Apple store employees are not used to being greeted by flying eggs launched from a rioting crowd.
However, that's what happened earlier today at Apple's flagship store in Beijing's Sanlitun district. A substantial number of people waited through the night in freezing temperatures, hoping to get their hands on an iPhone 4S in the morning.
But when it was time to open the doors, the store management decided it could not ensure the safety of its customers and staff, and thus announced via a bullhorn that the phone would not be sold after all. For the time being, Apple said, the iPhone 4S will not be available in five retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai.
The crowd reportedly did not take it too well, and demanded the doors to open, yelling "liars!" Police support was required to restore order when eggs hit the windows of the store. Apple, which has mastered the art of hyping its product, was chastised by Chinese market researchers.
"Everybody knows there will be massive numbers of people when Apple has this kind of a launch," said Shaun Rein, from China Market Research Group, in a conversation with Bloomberg. "This shows very poor retail management ability."
It appears that the rollout of the phone went smoothly in most other locations. Customers are still able to order the phone via Apple's online store as well as through the carrier China Unicom.