iPhone 4’s D-day beats expectations
60,000 preorders in just four hours, 110,000 in nine hours
|Visitors trying out the iPhone 4 yesterday at the KT Olleh Square in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, where customers preordered the smartphones. [YONHAP]|
On most days, the five people working for an internal consulting team at a securities company in the Yeouido area of Seoul have very different responsibilities. But yesterday morning, their missions were exactly the same: to preorder iPhone 4s.
“I tried at six in the morning before I left for work but the server was down,” said Chang Young-joo, 28. “So I tried again at the office at 7:30. The server was slow, and it took me 30 minutes.”
Chang was quickest in the office. “It took my teammates 40 minutes,” he added. And two of the five already use iPhone 3GSs, iPhone 4’s predecessor, which aren’t even a year old.
There can be no more doubts that the iPhone 4 is the hottest electronic item in Korea. Preorders for Apple’s latest smartphone began at 6 a.m. through online and offline stores, prompting Koreans to get online or flock to stores. The iPhone 4 was launched in June in countries like the United States, U.K. and Japan.
According to KT, Korea’s exclusive seller of the handset and the nation’s second-largest service provider, the number of orders broke the 60,000 mark in just 3 hours and 45 minutes. It took iPhone 3GS five days to surpass that level in Korea late last year.
During rush hour yesterday, it was a common sight to see people using their mobile devices to place orders during their commutes. The volume was so heavy at one point that the KT server crashed temporarily.
At a KT retail store in Jongno, downtown Seoul, some 32 people visited between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.
“About a dozen customers visited in the morning hours, but it wasn’t as crowded as we feared because many opted to order online,” said Song Mun-su, a manager at a KT retail store in Bundang, Gyeonggi.
By 3 p.m., orders broke the 110,000 mark. It took Samsung Electronics’ latest smartphone, Galaxy S, five days to hit that level when it was launched in June.
The news of iPhone 4 orders breaking the 100,000 mark was delivered by Pyo Hyun-myung, president of KT’s mobile business division, through a message he posted on Twitter. “We apologize for the server glitch. We will do our best in the release and delivery,” he tweeted.
The 3GS was delivered by mail only, but customers will have the option to pick up their iPhone 4 at a retail store if they can’t wait for the mail.
Korea’s smartphone blogs have been abuzz with posts describing the experience of ordering yesterday morning, as well as people’s plans and thoughts on ordering accessories for their new handsets.
By Kim Hyung-eun [email@example.com]