When huge crowds swamped Apple's main store in Beijing's Sanlitun district, there were already concerns of a surge for the iPhone 4S when the doors would finally open.
It looks like those concerns were justified. Sales of the iPhone 4S were cancelled in some Apple stores throughout Beijing and Shanghai.
"Unfortunately we were unable to open our store at Sanlitun due to the large crowd," an Apple spokesperson said, "to ensure the safety of our customers and employees".
"The iPhone will not be available in our retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai for the time being."
Customers, some of which had been waiting all night in freezing conditions, began to behave in an unruly way when it was announced that the shop would not be opening.
Signs had been advertising that the store would open at 7 am, but when it failed to do so the crowd began to chant "open the doors!" and "liars!". There were reports of scuffles breaking out.
Police temporarily cornered off the store after the crowd pelted it with eggs.
Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research Group, criticised Apple's actions over the event. "Everybody knows there will be massive numbers of people when Apple has this kind of launch. This shows very poor retail management ability".
The highly anticipated smartphone is still available through China Unicom and by ordering online. The launch went more smoothly in other stores. One store in the Pudong district, Shanghai opened an hour early, and was sold out almost immediately.
It looks as though the iPhone 4S is going to have a rocky launch in China on a count of being too successful and in demand. With the product selling out across China stores, many customers were left bitterly disappointed to have queued up without their reward.
The suspense of sales to avoid mobbing and 'scalpers' might have saved Apple from a disastrous launch or criminal negligence charges, but it has definitely left a lot of die-hard apple fans fuming.
Image source: Twitpic.
- Apple loses 'iPad' trademark in China
- iPhone 4S to get a New Year's launch in China?
- iPhone 4S: Five killer features
- Who cares about the iPad, I want Siri on the iPhone 4