Beijing: Apple's highly anticipated iPhone 5 debuted to a lukewarm response in China today unlike the enthusiasm witnessed during the launch of its previous model.
The product's official launch in its second-largest market came three months after its initial launch in nine other countries and regions.
No long queues of customers were seen outside Apple's seven retail stores in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, unlike the release of the iPhone 4S early this year.
The cheerless scenes were partly a result of certain reservations imposed on iPhone 5, a move Apple applied to avoid the chaos seen with earlier iPhone launches, official media here reported.
When the iPhone 4S hit China on January 13, big crowds of customers and scalpers queued for hours, even overnight, for the official release at Apple's retails stores in Shanghai and Beijing. A store in Sanlitun in downtown Beijing did not even open that day after scuffles broke out among crowds.
Hours after its release, Apple Inc halted iPhone 4S sales at its retail stores due to "supply problems and chaotic crowds."
More customers, however, swarmed to China Unicom and China Telecom stores this time to buy subsidised iPhone 5 models with contract plans for fast 3G networks.
Although the iPhone 5 could still become a popular product, Chinese consumers' excitement for the latest model has cooled as it offers few exciting upgrades from the earlier model.