It may be too early to predict if Apple iPad’s is losing its sheen in China, but there is enough indication in that direction to warrant such a prediction. Contrary to the earlier launch of the previous versions, the present one was a low-key affair with little fanfare and too little crowd in front of Apple Stores in Beijing and Shanghai. Many reasons can be attributed to that, but notable is the orderly way in which the sale and distribution itself took place on the opening day. That the Chinese launch came at least four months after its debut in the US may be the other cause for the dampened reception it received.
The small crowd before the Apple Stores points to meticulous planning days ahead unlike the previous launch which saw unruly crowds after there was a hitch in the distribution with sales outstripping supply on a massive scale. This time however, most sales took place online with buyers having to first make a reservation, get the sale confirmed and then collect their iPad the day after. Security arrangements this time were tighter too. It is therefore not surprising that even in a busy city like Beijing; there were hardly any people in front of the Apple Store on the launch day.
Understandably owning an Apple’s iPad is a status symbol in China, and it has to be very different over previous releases, which the present version seems not to be. The subdued reception is an indication to the fact and is also the reason why there weren’t many scalpers this time trying to make a killing in the gray market, just like it happened the previous time. Apple further plans to retain the system of reservation for quiet some more time until things stabilize. Reservations don’t take much time and are open only for limited hours; between 9 am and 12 midday. With deliveries scheduled for following days, it is a simple go and collect job.
Another reason why Apple tried to do everything systematically and quietly this time was the trade mark dispute in which it got embroiled with the Chinese manufacturer, Proview, since settled amicably. The iPad had earlier in May received certification from China’s Telecommunication Equipment Center. It is noteworthy that this Only Wi-Fi iPad from Apple is for most part manufactured in China. It is really surprising that a much awaited product like this should have taken so long to launch with so little fanfare and hype, like it usually used to be with Apple products in the past.
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