Staff and wire report

Apple Inc.’s newest was in hot demand Thursday as hundreds lined up outside stores in Tokyo, Berlin, New York and elsewhere to become among the first to own the device.

Customers also lined up outside Apple’s store in Raleigh, N.C. at Crabtree Valley Mall long before it opened.

However, some early users

The iPhone 4’s launch began in Japan and moved across France, Germany and the U.K. before going on sale in the U.S. at 7 a.m. in each time zone.

Unlike past launches, there were worries about limited supplies after more than 600,000 people rushed to pre-order iPhones on the first day they were available, prompting Apple and its U.S. carrier, AT&T Inc., to stop taking orders for shipment by Thursday’s launch. On Apple’s website, new orders weren’t promised for delivery until July 14.

The phones go on sale Thursday in U.S. Apple stores where Apple says supplies will be limited.

In Apple’s newly opened store in the Georgetown section of Washington, employees handed out free pastries to people in line, The Associated Press reported.

Apple has two stores in the Research Triangle, N.C. area – at Crabtree Valley and at The Streets at Southpoint in Durham.

AT&T, Apple’s exclusive iPhone partner in the U.S., won’t have iPhone 4s available in its store until June 29, the company AT&T says it is concentrating on customers who pre-ordered the phone in record numbers.

In Paris, 24-year-old shoe salesman Julien Remy went to buy one during his lunch break, only to learn the store had run out of the higher-capacity model he wanted.

"Either I’ll look elsewhere or come back later," he said.

At the Apple store in Japan’s swanky Ginza shopping district, several hundred lined the street in the early afternoon heat, as staff handed out bottled water and loaned black umbrellas with the company logo. A man dressed as a giant iPhone danced and waived his arms as he made it to the front of the line.

"I like the design. It’s sleek — I think it’s cool!" said Yoko Kosugi, 41, a graphic designer, who took her new phone out of her bag to show it off, plastic wrapping still on the screen.

Long lines formed from early morning across the city at Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) stores and retail outlets across the city.

Thursday’s global launch of the iPhone 4 was being carried out at 7 a.m. local time in each region, so Japanese were among the first in the world to get their hands on the device. The U.S., France, U.K. and Germany are also part of the global launch.

In the trendy shopping district of Harajuku, over 300 people were lined up at the flagship store of Softbank, Japan’s exclusive carrier, when its doors opened in the morning. That store ran out of phones by early afternoon, said company spokesman Naoki Nakayama.

"We’ve been selling out at each launch, it’s the same conditions," he said, declining to release any numbers.

When the initial version of the iPhone was released in Japan two years ago, some questioned whether it could succeed without many of the advanced hardware features common on Japanese models.

But the phone’s addictive touch screen and broad selection of downloadable applications have made it a runaway hit in the country.

The newest model is thinner with a better-resolution screen and longer battery life. It features a new operating system that can also be installed on some older models.

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