Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) finally launches its new iPhone 6 in China on Friday morning, but unlike past launches, this time the launch was relatively low profile, says a report from the Wall Street Journal. Friday morning, in Beijing’s upscale Sanlitun shopping district, there were about 100 customers waiting in line.
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A low-profile launch for Apple iPhone
The doors opened at 8 am for those who pre-ordered the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+. The relatively small line at the store could be due to the fact that the devices also went on sale at midnight elsewhere, including the stores of China’s biggest telecom carriers.
Past product launches attracted thousands of buyers who queued overnight, quite in contrast to the Friday opening, when only a few showed up just hours before the store opened. The turnout was so low-profile that the two-dozen private-security guards hired seemed to outnumber the customers.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s previous China launches were not so smooth. In January 2012, on the first day of the iPhone 4S sales, a delay in the opening of Sanlitun store resulted in a near-riot situation eventually leading to a temporary halting of sales across China last year. In May 2011, during the release of the white iPhone 4, fights between customers and Sanlitun store employees was observed.
Bigger screen most attractive
China’s launch comes a week after the original release of the devices in the U.S. and elsewhere. At Apple stores, the same ritual was followed as is typical for new product sales. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) retail employees dressed in blue t-shirts and jackets lined at the entrance cheering as the first customer entered the store.
Welcoming the first in line, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) employees cheered “Liu Yi, number one! Liu Yi, number one!” for a 18-year-old college student. Liu, who came to collect his new iPhone 6, told reporters later “I’m feeling quite emotional.” Liualso said that large the screen is the most appealing feature, and is necessary for China and other Asian markets.
Many in line were already iPhone users, but wanted to upgrade to the bigger iPhone 6 plus with 5.5-inch screen instead of the iPhone 6 with a 4.7-inch display
For Sun Wei, a 28-year-old employee at a state-owned enterprise “It’s all about the screen size.” Wei added that the bigger screen is more convenient for watching movies, surfing and typing.