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French iPhone launch; potential Nokia dispute; Black Friday visits

The iPhone's launch in France was marked by large lines and a VIP visit. Meanwhile, Nokia may square off against Apple if it releases a touchscreen phone, and Apple has overtaken Dell in Black Friday site traffic.

iPhone receives warm welcome in French launch

Despite ongoing strikes in the transportation system, Apple's final European iPhone launch for 2007 created an extra-wide line running more than 100 meters (328 feet) from the central Orange store on the Champs Elysées in Paris, according to one report from enthusiasts standing in line for PCInpact.

A VIP section triggered much attention from the press, though only one recognizable figure —Orange France president Louis-Pierre Wenes —has so far been identified in the mix.

But that executive has reason to be happy, says the chief of Orange's parent company France Telecom. President Didier Lombard has told journalists at a press conference that he expects between 400,000 and 500,000 iPhones to be sold in France during its first year on sale, though his company has not revealed how many of the phones it expects will sell unlocked and thus lose out on subscription revenue.

The exclusivity deal for the iPhone that allows Orange to be the sole provider of locked phones will last "more than two years," Wenes says.

iPhone France line

A PCInpact snapshot of the line along the Champs Elysées.

Louis-Pierre Wenes

Orange France president Louis-Pierre Wenes holds an iPhone at the Champs Elysées launch (via PCInpact).

Nokia could face Apple legal action over future phone: analyst

Analyst Richard Windsor of the British financial firm Nomura issued an early warning on Wednesday that Nokia's planned upgrade to the Symbian Series 60 OS to add a touchscreen interface could spawn a legal dispute between the Finland-based company and Apple when it appears in late 2008.

The Cupertino, California-based iPhone maker owns about 200 patents related to the iPhone and has already vowed to protect them in the event that a rival's design infringes on the technology —which may be likely. A technology demonstration by Nokia in August appeared to imitate the iPhone's photo browsing and other aspects of the Apple touchscreen interface.

Still, the potential cost of a protracted legal battle may force Nokia to license patents or settle with Apple in 2009 to allow any new smartphones to co-exist with the iPhone, Windsor says.

Apple overtakes Dell in Black Friday website visits

Roughly 1.4 million people visited the day following Thanksgiving, notes a ComScore study.

Nicknamed Black Friday for its reputation of bringing stores from losses to profits (or black ink), the period represented a 111 percent jump in traffic to Apple's site from the year before and far eclipsed both the growth and numbers for its frequent opponent Dell. The Texas-based Windows PC maker grew just 29 percent and drew only 1.3 million visitors.

Apple dropped iPod and Mac prices on that day, accounting for at least part of the increase.

Carphone Warehouse caught misleading iPhone buyers

A secret investigation by the BBC has found that Carphone Warehouse is frequently misstating the iPhone's true costs in an attempt to boost commission sales.

Customers are often inaccurately told that only the phone retailer's insurance will adequately cover the device from theft or damage despite O2 offering a similar level of protection.

Prospective shoppers were also falsely warned that they would need to not only buy a new phone if the old one is lost but set up a new 18-month contract, raising the effective price from £269 to £630.

Carphone Warehouse claims the complaints only represent a small portion of its stores and that the investigation doesn't reveal systemic abuse of customer trust.

Apple provides 1.0.3 update for iPod classic, 3G nano

Apple on Wednesday released its 1.0.3 update for the iPod classic and the third-generation iPod nano.

Available through iTunes, the firmware patches are only listed as "bug fixes" but are believed to address problems with games altering song play counts on both media players. The iPod classic's implementation of Cover Flow and the iPod nano's clock have also seen minor updates.