Apple has implemented an interested system to fight those pesky scalpers who spoiled a recent iPhone 4S launch in Mainland China. A newly set up page on the Hong Kong Apple online store has a lottery system of sorts for iPhone reservations that appears to target scalpers employing bots from snatching up all the iPhones everyday. Rather than reserve their iPhone on a first-come-first-serve basis, customers are now required to provide full details, including a government-issued photo ID matching the name and ID number.
In addition, this lottery seems to be valid during a three-hour window each day. Those who “won” a reservation spot will be informed by email before 9 p.m. Interestingly, Apple specifically said it will not be selling iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S to walk-in customers. Previously, the reservation system would open at a random time and it would often fail as bots kept pinging the server all day, meaning reservations would be gone in less than a minute.
Perhaps Apple is keen on implementing this system in Mainland China and possibly elsewhere? Apple’s full message is included after the break…
As you know, scalpers are pretty organized, hiring migrant workers to stand in the line and buy the iPhone. When Apple closed the Sanlitun store due to large crowds, the workers—identifiable by matching armbands or hats— became angry, because they were not going to be paid.
Due to high demand, we are accepting a limited number of iPhone reservations per day. To request an iPhone reservation, please choose your store and the iPhone you want. If we have an iPhone reservation for you, you’ll receive a confirmation email by 9:00 p.m. tonight that includes the time when you can pick up your iPhone tomorrow. A government-issued photo ID matching the name and ID number on your reservation is required for iPhone purchases. If you don’t receive an email, we were unable to reserve an iPhone for you, and you can try again another time. Only those who receive an email confirming their reservation will be able to purchase an iPhone; we will not be selling iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S to walk-in customers.