iPhones hot even in places where they're not sold

Updated Sun. Jul. 20 2008 2:48 PM ET

The Associated Press

MOSCOW -- In the Soviet days, Russians asked their American friends to bring blue jeans, rock records and other Western goods into the country. Today Russians can buy almost anything they want here -- but they are still begging for one item: Apple Inc.'s slick iPhone.

The new iPhone went on sale in 21 countries July 11 and will soon be released in 70 nations. Officially, Russia and China are still on hold -- neither last year's original iPhone nor the updated model have been launched in those countries because Apple is still negotiating with mobile service providers.

And yet analysts estimate that only the U.S. has more iPhone users than Russia and China.