“The big appeal (of the iPhone) is that this is an Apple product,” said Hiroyuki Sano, a 24-year-old graduate student who arrived early on Tuesday from Nagoya, 360 km (225 miles) west of Tokyo, to be first in the line.
He will turn 25 on Thursday while waiting to get his hands on the high-end version of the iPhone with 16 gigabytes of memory. Apple also offers an entry-level version with an 8 gigabyte memory.
Softbank, Japan’s third-biggest mobile carrier, will start selling iPhones at the flagship store at 7 a.m. on Friday (2200 GMT Thursday) and expand sales nationwide at noon.
Research firm Enterbrain has said 6.7 percent 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.
Japan’s 108 million mobile users already frequently use Web browsing and email on 3G networks, and some analysts say the iPhone might not attract many buyers among mainstream cellphone users. “We can expect certain demand from core Apple fans and others, but there will be users who would hesitate about buying iPhone because of high monthly charges of some 8,000 yen,” said Hironobu Sawake, a JPMorgan senior analyst in Tokyo.
Even though there will be other features that are more attractive than ordinary phones, the fact that iPhone does not offer some features that are available on most handsets could turn off some users too, some users commented.