Hundreds of angry Chinese shoppers pelted Apple's Beijing store with eggs on Thursday night after being told the iPhone 4S would not go on sale despite hundreds having waited for hours to get their hands on the device.
Widespread reports claim that fights broke out between security staff and shoppers after they were told the bad news at 7am local time, despite having queued for hours in freezing conditions.
"We're suffering from cold and hunger. They said they're not going to sell to us. Why? Why?" Reuters reported one man as shouting.
Apple said in a statement that due to the strong demand for the iPhone 4S in China its stores had already sold out so it was unable to offer the device to customers, but that resellers were still stocking the product.
"Unfortunately, we were unable to open our store at Sanlitun due to the large crowd and to ensure the safety of our customers and employees. iPhone will not be available in our retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai for the time being," it said.
"Customers can still order iPhone through the Apple Online Store, or buy at China Unicom and other authorised resellers."
Apple had promised that the phone would be available on 13 January with new chief executive Tim Cook claiming, "customer response to our products in China has been off the charts".
As such, it seems odd that Apple didn't ensure there was enough inventory before the sale and will be a source of some embarrassment for the firm at a time when it is coming under increasing pressure from Android and Windows Phone devices.
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