Apple has released its latest iPad tablet in China after resolving a legal proceeding over the name ‘iPad’ and demanding customers to advance orders for crowd control. However, the Cupertino-based tech giant did not need one after all.
Under the surveillance of a few security guards, a couple dozen iPad buyers queued up at the front of Apple stores in Beijing and Shanghai after they opened at 8 AM Friday. The small number of customers who lined up was far from January’s chaotic setting outside Apple’s main store in Beijing, where several iPhone customers yelled and hurled eggs to the managers after delaying the opening because of safety concerns.
Sun Xufei, 32, a computer technician who was first in line in Apple’s Shanghai store, said he postponed purchasing an iPad so Apple can develop “a perfect one”.
However, Sun was one of only 30 customers who fell in line when the store opened. Reporters on scene outnumbered them.
“I am very surprised to see there is nobody here waiting,” an astounded Sun said.
Apple recently ended a possible legal obstruction to the iPad release when it paid $60 million this month to settle a lawsuit with Chinese company Shenzhen Proview Technology Ltd., over ownership of the iPad name. Apple claimed it already purchased global rights to the name from Proview three years ago. Chinese enforcement agencies said the rights never carried forward.
Apple cannot risk losing China, the company’s second-largest market after the U.S. and main source of its sales growth.