updated 01:05 am EST, Fri January 13, 2012
Apple hopes to guard buyers with temporary freeze
Apple took the unprecedented step of freezing some iPhone 4S sales in China following its high-profile launch. Following reports of possible fighting overnight during the lineup, Apple said it was temporarily holding off at its official Beijing and Shanghai stores. The company wanted to protect the safety both of its customers and its workers, Apple said.
At one point, would-be fans reportedly egged Apple's stores and shouted profane language at a Beijing store out of frustration after realizing that the store was already out of stock.
In the meantime, Apple has said that the actual sales htemselves were smooth, and that Apple had "sold out" of the initial batch at these stores. Its online store is currently backlogged by two weeks.
Violence has occasionally marred Apple launches in the past, including the iPad 2 and white iPhone 4. These have usually been owed to gray market resellers trying and sometimes failing to snap up supply and resell it at a markup. As official distribution gets wider, though, they have been less of a factor.