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Apple's Hong Kong store rolls out iPhone 'reservation' system

Yes, sir, but have you booked an appointment?

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Apple has been forced to restrict iPhone sales in its Hong Kong store to discourage the recent epidemic of scalpers.

Fanbois looking to get their hands on a SIM-free version of the hugely popular 4S or older models must now request a reservation between the hours of 9am and 12pm to give them a chance of picking up the device in-store the next day, according to the Apple website.

Prospective customers are asked to fill out their personal details including name, address, phone number and Hong Kong ID card number, hit submit and hope the Apple gods are smiling on them.

Successful applicants will be given a confirmation email telling them when to pick up their shiny new handsets, although they’ll need to bring ID with them.

The strict new policy banning walk-in sales was apparently brought in by Apple after a rise in so-called scalpers, who buy up the devices in bulk before selling them on at a profit in China.

Sales of the 4S have already been suspended in the firm’s bricks-and-mortar outlets in China after a disastrous launch day last month which saw the shop refuse to open its doors on a crowd of 500 fanbois, many of whom had queued overnight in sub-zero temperatures.

Some reports suggested that Apple may have taken the drastic measure because of the large number of suspected scalpers queueing to get in. Some particularly furious members of the crowd even took to pelting the store with eggs.

Online sales in China and Hong Kong are operating as normal but in-store purchases are still suspended in China.

While Apple will no doubt be delighted to see such huge demand for its products in China, the market has also proved somewhat problematic for the maker of shiny toys.

Large numbers of fake Apple stores were discovered operating in the country last year and the grey market in Apple knock-offs is also making a tidy sum off the back of its brand.

As if that wasn’t enough, there is the long-running trademark infringement case with a Shenzhen company over the ‘iPad’ name which could see Apple hit with a $38m fine. ®

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