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Apple's iPhone 6 & 6 Plus met with orderly launch day lines in China

Apple Store in Beijing's Sanlitun neighborhood

Nearly one month after Apple first debuted the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in nine countries, the next-generation handsets finally went on sale to an eager Chinese customer base on Friday.

Looking at past iOS device launches in the country, this year's Chinese iPhone debut was comparatively mellow, with moderately short lines seen at flagship Apple Stores, reports The Wall Street Journal.

According to the publication, around 100 people lined up Friday morning before the Sanlitun Apple Store in Beijing opened at 8 a.m., with the first customers in being those who had pre-ordered the new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus through Apple's online storefront. The queue was in fact composed entirely of pre-order customers, the report says, with only a few others waiting to get in to make on-the-spot buys.

The orderly rollout was likely thanks to Apple's pre-order system, which assigns customers a designated pickup time on launch day, thereby preventing massive crowds and scalping. Also a factor were a midnight iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launches at third-party resellers, which included outlets serving China's major wireless carriers.

China's calm iPhone 6 debut is in stark contrast to previous launches like the iPhone 4S, when unruly masses awaiting the handset's debut prompted a premature stoppage of sales in 2012. The Sanlitun Apple Store was also the scene of a fight that broke out over Apple's iPad 2 debut in 2011, which resulted in a broken glass door.

Including China, Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be available in 32 countries by the end of this week, with a total of 115 nations to be included by year's end.

During Apple's iPad event on Thursday, CEO Tim Cook said Chinese preorders set a new record, adding to what he called the "biggest iPhone launch ever." In September, the company announced record first-weekend iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales reached a combined 10 million units.