Apple: iPhone coming to 20 more countries Aug. 22

Even as it struggles to meet demand in existing markets, Apple plans to introduce the iPhone 3G to new countries next month. The company said that the latest iPhone would go on sale in 20 additional countries by August 22.

The announcement came during a quarterly conference call with financial analysts in which chief operating officer Tim Cook and chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer discussed Apple’s results for the fiscal third quarter.

Apple introduced the iPhone 3G on July 11 in 21 countries; France became the 22nd country to sell the revamped smart phone on July 17. Apple has reported strong demand for the device, tallying 1 million units sold in its first weekend of release.

But the launch has not been without problems, starting with activation delays that plagued the first day of sales. More recently, would-be shoppers have reported constrained supplies—Computerworld reported over the weekend that fewer than 9 percent of Apple’s stores had any iPhone 3Gs to sell according to Apple’s inventory-checking tool.

Questions from analysts about the tight supplies of iPhone 3Gs prompted Cook to mention Apple’s expansion plans. Cook pointed out that the shortages are a result of “overwhelming demand” and that Apple was confident enough in its ability to boost production that it would expand the iPhone’s market by 20 countries on August 22.

“I like what I’m seeing in the production ramp,” Cook said.

What Cook didn’t say was which countries would be added to the iPhone’s reach come August 22. Apple’s iPhone page lists 50 countries under a Coming Soon header that includes nations in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and Europe.

Apple reiterated its goal to introduce the iPhone to more than 70 countries by year’s end. And it remains confident of meeting its oft-stated target of selling 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008. Oppenheimer says Apple expects to sell more iPhones in the quarter ending September 30 than in any quarter since the phone’s June 2007 launch.

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