Why there were no long lines for iPhone 5′s China launch

“There is a reasonable explanation for today’s quiet iPhone 5 launch [in China]. Apple recently had a new reservation system in China to avoid scuffles (see last year’s iPhone 4S launch that ends with egg throwing),” Chris Chang reports for M.I.C. Gadget. “Since the last time we saw massive crowds outside Beijing Apple store when Apple launched the iPhone 4S, the lines were so crazy and unfortunately, riots happened. Thus it forced Apple to shut down the launch and not sell phones to the Chinese consumers. So, Apple created a new reservation system. Chinese consumers have to reserve a product online before they can buy it in the store. For the new iPad, the iPad mini, and today’s iPhone 5 launch, Chinese consumers are required to follow Apple’s new rules.”

“Actually, there’s another reason why no one shows up for today’s iPhone 5 launch,” Chang reports. “Apple is not offering contract-free iPhone 5 units for sale in all retail stores in mainland China. We sent a email to Apple China asking for the availability of contract-free iPhone 5, and here’s what Apple replied, ‘Thanks for your email. As it appears now, the only way to purchase an unlocked phone will be online. Only contract iPhone 5 phones will be sold in store. We are continuously monitoring our website for any changes.’ The unsubsidized iPhone 5 starts from 5,288 or about $850 if you reserve one from Apple’s China site.”

Chang reports, “So, the reason why the iPhone 5 fails to draw crowds for China launch is that China Apple Stores are only offering iPhone 5 on a contract with China Telecom to walk-in customers. In the past, where thousands of people lined up outside the Beijing Apple Store and Shanghai Apple Store on iPhone 4S launch day, walk-in customers are allowed to purchase contract-free iPhones, and no online reservation is needed. Here’s the verdict. For any futures Apple product launch, we will no longer see long queues outside China Apple Stores. Never. Ever.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]