Although Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and its carrier partners began taking pre-orders for the iPhone 5C soon after midnight PT on Friday, U.S. customers who wanted to reserve an iPhone 5S were out of luck. However, it appears that Apple’s Chinese customers will get the iPhone 5S pre-order option that was denied to customers in the U.S. and other markets.
As first reported by MacTrast, Apple’s Hong Kong Apple Retail website is offering iPhone 5S reservations beginning on September 17. Although Apple’s Hong Kong website also notes that, “Supplies may be limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis,” the reservation option still gives Apple’s Chinese customers a better chance of picking up an iPhone 5S on September 20 than customers in other markets.
Customers in Canada, Europe, the U.S., and the U.K. will have to fight the crowds to get their hands on an iPhone 5S when the device officially launches on September 20. So why is Apple offering an iPhone 5S pre-order option for China and not for the rest of the world? While it is possible that this policy may simply be an indication of the increasing importance of this emerging market, it may also be related to the “gray market” that typically springs up around every iPhone launch in China.
Previous iPhone launches in China have been plagued by iPhone scalpers that purchase devices only to resell them for a profit. The iPhone 5S reservation option may be Apple’s attempt to assure customers in China that they will be able to acquire a device on launch day without turning to the resale market.
On the other hand, Apple may not be offering an iPhone 5S pre-order option for U.S. customers due to a limited inventory. Jefferies analyst Peter Misek recently predicted that the iPhone 5S would be in short supply thanks to “terrible” yields on the new fingerprint scanner, reports StreetInsider.
Apple’s iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S will hit store shelves on September 20 in both China and the U.S. Here’s how Apple closed out the trading week.
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