China: iPhone 4S launch cancellation causes crowd trouble

Apple’s whiter-than-white aesthetics and global public image are smeared with angry yoke this morning after a swarming crowd of several hundred expectant iPhone buyers turned nasty in China’s capital city of Beijing.

Moreover, after patiently queuing outside Apple’s flagship store ahead of the much-anticipated arrival of the iPhone 4S, shoppers began pelting the outlet with eggs when the launch was cancelled due to concerns regarding weight of numbers.

With much of the crowd having waited throughout the night in the height of winter, it is perhaps not surprising that announcing a postponement for walk-in sales was met with such open emotion.

Tensions rose high enough that police officers were drafted in to disperse the crowd and cordon off the store with official barriers. Staff within the Apple Store also placed ‘Out of Stock’ signs in the windows in an attempt to deflect anger surrounding the cancellation.

It is believed that as many as 2,000 people were queuing outside the store prior to the retail launch being pulled, and only a small amount of that number were involved in the ensuing fracas.

An Apple spokesperson later said the event was postponed in order to “ensure the safety of our customers and employees” and that the iPhone 4S remains on sale online and through the local carrier.

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