Apple's new iPhone 4 will now be available in New Zealand today, after Vodafone previously said it wouldn't.
Vodafone, JB Hi-Fi and Magnum Mac all told nzherald.co.nz that the device wouldn't go on sale today, the promised launch date.
But this has now changed, with the mobile provider announcing that it will be sold from midday at selected Vodafone-branded stores.
Queues of dozens of people formed outside Vodafone's flagship store on Auckland's Queen Street before 12pm.
The iPhone 4 will be available only on account, as handset numbers are very limited.
Tech fans excited about today's launch of the iPhone 4 were left confused after all references to the new gadget were removed from Vodafone New Zealand's website yesterday.
Strangely, it has all just reappeared as if nothing has happened, including data plans.
Blogger Ben Gracewood has reported that Apple says the phone will be available for online purchase from its website this evening.
A Vodafone spokesman declined to comment about the iPhone 4 on any level and directed all questions to Apple, whose representatives have not yet returned nzherald.co.nz's numerous calls.
But angry groups of wannabe buyers were left waiting outside stores for a device that didn't look like it was going to come.
A handful of iPhone fans waiting outside Vodafone's flagship Queen Street store in Auckland were bitterly disappointed that they've been unable to buy one.
Just before 9am, when the shop normally opens, a staff member told those assembled that there was no iPhone 4 and no further information.
"If you wait out here you're wasting your time," he said.
"I have no information whatsoever, but there might be more this afternoon."
Several Apple fanbois had tried to get a device from the Magnum Mac shop in Newmarket and JB Hi-Fi stores, but to no avail.
"I've been up since 4am," Chris Wiggins told nzherald.co.nz. "I've tried several places but still don't have an answer."
"I'm angry at both of them [Apple and Vodafone] - it's unacceptable to be honest."
There is mounting speculation that a shipment of the iPhone 4 has not arrived. Other rumours say that it will only be available online through Apple.
"We wait in hope," said optimistic Wiggins.
The phone was also scheduled to go on sale today in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
It hit Australian shops at midnight with great fanfare through telcos Optus, Telstra and Vodafone/3. According to sources, each telco was shipped about 13,000 handsets, making it likely that the device will sell out quickly.
Overnight on Twitter, angry commenters directed their displeasure at Vodafone for the silent treatment.
"Hmmm, no mention of iphone 4 ANYWHERE on @vodafonenz site. Things are getting interesting," tweeted SparkyNZ.
Ahmad NZ said "What's going on with the iPhone 4 in NZ? Did Apple just royally Roger @VodafoneNZ??"
iamJohnLai tweeted "Hope no one has lined up for the iPhone 4, cause still no news about the phone from @vodafonenz yet for tomorrow".
On tech forum Geekzone, some are speculating that the release of the troubled device - which has had signal problems overseas - has been pulled entirely, while others thought it had just been delayed.
"Heard a rumour that the shipment from China has been delayed hence no stock for stores," wrote one commenter. "They are desperately trying to get stock from Aussie but won't be here in time."
- NZ HERALD STAFF
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