Phone stores ready for iPhone fever as launch countdown ends

Phone stores ready for i

With the iPhone officially on sale in Israel at 12:01 Wednesday morning, cellphone stores at the Jerusalem Central Bus Station were busy Tuesday, getting ready for the expected crowds. Marc Frankel, a salesman at the Cellcom kiosk on the bottom floor of the bus station, told The Jerusalem Post that there has been substantial advance interest in buying the iPhone. His kiosk has a white sign in front of it with the word "iPhone" in a large black font. "Absolutely, we already have a list full of names of people who are ordering the iPhone once we have it," Frankel said. "There has always been an interest in the iPhone, and we expect there to be a lot more names to add to that list." Frankel said that he was excited that the iPhone is finally being sold here, since so many people already have iPhones that were bought abroad. "Most of the iPhones in Israel are bought in the United States," Frankel said. "Though a lot are knockoffs that come from China. But there is a lot of excitement for them to be sold in Israel." Apple, which is represented in Israel by iDigital Ltd., will launch the 3GS iPhone simultaneously through Partner Communications (Orange), Cellcom Israel and Pelephone Communications. Each of the carriers is being required to buy 80,000 iPhones to resell. The iPhones will go on sale at the Cellcom kiosk, as well as the Ramat Gan and Ramat Aviv Pelephone stores at a minute past midnight on Wednesday, and will go on sale at Orange stores and kiosks Thursday morning. iDigital, which opened the first Apple store in the Ramat Aviv Mall last year, will sell the iPhones at Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv on Thursday and launch a concept store at Haifa's Grand Canyon Mall at the end of the month. Pelephone announced Sunday that it had signed a cooperation agreement with iDigital to sell iPhones at these three stores. A salesman at the BUG Digital Lifestyle store said that the iPhone should be a hot commodity. He has not seen a particular rise in interest in his store, he said, because the iPhone had been a popular topic even prior to Apple's announcement. "People come in and ask about the iPhone all the time," he said. "There really is no connection between the fact that it is coming out and whether people want more information on it. We'll see what happens in two days."