Monday, September 16, 2013, 08:13 pm PT (11:13 pm ET)
Reservations for unlocked iPhone 5s quickly depleted in China, other models remain available [u]Chinese customers looking to score a launch day reservation for an unlocked iPhone 5s may soon be out of luck, one report says, as the company has already run out of inventory at all three Beijing Apple Stores.
Apple's Chinese iPhone reservation system. | Source: Sina Tech
Update: It appears that only the unlocked 16GB Space Gray iPhone 5s remains up for reservation in Beijing and Hong Kong.
According to Chinese language publication Sina Tech, the gold iPhone 5s appears to be one the most popular models in the country's capital city, with first day stock running out at the Sanlitun, Xidan Joy City, and Wangfujing Apple Stores just two hours after reservations went live on Tuesday, local Beijing time. The report goes on to say that other colors and capacities of the iPhone 5s were still available at the time of writing, but did not elaborate further.
It should be noted that only Beijing Apple Stores were included in the report, though the news sheds some light on Chinese demand for the handset. Both the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c went up for reservations on Tuesday, with in-store pick-ups to commence on Sept. 20.
Apple is conducting Chinese iPhone sales a bit differently this year, and is requiring customers to text a special phone number to receive a booking code that can then be entered into the online reservation system. After that step is completed, customers choose a specific device configuration, provide a form of accepted government issued identification, and can then complete the purchase in-store at a designated time.
Apple's pick-up reservation system was first instituted with the iPhone 4S to control crowds and dissuade gray market sales of newly launched products.
While Apple has not provided iPhone 5c preorder numbers, much to the chagrin of investors, market watchers expect new deals with Japan's NTT DoCoMo and an anticipated agreement with China Mobile to drive an additional 35 million unit sales in 2014.
China Mobile, the world's largest cellular provider with over 740 million subscribers, has yet to announce a partnership with Apple, though the Chinese government granted the new iPhones a license to operate on the telecom's unique TD-LTE network last week, suggesting a deal has been inked.
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