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Smaller Lines, Less Fanfare Greet New Apple Phone's Launch

THE new iPhone 3G S went on sale in select markets yesterday morning, greeted by much smaller lines and less hoopla than previous models.

Outside the United States the phone went on sale yesterday in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Other countries will get it throughout the summer.

A few hundred people were in line just before the opening of Apple Inc's flagship store on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue yesterday morning, a fraction of the people who lined up around the block for last year's launch.

That launch turned into a debacle as Apple's servers failed to cope with the load of new customers trying to activate their phones. People who already had iPhones were trying to install a software update on the same day, adding to the pressure.

This year, Apple and AT&T Inc, the phone's US carrier, defused the drama by taking pre-orders for the new phone online.

That means fewer prospective buyers had a reason to stand in line, and it sped up the activation process.

Apple also released its software update for previous customers two days early. There were only scattered reports of problems with that upgrade.

AT&T said it had taken pre-orders for "hundreds of thousands" of the phones. Apple sold one million units of the older model, the 3G, in the first three days last year.


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