The Long Wait Is Over

Huihui shows her approval of Daddy's new purchase

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.

"I have no idea what it's for but I'm delighted I got one!"

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.

Shocking scenes at the Apple store in Beijing

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 getting up till someone gives me an iPad

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!

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32 Responses to The Long Wait Is Over

  1. KingBadger says:

    Stampede, fothermuckers!
    Bleed, hitsheads!

    Apple psychos are such fun to observe in the wild. Just don’t get too close–they will attack.

  2. Rich says:

    Cool, you finally got one. If you haven’t already done so then don’t rush out and get the smart cover. It’s not so smart. Get a tecknet folio case from amazon for around £8. it’s all the cover you’ll need and an absolute steal.

    So when cam we expect the post giving us readers the low down on the essential ipad 2 apps.

  3. T. says:

    Ha! I did almost the same thing. Bought mine at Media Mrkt on Saturday with no line at all. They did say I got the last 64g, but I bought mine at 9pm, so if you had really wanted one they’re not that difficult. Am told online the wait period is one week.

  4. anthony says:

    Hui Hui is thanking her daddy – lol

  5. Kim C says:

    Now you just need to get Fruit Ninja and you will be all set. Congratulations! You are going to love it.

  6. WoAi says:

    @KingBadger – And the ones in China are a special breed of Apple psychos, trust me!

    @Rich – Doh! I of course already got the cover for the extortionate price of 50 squid. The iPhone apps look silly as they take up only a fraction of the screen. I did download the Sunday Times app and bought yesterday’s edition for 1.79 pounds, but it’s going to take me a week to read the whole thing!

    @T – It never occurred to me to try Media Markt (there’s an “a” in “Markt”). Is this a replacement or are you an iPad virgin like myself?

    @Anthony – Yes, she’s very pleased with the new purchase. She loves watching me play on it.

    @Kim C – Yes, indeed. 10 hours of Fruit Ninja on a plane with the sound turned to full volume!

  7. T. says:

    @WoAi – the smartcover was 279 at Media Markt.

  8. Joyce Lau says:

    Congrats, WoAi. But I don’t think it’s that controversy follows Apple. It’s that controversy follows mainland crowds. Iodized salt, iPads, it’s all the same…

    Why the 10=hour flight? To escape the Great Firewall? No need. Just come visit us in HK again. And feel free to drop me a line if you’re in town again.

  9. T. says:

    Oh! and its my first iPad. I actually wasn’t going to buy one – but then my buddy came over to watch a basketball game with me – and during commercials, he’d fire up his iPad to read the economist or flipboard (which is my “MUST HAVE” app) and I got insanely jealous and had to get one. Funny thing is – I have a 8 hour flight this Thursday, but won’t be bringing the iPad. Don’t think it is a good idea to bring backpacking.

  10. Bittermelon says:

    Your photo is blurry. did you get a chinese ipad?

  11. Bittermelon says:

    News from Yahoo. The “foreign” employee is probably a white guy. “Queue jumping and reselling of Apple products will not be tolerated.” That’s just too funny.

    BEIJING (AFP) – Four people were taken to hospital and a glass door smashed as a near-riot broke out at Beijing’s top Apple store among crowds rushing to snap up the popular iPad 2 tablet computer, according to state press.

    Angry consumers began rushing the store on Saturday afternoon after a “foreign” Apple employee allegedly stepped into the crowd to push and beat people suspected of queue jumping, the Beijing News said.

    After the employee retreated back into the store, a crowd of consumers smashed the glass front door and shoved security guards as they surged forward in anger over the alleged beatings, the report said.

    Late Saturday, the store posted a notice saying that queue jumping and the unauthorised sales of Apple products would not be tolerated, the paper said.

  12. WoAi says:

    @Joyce – It’s because 10 hours is the amazing battery life of the iPad. Not many laptops will still be going after 3 hours. As for controversy, I was thinking more of the spate of suicides at Foxconn in Shenzhen by factory workers making iPhones.

    @T – Glad you’re a convert. I have The Economist on my iPhone already but I’m sure it’s even better on the bigger screen. Who says size doesn’t matter!

    @Bittermelon – It’s not blurry that’s selective focusing. The iPad box is razor sharp. RAZOR SHARP! And yes, I heard it was a foreign Apple employee who was beating people in the crowd. Sounds bizarre!

  13. T. says:

    It’s much better on the iPad. Also, seriously, get Flipboard. You can use it to read Facebook and Twitter without VPN.

  14. CP says:

    I love the caption on your second photo – sums it up!

    Interestingly there was a queue of hundreds of techno-geeks (OK, scalpers) outside the Beijing Apple Store, and not one of them managed to use their smartphone’s video function to record the “foreign employee” beating up the queue-jumper. If there’s no photo, it didn’t happen.

    Alternatively, he was lightly brushed by an employee, causing his trendy stonewash jeans to become slightly ruffled, and he fell to the ground awaiting his RMB200 compensation money.

  15. Stimpy says:

    I’m curious- what are the main difference between the first version and this one?

  16. wisemanofasia says:

    Can you turn the Wifi on? So retarded that its disabled! Did you not think to wait until you’re in HK to buy one? I am curious…

  17. Rich says:

    As T said, flipboard is a good one. Dropbox, evernote, and Cinexplayer are worth a look too..

  18. WoAi says:

    @T – I’m on it! Thanks again for the heads up.

    @CP – It is odd isn’t it. NOTHING happens in China these days without it being caught on phone camera. And that guy on the ground is the skinniest guy I have ever seen. Has he been foregoing food to afford the new gadget?

    @Wiseman – I think you’ve misunderstood. iPads come in 3 sizes and two versions : 16gb, 32gb and 64gb and WIFI + 3G and WIFI without 3G. They are selling the WIFI without 3G in China, so WIFI is not disabled.

    @Rich – Thanks, I’ll check it out!

  19. WoAi says:

    @Stimpy – I think this has been covered. The main difference is the new one has front and back facing camera which means you can use it for FaceTime. It’s also much faster due to the processor and it’s lighter that the original. And the new one is also slightly cheaper.

  20. Byron says:

    Had mine delivered to my office on Friday … which was nice.

    Although she did say, “Do you want white or black? …. I’ve only got white”. So I got the white one.

    Agreed on Flipboard being brilliant. As you like your photography the ‘Popular Photography’ magazine app is a good example of how a magazine app should be done!

  21. Bittermelon says:

    “Do you want white or black? …. I’ve only got white”

    Haha that’s funny.

  22. KingBadger says:

    @WoAo “I was thinking more of the spate of suicides at Foxconn in Shenzhen by factory workers making iPhones.

    The media created this ‘controversy’ by not realising that hundreds of thousands of people work at Foxconn in Shenzhen. You can take hundreds of thousand people at random from anywhere in the world and dozens of them may well have killed themselves within a year (20 per 100,000 per year is a common rate). The media are so obsessed with Apple that they couldn’t understand their own statistical fallacy. The suicide rate at Foxconn is in fact much lower than China’s average (i.e., you would expect more suicides each year at Foxconn than actually occur). If the workers had been making cheap clothes at factories spread out across different companies, the media wouldn’t care.

    Suicide is an individual act carried out by individuals for their own reasons, but the media use the suicides as a way of shoving Apple stories in the public’s face for the sake of it. There was a fake story about Steve Jobs supposedly saying he’d “never visit Japan again” just because he wasn’t allowed to take some spiky objects through airport security on his way back to USA. I don’t blame Apple or SJ for any of this – the media hype is to blame.

    Wired understands it better than other media:

    Out of a million people, 17 suicides isn’t much–indeed, American college students kill themselves at four times that rate

    http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/02/ff_joelinchina/

    I suppose the dramatic way some of the suicides occured (by jumping) was also what caught the media’s attention. They love drama, while not being so interested in logic and reason.

    This comment is rather serious and I prefer humour stuff, so this is just a one-off.

  23. WoAi says:

    @Byron – Thanks for the app tip I will check it out. But what’s already becoming clear is that consuming media on the iPad is a whole new experience and I am quite impressed.

    @KingBadger – Well done, you”re of course completely right. But we’re not disagreeing. Controversy does follow Apple around, but it’s being manufactured by the media. It’s what they do. They spin things to make them sound shocking or to generate a reaction. I don’t know too much about Foxconn but from what I hear the conditions there, whilst not exactly a holiday camp, are far better than some other lesser known manufacturers.

  24. Brandon says:

    haha my anti-spam word is “apple”

    Yeeeeeeeah buddy! Coincidence…?

  25. Stimpy says:

    Seems like not many new features/changes to justify buying a second one in two years.

    But as it is Apple, so people will just buy anything they release.

    And it may be cheaper. But you also bought the one before that. They are clever, Apple.

  26. WoAi says:

    @Stimpy – Hmmm … I don’t think it’s just about getting people to buy another one, it’s also convincing people who weren’t convinced before that it’s now worth buying. All companies do this. Car models change all the time and the clothing industry is probably even more extreme example.

    Both T and myself are new iPad users, we haven’t bought 2 in 2 years. I don’t know anyone (so far) who has bought both (but of course they exist in the same way I know people who buy more cameras than they take pictures!

  27. T. says:

    I have, however, bought 5 iPhones in 3 years.

    And I now own 3 Cameras and use my iPhone to take the most photos.

  28. WoAi says:

    @T – I’d have bought 5 iPhones by now if they had any in the shops but sadly I am still on my first. As for cameras, there are people who spend so much time researching their next must have camera they never actually use them to take actual pictures. I’m not one of them though and I’m happy with my Canon 5D (mark 1) which was launched in August 2005. And almost all Caturday pictures are taken with it.

  29. T. says:

    I now own a Nikon d80 (purchased sometime in 2007), a Ricoh GR-Digital (2008) and brand new Olympus EP-2 (2011)

  30. wisemanofasia says:

    Thanks for the clarification! Have fun avoiding work with the new toy!

  31. CP says:

    The outcome was fairly astonishing: the police didn’t press charges against the employee but charged him 20,000 RMB to cover the scalper’s medical costs. For a few bruises!

    More discussion here:

    http://www.thebeijinger.com/blog/2011/05/10/Sanlitun-Apple-Store-Violence-Resolved

  32. WoAi says:

    @T – Yes, but at least you do actually take pictures!

    @Wiseman – Thanks. I don’t bring it to work it’s for home and when I travel. I’m actually looking forward to my trips to GZ and BJ next week now.

    @CP – Bloody amateur. What he should have done was paid a bribe of 500 RMB to the police to make sure that scumbag didn’t get a penny.

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