Kiwis formed lunchtime queues to get their hands on the latest iPhone 4, after a delayed launch being described as a ''nightmare''.
The launch was supposed to start this morning, however it was mysteriously put off, sparking frustration and confusion.
About 100 people queued outside the Vodafone Lambton Quay store in Wellington as sales began at midday.
For many, it was their second trip to the store in 4 hours.
Application forms for contracts were passed down the queue, as one person was let in at a time to the store.
Customer Simon Peak said the release had been an ''epic fail''.
''It's really hard to figure out what's going on. I signed up for pre-release emails from Vodafone, and never received anything from them. There's been no real communication, no real updates.''
Vodafone spokesman Paul Brislen said the iPhone 4 was available from select Vodafone stores from midday.
Stock was limited so the smartphones would only be sold on account, not pre-pay, he said.
Mr Brislen would not comment on when Vodafone would receive more iPhone 4s, the cause of the launch delay, or whether it would be available on the Vodafone online store.
The anticipated smartphone was supposed to go on sale this morning in New Zealand, but Apple fans that lined up overnight were left disappointed.
Jacob Creech, from Wellington, said the launch had been ''a nightmare''.
He had turned up at Magnum at 7.00am and was told at 8.00am there was no stock available.
He rushed to the Lambton Quay store at 8am, only to be told there would be no sales today.
He then received a text from Vodafone at 11.55am saying sales would in fact be happening at 12pm.
''It's been terribly handled. Vodafone is blaming Apple, Apple is blaming Vodafone. No one seems to know what is going on.
''I'm going to get my phone and then terminate the contract straight away. I'll probably be moving on to Telecom.''
About 40 queued outside the Digital Mobile store in Wellington's Manners Mall.
Staff at the store said they had about 25 phones available.
Rumours point to a shipping delay as the root of the problem, but some online pundits dismiss this, pointing to Australia, where the launch went well.
Sam Nelson, from Wellington, was one of the many Apple fans that were turned away this morning.
"I lined up at Magnum Mac Wellington from 5am this morning with hope to get the new phone," he told Stuff.co.nz.
"One guy had been there since 1.30am, another from 3.30am," the 25-year-old said.
"There are a lot of disappointed people around the country, angry that we were not notified by Vodafone or Apple of any changes to the release that was supposed to happen today despite all stores I spoke to yesterday telling me that today would be the day."
He said managers of both Magnum Mac and Vodafone Lambton Quay would not answer questions.
"They claimed ignorance."
Mr Nelson said he had heard rumours that JB Hi-Fi and Vodafone may sell some limited stock from midday.
He said he believed the delay was caused by a stock issue.
"I kind of don't understand how it was a stock issue if Australia had them."
Mr Nelson, who was seventh in line at the 3G iPhone launch, hoped to continue that trend of early adoption by lining up around 11am today.
ACROSS THE DITCH
In Australia, the launch went much more smoothly, with iPhone 4s going on sale at midnight.
Optus, Telstra and Vodafone/3 bent over backwards to ensure the wait was an event in itself. Singer Kelly Rowland greeted customers at Optus, Vodafone plied its faithful with free booze and Telstra offered fine cuisine.
Telstra treated loyal Sydney queuers to Apple-inspired food prepared by MasterChef contestants, including Adam Liaw and Callum Hann. The fare on offer included pork belly with apple sauce, apple tarts, apple crumble and a giant iPhone cake.
In the countdown to midnight, the band Kisschasy entertained the crowds before MasterChef judge Matt Preston presented the first in line, Sam Dunster, with the first handset by lifting up the lid on his silver cloche.
Vodafone/3 customers in Sydney ditched the queues altogether as the telco threw a lavish party at the Ivy, with free food and drinks and entertainment by Martini Club until 3am. Customers registered their purchase at Vodafone's George Street store at 10pm and simply strolled over to collect their handsets at midnight.
- With Sydney Morning Herald and Stuff
- © Fairfax NZ News