First iPhone 5s to be available in HK stores today

Orders of the latest Apple gadget are more than double predecessor's record despite mockery

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 September, 2012, 3:16am


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Apple's new iPhone 5 is set to whip up a buying fervour when it hits Hong Kong and eight other markets today, defying speculators' expectations and pre-launch mockery of its features.

It sold two million units in first-day preorders outside the US, more than twice the record of its predecessor, the iPhone 4S.

Parallel trader Lau Chi-kong, of G-World Mobile in Mong Kok, said: "Orders have come in from Hong Kong and mainland China, and from as far as Thailand."

Faced with possible chaotic demand, the online Apple Store and SmarTone mobile network operator said they would offer the phones today only to clients who had registered in advance.

But CSL - which runs 1010 and One2Free - and some Apple premium resellers said they would accept walk-in customers.

In the grey market, which just last week had indicated a lacklustre appetite for the gadget, Lau and other parallel traders intended to sell the 16GB version at HK$8,800, some HK$3,000 above its official price and HK$2,000 more than what some had planned to charge.

Lau, who had previously expressed disappointment at the phone's lack of surprises, said only 20 people placed advance orders the day after the gadget's design was released, but that this had risen to 200 by last night.

The device has drawn a mixed response from gadget lovers: some praised it for its speed while others were critical of its longer but not wider screen - parody makers joked that the iPhone 10 would have the length of a keyboard if it continued to get longer.

Mockery aside, online orders were flooding in at the US and British Apple Stores, prompting them to extend delivery from the usual one week to between three and four weeks.

The Apple Store in Central said it had started accepting preorders online yesterday and had drawn lots to decide who would get the phones at the store today.

Customers can also buy the phone bundled with a mobile service plan - at HK$138 to HK$439 a month - from operators SmarTone, CSL or 3HK.

To avoid long queues, many shops will not offer walk-in sales. Premium reseller Studio A said its advance booking quota was already full, but Sunion Telecom in Wan Chai would accept walk-ins.

The Broadway and Fortress chains said yesterday that they were not sure if iPhone5s would be available in their shops today.