Apple is looking to avoid another egg-throwing debacle when it launches the third-generation iPad in China this Friday. Instead of selling iPads to customers waiting in line on a first-come, first-served basis, the company plans to exclusively use its retail store reservation system to control the crowds. Those who are unable to make a reservation appointment for launch day won't be able to buy an iPad—they'll have to make an appointment for another day.
When Apple launched the iPhone 4S in China in January, we openly speculated that it would end up being a feeding frenzy. That prophecy came true when launch day rolled around, as huge crowds gathered outside of Apple's five mainland China retail stores. But when the stores didn't open right on time, some crowds started getting rowdy. One store in Beijing ended up being pelted with raw eggs, and fights began to break out among the crowds. Apple's retail employees feared for their safety. The company even decided to temporarily suspend the launch of the iPhone 4S until it could be done in a more controlled fashion.
That's the most famous Chinese Apple product launch incident in recent history, but as Macworld points out, there was a previous incident at another Beijing Apple Store during the launch of the white iPhone 4 last year. Eager customers found themselves arguing with security workers at the front door, leading to a skirmish and a broken glass door that injured at least one retail employee.