Apple’s third-generation iPad finally goes on sale in China today, more than four months after making its debut in the United States. And unlike previous iPhone and iPad launches in China, which have been marred by huge crowds and violent scalpers, this one has been described as “quiet” and “low-key.”
Apple retail stores in Shanghai and Beijing saw “calm, orderly queues,” Reuters reports, which only contained around 20 people. “I’m very surprised that there is no line,” one customer said. “I thought there was going be a long line so I came over a bit earlier to pick it up.”
It’s not that people don’t want Apple’s latest iPad — which is the first to feature a high-resolution Retina display. The reason so few people have turned out for its launch is simply due to Apple’s new reservation system, which requires customers to order their device online or by telephone between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. before they go to a retail store to collect it.
The system was introduced to prevent the chaos we’ve seen from previous launches in China, such as that for the iPhone 4S, when gangs of scalpers sparked violence by attempting to push in front of genuine customers. Their sole purpose for purchasing these devices is to sell them on through the gray market for a huge profit.
As you’d expect, customers believe Apple new system is much better.
“My friend came here last year and queued for the whole day. So I think the process now is much more convenient,” said Wang Yue, who was queuing outside the Shanghai Lujiazui store.