Core support takes first bite out of Apple's latest gadget
ROAMING charges are unlikely to worry Richard Lynch.
The 17-year-old put his family's summer holiday to Portugal in some jeopardy yesterday when he decided that he simply couldn't wait that long before getting his hands on the latest 'must have' gadget from Apple.
And so three of the family were dispatched to Dublin Airport yesterday morning -- along with most of the luggage -- while Richard and his mother Glenna queued from 5.30am in the misty rain on Dublin's Grafton Street to buy the iPhone 4 as soon as the doors of the O2 store opened at 8am.
"We are boarding at 10.30am," Glenna, from Donnybrook, said, glancing at her watch and with the passports and flight printouts in hand.
"Half of us is concerned about time, the other half would just stay here all day until the phone came out," she laughed, contemplating their fast-approaching flight to Portugal for a 10-day family holiday.
Richard was ambivalent, at least about the possibility of missing the flight. Missing the phone -- given the limited stock -- was simply not an option.
"I only have a 3G now," he said. "The phone is a huge step, the screen is better and the camera," the fifth-year student added.
Eager to get a headstart, 3 Ireland opened stores in Dublin, Waterford, Limerick, Cork, Galway and Killarney at a minute past midnight.
Three teachers from Lucan -- Paul Yeoman (29), Siobhan Wyatt (31) and Keith Leonard (26) -- were up well before the crack of dawn in their quest to get their hands on the phone. But they were showing little sign of their 3.15am start which placed them at the top of a 50-strong queue at O2 stores on Grafton Street, which opened at 8am. "We just wanted to get the phone, (but) obviously demand isn't as high as we thought it would be," Paul said.
There were few mentions of 'antennagate' -- the complaint in other countries from some users that the reception was affected on the phones if they were held a certain way.
But even though they hadn't got their hands on the iPhone 4 as yet, those complaints were dismissed out of hand by potential customers.
Brian O'Mahony from Greystones, Co Wicklow, who works in a mobile phone repair shop, said he had encountered a small queue at one of the Vodafone stores on Grafton Street.
O2 retail sales manager Colm O'Connor revealed they were initially selling the phones only to existing customers as they expected a sell-out first day.
Vodafone stores in Dundrum and Tallaght opened at 8am, while the phone was available online from 7.30am.
Depending on the price plan selected with the networks, the price of the phone varies, with the unit costing between €229 and €379 for the 32GB version in the Vodafone Ireland stores.
The slimmer and more powerful fourth-generation of the original iPhone has already proved a major hit in the US and the UK where it was launched last month.
While eager Irish fans had to be patient, the launch of the iPad here earlier this month was a sufficient sweetener to tide many over.
Resistance to the Apple brand is, it seems, increasingly futile.