updated 04:18 pm EDT, Fri September 13, 2013
System helps control crowds, stock
Chinese Apple Stores will start taking reservations for the iPhone 5s and 5c on September 17, Apple has announced. The arrangement applies to both Hong Kong and mainland Chinese outlets, and shoppers can sign up for reservations at the appropriate regional websites. Pickups begin on September 20; carrier selection and payment must be done in person.
The reservation system is meant to keep crowds and supplies under control. Some past Chinese iPhone launches have turned violent, mainly due to confrontations with scalpers. The local gray market for iPhones is substantial, and scalpers will often buy up as many units as possible, preventing regular shoppers from getting their hands on stock. This year also marks the first time China will be included in the first wave of iPhone launches, which may introduce unforeseen elements.