The iPhone 5 has finally launched in China at Apple’s store in Beijing’s upscale Sanlitun shopping area today in what can be considered the “least eventful launch of an Apple device in the company’s four-year history in the Chinese capital.”
In the past, Apple’s device launches have been much more eventful and, in some instances, downright dangerous with near riots between customers when the iPhone 4S launch was initially delayed. Since then, Apple has implemented a reservation-only system for customers to purchase the new devices.
When the iPhone 5 launched in China today, it was greeted with fresh snow and only two customers. It’s not clear whether this low turnout for the iPhone 5 was due to weather, lack of initial excitement for the device, or how well Apple’s process of releasing products in China has worked, which requires customers to apply online a day before the new device is launched and those chosen are given a certain time window to get the new device.
While Apple remains at the top of the smartphone market in China, the company’s status has slipped somewhat to Android phones. One research firm says Android held 56 percent of the market for phones priced above 3,000 yuan ($480) in the third quarter, while Apple held 42 percent. Android phones accounted for 2.8 million handsets, while iPhones weighed in at 2.1 million.