Sun, Oct 09, 2011 - Page 11 News List

AT&T iPhone 4S orders impress

TEMPORARY TRUCE:Samsung and Google postponed a press event next week, saying that it was inappropriate to announce a new product so soon after Steve Jobs’ death

AFP, NEW YORK and SAN FRANCISCO

US telecom giant AT&T Inc on Friday said it has seen an unprecedented demand for Apple Inc’s updated iPhone, with more than 200,000 pre-orders of the latest Apple gadget in the first 12 hours alone.

The iPhone 4S, unveiled on Tuesday on the eve of the death of legendary Apple founder and leader Steve Jobs, goes on wide release on Friday in the US and six other countries, but customers seeking to reserve the new device could start pre-orders a week early.

Two other US carriers — Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel Corp — also released the iPhone for pre-order, but did not post sales figures on Friday.

The device has disappointed some analysts because of its similarity with the earlier iPhone 4, released last year, but the processor is said to be as powerful as the Apple iPad and comes with a sophisticated voice command system, called Siri.

In addition to its standalone appeal, as latest incarnation of the revolutionary device, sales of the iPhone 4S are also expected to benefit from the enormous outpouring of sympathy for Jobs, who died on Wednesday at age 56, after years battling pancreatic cancer.

In the US, iPhone 4S prices will start at US$199 for a 16 gigabyte model and top out at US$399 for a model with 64GB of memory.

Meanwhile, the launch of a hot new Google Inc smartphone was delayed on Friday as the world mourned the loss of Jobs.

Samsung Electronic Co and Google on Friday postponed a “Mobile Unpacked” press event planned for next week at an international wireless telecommunications industry conference in California.

“Under the current circumstances, both parties have agreed that this is not the appropriate time for the announcement of a new product,” Samsung said in a statement at its official blog.

“We will announce a new date and venue in due course,” the South Korean consumer electronics titan promised.

Samsung was expected to unveil a Galaxy Nexus smartphone powered by a yet-to-be released version of Google-backed Android software and designed to challenge market-leading iPhone.

Postponing the launch was seen as a temporary truce of sorts in honor of Jobs.

Separately, a private funeral was held on Friday for Jobs, according to an unconfirmed report in the Wall Street Journal. An intensely private man in life, his family was bidding farewell to Jobs in an intimate gathering at an undisclosed location, the Journal reported.

Apple security and local police have discretely ringed the house, clearing the way for dark vehicles bearing flowers or friends to get through the barricaded intersection and into a driveway of the corner property.

Apple is planning a celebration of “Steve’s extraordinary life” for employees, but has indicated no plans for a public memorial.

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