Hundreds of eager customers lined up at Apple retailers across Ottawa to get their hands on the latest gadget: the iPhone 4. One person even slept on a downtown street overnight to be first in line.

"It's beautiful, quite the piece of engineering. The new screen, the new protective front and back and it runs a little bit faster," said Rohit Saxena, who lined up at 4:45 a.m., but still wasn't the first in line at the Apple Store in the Rideau Centre.

"My wife wanted to inherit my old phone so she was gracious enough to permit me the upgrade."

Managers who looked more like FBI agents fielded the lineup at the Apple Store in the Rideau Centre Friday morning.

The first person in line secured his spot at 7 p.m. Thursday. When the mall closed, he camped out on the street beside the nearest mall exit.

Others, like Jean-Luc Pierre-Louis, got in line a bit later: "I brought my comfy chair, brought some juice earlier, brought some crackers and stuff so I'm ready for this," he said.

Others teamed up to hit multiple stores that were selling the product, seeking out the shortest line.

"One went to check another store and ended up getting another phone. So, they called me and said we have a spot and you get cards. So, he gave me his card and his spot," said Meghan Murray.

iPhone 4 woes

Despite the hype, it hasn't been the smoothest ride for the iPhone 4. Consumer Reports Magazine said earlier this month it wouldn't recommend the phone because of a problem with the antennae, which could cause a "significant reduction in reception."

iPhone users in the United States reported problems with Apple's fourth generation phone shortly after it was released there late last month. The problems occurred when users held the phone a certain way, usually in their left hand.

However, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has said the signal problem is common with all smartphones. Apple had said it would give away free rubber cases meant to improve the phone's reception. But media reports indicate that was not the case at all Canadian locations on Friday.

Still, many consumers in Ottawa said they wanted to review the product themselves.

"If there's issues with it, I can always bring it back," Pierre-Louis told CTV Ottawa.

"I'm going to believe them (Apple) that they know what they're doing and hopefully I won't have an issue," said another iPhone enthusiast.

No contract, RIM steps up competition

It was the first time consumers were able to buy the phones without a contract, allowing them to shop around with other carriers to find the best deal.

The 16-gigabyte model retails at $659 before taxes, while the 32-gigabyte phone retails at $779.

While Apple capitalizes on the success of its iPhone, the Canadian maker of the Blackberry is responding with a new smartphone.

Next week RIM will unveil its touch screen phone, which is expected to directly compete with the iPhone. The new RIM phone is expected to be called the ‘Blackpad'.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua and files from The Canadian Press