So almost two months after the US launch, the second generation iPad was launched in mainland China last Friday to waiting crowds in both Beijing and Shanghai.
As expected, massive queues formed at all locations the night before the launch, although it’s not clear how many of those lining up were end users rather than scalpers trying to make a quick buck.
Controversy seems to follow Apple around in China and this time was no exception. The Beijing store was closed by police after a scuffle ended with a smashed shop front and a few injured people being sent to hospital. It’s not clear what happened but I am guessing it involves some people trying to cut in line and then refusing to go to the back of the queue after being busted (well that’s how most fights I’ve been involved with in China have started!).
I’m not big on crowds and scuffles (unless it’s at a cheerleader convention), so I waited until Sunday to wander down to the Apple store on Huaihai Road to see if there was anything left. There were just 5 people in the line in front of me and I finally picked up an iPad2 64GB for the China selling price of 5,288 RMB, which is about 700 RMB more expensive than in HK where it sells for 5,488 HK dollars (which is 4,600 RMB). The magnetic cover will set you back another 548 RMB.
Just a few points to note if you’re thinking of getting one. Firstly, in China, only the WIFI versions are being sold, not 3G. And as of yesterday, there were no 16GB models, only 32GB and 64GB and only in black, which luckily for me is the only colour I would buy anyway. Oh, and there’s a good chance the iPad will not charge when you plug it in to your laptop because many computers’ USB ports do not generate enough power. No need to panic or run back to the store – just plus it straight in to the mains and it’ll be fully charged in no time.
Now all I need to do is book a ten hour flight somewhere so I can make full use of it!