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Crowd hits Ala Moana for iPhone 4

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    Matthew Shiroma let out a yell as he exited Ala Moana's Apple Store yesterday with a new iPhone 4 he bought. Shiroma started his wait in line at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Hundreds of iPhone fanatics waited anxiously yesterday at Ala Moana Center for the launch of the latest in high-tech gadgetry.

When the store opened at 7 a.m., there were about 500 eager consumers lined up systematically according to pre-orders and walk-ins. By 9 a.m. one line snaked around Macy’s, while another circled the opposite end of the shopping center.

Rows of exuberant Apple employees hyped up the crowd with cheers, claps and even line battles of who could scream the loudest among pre-order customers and walk-ins.

"You guys ready?" shouted an Apple staffer donned in the typical blue Apple T-shirt, bouncing from one line to the next.

"I’m loving the hype more than anything," said Maui native Kim Vinoray, 39, from Las Vegas. "We’re having fun even though everybody thinks we’re crazy. It’s cool, it’s very cool."

Aiea resident Matthew Shiroma, 18, said, "It’s my music player, how I keep in contact if I’m not on the computer. I’d have a hard time adjusting (without it)."

First-day sales didn’t come without a snag. Users posted videos on the Internet demonstrating trouble with the iPhone 4’s new antenna: The phone signal drops out when users cover the bottom-left corner of the device with their palm to make a call, according to the videos.

The glitch didn’t curb the enthusiasm of employees who distributed water and breakfast bentos from Sam Choy’s to the throngs of "iPhone junkies." Some in line got free iced tea, granola bars and T-shirts.

"Part of it is the hype," said San Francisco resident Al Fong, 46, who is on vacation here and staying at the Ala Moana Hotel. "I get drawn into the Apple frenzy even though I’m not a self-proclaimed Apple guy. There are some guys that are just crazy about Apple."

Geneve Lung, a 20-year-old self-proclaimed iPhone trendsetter from Manoa, couldn’t wait a day longer to get the latest Apple invention.

"It’s what is in," she said. "Everyone’s eventually going to get it, but you want to make sure you get it first. Definitely, I can’t live without it."

For others like Red Hill resident Dan McCaughtry, it’s a practical device that makes life easier – with video calls, multitasking and a built-in compass in case you get lost.

"I just retired from the Army, and it was always about somebody else, taking care of the soldiers or the mission for command," said McCaughtry, 41, who was in line by 5 a.m. "I want to do something for myself for a change."


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