Apple sees calmer, less chaotic launch in China with iPhone 5

The iPhone 5(s AAPL) reached nearly three dozen new countries on Friday, the most notable of those launches coming in China, where its arrival has been highly anticipated. But news video coverage of the launch at one of the country’s main Apple Store locations — Beijing — showed the newest iPhone’s debut Friday morning was not greeted with the long lines, fanfare and chaos that accompanied the launch of the iPhone 4S in January.

Before we assume that short lines on Day 1 mean that the iPhone has peaked in China, or that this bodes terribly for the iPhone 5’s success in this important market for Apple, let’s remember four things:

  • Apple learned its lesson from the near-riot at the iPhone 4S launch: they implemented a system where buyers have to sign up and be approved one day in advance. It was practically designed to eliminate lines.
  • It was really hard to get on the approved buyer list for the first day, which indicates there’s pretty good demand for the phone, according to the Wall Street Journal.
  • Remember those pre-order numbers? They’re a sign of fairly high interest, and means plenty of people got one without standing in line.
  • Local carriers offering the new iPhone did have lines, and did not have a reservations system like Apple, as Engadget reported.

Whether it’s the reported lack of lines in China Apple Stores or something else, Apple shareholders continue to be a bit skittish. As of this posting they had sent Apple shares plummeting nearly 4 percent Friday morning to $508.93.