Apple is in for another huge iPhone 4S launch, if early lineups are any indication. Penn Olson reports that lines outside Apple’s five official retail stores in China have already extended into the hundreds ahead of Friday’s launch.
Photos from Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo clearly show huge crowds at the two Beijing and three Shanghai locations, despite temperatures between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The lineups are likely for people who want to try to get an iPhone off-contract and unlocked, starting at 4988 yuan, or around $790. Shoppers can also buy directly from China Unicom, which even has some pricing plans that allow users to pick up the hardware free, but monthly contract requirements for those subsidies are quite steep. Plus, buying unlocked makes it easier for scalpers to resell devices through unofficial channels.
When it launched in the U.S., the iPhone 4S was also greeted with long lines, and in Hong Kong, attendance at Apple’s retail flagship store numbered in the thousands. The Chinese launch of the 4S should be the biggest since it debuted in October, since China is now Apple’s second-most-important market, and according to at least one estimate, it’s conceivable that Apple sold more iPhones in China during its fiscal fourth quarter of 2011 than it did in the U.S.
The staggered launch means that sales resulting from the Chinese launch of the iPhone 4S will appear as part of Apple’s second fiscal quarter results and not those that will be reported on Jan. 24. That could help Apple post higher iPhone shipments next quarter even without the holiday bump, especially if its regulatory progress with getting a China Telecom-compatible version of the 4S to market bears fruit within the next couple of months.
Related research and analysis from GigaOM Pro:
Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.
- Will cloud computing push the BRIC market to the front?
- A clouded view of Google Music
- Connected world: the consumer technology revolution
Nasdaq quotes delayed at least 15 minutes, all others at least 20 minutes.
Markets are closed on certain holidays. Stock Market Holiday List
By accessing this page, you agree to the following
Press Release Service provided by PRConnect.
Stock quotes supplied by Telekurs USA
Postage Rates Bots go here