Apple customers in Beijing hurled eggs at the Apple store after it announced that it would not release the iPhone 4S. See here a video report from Newsy:
Embedded Video Source by Newsy.com
Transcript by Newsy
Apple has canceled the release of the iPhone 4S at its Chinese retail stores after a near-riot outside their Beijing flagship store. CNN walks us through.
“‘Everyone likes the iPhone 4,’ 18-year old Tom were among the hundreds of people who queued in the freezing cold overnight, for the official lease of the Apple iPhone 4s. [...] As the time ticked passed, the mood turned sour. Then, an announcement. The phone would not be sold here today.”
An Apple representative told the Associated Press they decided not to open the store’s doors for fear of customers getting injured as they rush to get their hands on the iPhone 4S.
Still, when they made the announcement, they got something closer to a riot. Security workers were chased away, fights broke out in the crowd and some people even egged the building.
China is one of Apple’s fastest-growing markets, and it’s not unusual for crowds to gather outside a store for days before a big release. The Los Angeles Times gives us a few examples of Apple hysteria in the country.
“Many upwardly mobile urbanites wouldn’t be caught dead without an iPhone. In June, a 17-year-old high school student reportedly sold a kidney to buy an iPad 2. And in September, a 16-year-old girl was killed in a fight with her mother over the right to buy an Apple computer.”
The drive to get hold of Apple’s products has also spawned a shady underground market in China. Smugglers sneak products into the country before their official release to sell at high prices, and entirely counterfeit Apple stores have popped up around the country.
A writer for PC Magazine explains how these practices might have caused the Beijing disaster.
“According to various sources on the ground in China, the massive crowds aren’t just made up of Apple fans looking for an early purchase, but include large groups of professional scalpers looking to buy up the coveted device for resale on the grey market at inflated prices.”
So how could Apple have avoided the failed opening? Some are blaming the police for poor crowd control. Others say Apple should find ways to hinder scalpers. A writer for Gizmodo has another idea.
“Last year, violence also broke out when China released the iPad 2 in China. It seems like Apple needs to figure out a better way to do this. Maybe not making them wait months after the product launches in the rest of the world would be a start.”
An Apple spokesperson said though the products would not be sold at retail stores, consumers can still go to Apple’s online store or through it’s local carrier, China Unicom Ltd., to buy their iPhones.
Transcript by Newsy.
(Image source: Newsy)