Antenna not an issue for iPhone 4 fans

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 July, 2010, 12:00am

The antenna problems that have plagued Apple's new iPhone 4 abroad did not bother Hong Kong's first owners of the device, which was launched in the city early yesterday.

They either experienced no similar problems - in which the phone loses its signal if the user's hand covers a black strip in the lower left corner that functions as part of its antenna - or did not seem to mind.

'Well, I'm carrying the phone with my right hand, so it should be fine,' said Clement Oh Wu, who was queuing to buy his iPhone 4 from a 1010 shop at 8am before work.

James Haig, a FedEx pilot, said: 'It's not a big deal. If I can't hold it at the bottom, I'll hold it at the top.' He picked up his phone at 9:30am before leaving to fly a plane at 10:30am.

Apple has offered customers abroad free cases that rectify the problem by shielding the sensitive black strip. William Chan, supervisor of the SmarTone-Vodafone store in Percival Street in Causeway Bay, confirmed that this offer would extend to Hong Kong customers, but they would have to get their cases from Apple.

The eagerly awaited smartphone was officially launched in the city at several midnight events.

From SmarTone-Vodafone's party in Central's IFC Mall, the queue snaked all the way to the Macau Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan.

Many customers waited more than three hours for their phone but got a little comfort from free McDonalds muffins, live music and even circus acts.

The iPhone 4 was also officially released in Singapore, Australia, Canada and South Korea yesterday, just over a month since it was introduced in the United States, Britain and several other markets.

SmarTone-Vodafone, 3 Hong Kong and CSL - which operates 1010 and one2free - are offering the 16 gigabyte version of the iPhone 4 free with a two-year contract costing HK$398 per month.

While 2,000 random pre-registered customers were invited to the event at IFC Mall on Thursday night, fewer than 10 Apple enthusiasts were waiting outside the 1010 store in Percival Street when it opened at 8am.

Salesman Panda Ngan attributed the low turnout to the company's system of selling the iPhone 4 only to customers who had pre-ordered it, giving them a specific time to turn up to collect their phones.

This store had about 150 iPhone 4s in stock and did not expect to sell out. However, customers who wished to walk in and buy one without pre-registering would likely have to wait a week or two, Ngan said.