Huge lines form at Apple Stores in China for iPhone 4S launch

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     The gallery above via Flickr user Liz Phung shows more shots from the launch in Beijing. There are also two images of  employees receiving their first shipments at China Unicom in Wuxi, east China’s Jiangsu Province (via xinhuanet). 

It is just over 8 hours before the iPhone 4S officially lands in China and huge lines already starting to form outside of Apple Stores in Beijing and Shanghai. The image below is from Instagram user Sanverde who noted he snapped the shot outside an Apple Store in Sanlitun Village, Beijing less than an hour ago. As you can see from the daytime image in the slideshow above (posted by Twitter user Alexander Galimberti on Jan. 10), Beijing line sitters started showing up for tonight’s launch days in advance. To the right is an image from Instagram user sainasilverman who says 400,000 units of the iPhone 4S have now arrived in Beijing.

China Unicom, the only carrier currently offering the iPhone 4S, does not currently accept pre-orders, but it will be offering the 16GB and 32GB models free on two- and three-year agreements. China Telecom, the nation’s third largest mobile carrier, is also expected to offer the iPhone in the future. The device recently received necessary approval from the China Radio Management agency for use on its CDMA network.

Check out the most recent shot of the lines outside the Sanlitun Village, Beijing Apple Store after the break and some more shots of gray market line sitters wearing red hats. According to MIC Gadget, those wearing a red cap have been paid 100 yuan ($16) to line up for the 12+ hour wait. We will be updating with more shots, so email your photographs of the lines to us at tips@9to5mac.com Read more

Apple Store Grand Central Terminal expected to be approved “as early as next week”

The New York Times reports that Apple is close to approval on the Grand Central Station Apple Store that has been rumored over the past year:

When Apple proposed opening a store on the balcony overlooking the main hall, it submitted its bid in linen-lined boxes, as if it were a wedding present to transit officials, a source familiar with the application process said. The board is expected to approve the deal as early as next week, at its monthly board meeting.

Class.

(view from proposed store below – thanks Ken!) Read more

China not only fakes iPhones… but Apple Stores, too!

China might be known as the home of the fake iPhone, but what about whole stores? Surprising almost no one, China is indeed home to the fake Apple Store. These pictures from BirdAbroad (via IFOAppleStore), show a fake Apple Store complete with everything that a real Apple Store offers. Right down to the blue shirts with Apple logos and name labels for the employees. Starting from the top, this ‘Apple Store’ features a shiny exterior with a big glowing, white Apple front and center.

When you walk into the store, you will be stepping on wood or grey stone floors, depending on the section of the store, and will be surrounded by a showroom filled with iPads, Macs, and more… all on wooden tables. These tables are even equipped with the Apple (patented!) product holders. In fact, these tables are nearly identical, if not identical, to the tables used in Apple’s official stores. These stores went as far as to completely rip off Apple’s official press images – as you can see with the iPad 2 and iPod shuffle banners. Also notice the extremely outdated pink iPod posters.

Making this sound even more unbelievable are the twisted stair cases, accessory and software walls (which are nearly identical to the official ones), an area for children with cushy and fun chairs, and of course what appears to be a mini Genius Bar or a section of the store to take product lessons from employees. The most amazing part is what these employees think of their jobs:

Being the curious types that we are, we struck up some conversation with these salespeople who, hand to God, all genuinely think they work for Apple.

The “bosses” of this fake Apple Store, in Kunming, knowing that they are up to no good, informed their multiple plain clothed security guards to ban all picture taking. The best part is that there are three of these stores all within walking distance of each other. Check out some more pictures after the break that are courtesy of BirdAbroad.

Read more