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New iPad given low-key launch in China

Apple has apparently learned from previous China launches, releasing the new iPad in the country last week in a low-key, chaos-free event.

Reuters reported orderly patrons in Shanghai and Beijing, a scene that differs greatly from the unruly crowds and scalpers who have fought over iDevices during previous launches.

IT worker Sun Xuefei, who was first in a short queue of customers, was surprised at the small number of waiting customers, about 20 people outside of the Shanghai Lujiazui Apple store, Reuters said.

A new reservation system likely helped control the crowds. When Cupertino announced that the new iPad would launch in China, it said it would accept in-store reservation requests between 9am and noon for next-day pickup.

Wang Yue, who had also waited outside of the Lujiazui store, told Reuters that the new system "is much more convenient."

In 2011, the iPad 2 prompted a brawl between store employees and those waiting to make their purchases at a Beijing Apple store. The fight let to a shattered glass door and an early store closing.

Earlier this year, Apple also temporarily halted Beijing sales of the iPhone 4S, allegedly because it was just too popular in the country.

Apple presently stocks two brick-and-mortar retail stores in Beijing, three in Shanghai, and one in Hong Kong. The company has also battled unauthorised sellers in the region.

China is now a major market for Apple. In the last few years, Apple earnings there have gone from nothing to $13 billion (£8.4 billion), "so we've really been focused on trying to understand that market," CEO Tim Cook said earlier this year. In March, Cook visited the country, marking the first time an Apple CEO traveled to the country in an official capacity.