuck in long lines as the day grew warmer.

CEO and Chairman Masayoshi Son repeatedly apologized for the trouble through his Twitter account.

As with previous iPhone launches, it was a celebratory event, but the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs cast a shadow.

"This phone is more of a work of art by Steve Jobs than a product," Son told the dozens of reporters assembled outside the flagship store for the opening ceremony earlier in the day. When he last met Jobs in June, he said, Jobs had looked worn despite his normal enthusiasm.Fresh flowers were laid out in front of the Apple Store in Tokyo's hip Shibuya district.

As the lines lengthened at that store, employees handed out water and black umbrellas with the company logo to customers."There was some trouble at the store I went to, but they said they would iron it out today, and I'm still excited to get my phone,"  said Yuichiro Takahashi, a Tokyo resident getting his first iPhone.Friday's launch marks the first time in three years that Softbank will not have a monopoly on Apple devices on its network, as rival operator au is also offering the new iPhone.

Au is Japan's second largest carrier, but has failed to keep pace with No. 3 Softbank in terms of adding new customers. But the company has a reputation for a much stronger network, and has adjusted its pricing to compete directly with its upstart rival."I was actually going to switch to Softbank to get this, but when I heard au would offer it I was really happy, their service is much better," said local restaurant owner Hirotaka Yabuchi, clutching his new 4S.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphonesAppleiPhoneconsumer electronicsSoftbank

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Ada Chan

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

I highly recommend the Dynabook Portégé® X30L-G notebook for everyday business use, it is a benchmark setting notebook of its generation in the lightweight category.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?