Apple’s new iPad makes quiet, riot-free debut in China

china-apple-storeIt’s been a long time coming but Apple stores in China finally got to sell the company’s latest iPad on Friday.

The delay came as a result of a trademark dispute in the country regarding the iPad name. The dispute was resolved at the start of this month when Apple paid $60 million to the company claiming ownership of the name.

Apple product launches in the past have been famously boisterous affairs. Today’s iPad debut, however, was notable for its peacefulness more than anything else. According to Reuters, the launch was very low-key, devoid of chaos and mayhem. Even those arriving at Apple stores in Beijing and Shanghai to purchase the new device were surprised, the report said.

In fact, it seems that, at some stores at least, hardly anyone at all turned up. Can this be true? An Apple product launch without whooping and high-fiving?  

“I thought there was going be a long line so I came over a bit earlier to pick it up,” IT worker Sun Xufei, standing in a line of just 20 outside a Shanghai Apple store, told Reuters.

It appears that in an effort to keep the lid on any potential trouble, the tech giant implemented an online reservation system to control the number of visitors to its stores for Friday’s launch.

It was a wise move considering previous launches. In January there were unruly scenes outside an Apple store in Beijing when the iPhone 4S went on sale, with arguments, fights and egg throwing reported. And in May last year, on the first day of iPad 2 sales, a scalper caused a riot outside the same Beijing store which ended with the shattering of the shop’s doors.

Despite such an orderly and apparently quiet start for the new iPad on Friday, the Cupertino company will be hoping sales of the tablet will quickly gather pace. The country is, after all, Apple’s second biggest market after the US.