Chinese new iPad launch sidesteps mayhem

Apple's new iPad launch in China proved smooth and hitch-feee, with the company's pre-registration rationing system helping prevent the violent crowds that marred the iPhone 4S release earlier this year. Rather than accept walk-in sales, Apple has insisted on a pre-purchase system that requires new iPad buyers to register online the day before they want to collect their iPad in-store; as a result there was no line outside Chinese Apple Stores, and no overnight waiting.

Concerns had been voiced about the release of the new iPad in China after the release of the iPhone 4S back in January was overshadowed by violence. Apple responded to concerns that gangs of scalpers were planning to strip iPhone 4S stock and sell the handsets on at a profit on the grey market by freezing sales of the smartphone; in the process it triggered near-riots outside Chinese Apple Stores, with would-be buyers insulting staff and pelting the glass facades with eggs and other objects.

"My friend came here last year and queued for the whole day" new iPad buyer Wang Yue told Reuters. "So I think the process now is much more convenient."

In fact, a mere twenty people were waiting for the Shanghai Lujiazui Apple Store to open. "I'm very surprised that there is no line" queuer Sun Xufei said. "I thought there was going be a long line so I came over a bit earlier to pick it up."

However, that didn't stop Chinese buyers from complaining at the amount of time it took Apple to bring the third-generation iPad to their country, the WSJ reports. Having gone on sale in initial markets back in March, it has taken around four months for the tablet to launch in China, ironic since the slate is actually manufactured there.

Analysts blamed launch tardiness for the iPhone 4S release, suggesting Apple had fueled tensions by withholding it from the growing Chinese market, and suggested that prompter availability and better communication was needed. Apple CEO Tim Cook agreed, saying that the company had underestimated the scale of demand for iOS products.