The wait is almost over for local iPhone fans – the much anticipated 3G version of Apple’s popular mobile phone will hit New Zealand shores on July 11. This will be the first time the iPhone will be sold through official channels locally, with mobile phone operator Vodafone confirming today that it will offer the device. The iPhone has however been available through parallel importer retail stores since shortly after its release in the United States last year. New Zealand is among the first countries where Apple and Vodafone are releasing the iPhone 3G on July 11 – others are Australia, Italy and Portugal. Mobile phone users in Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, India, South Africa and Turkey will get their hands on the device later this year. Apple says the new iPhone features 3G networking that is twice as fast as the first generation iPhone, built-in GPS for expanded location based mobile services, and iPhone 2.0 software, which includes support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and runs the hundreds of third party applications already built with the recently released iPhone SDK. The company states the iPhone 3G will come with a 3.5-inch screen and have better battery life, with talk time of five hours, stand-by time of 300 hours, six hours of high-speed browsing time, 20 hours of audio and seven hours of video.