Apple began taking reservations for its iPhone 4S in Hong Kong and 14 additional countries this past Friday, but pre-orders sold out in ten minutes (even though Siri does not speak yet Mandarin or Cantonese), according to a research note by Ticonderoga analyst Brian White. Faced with shortages, users then turned to South Korea, Chosun reported, where they pre-ordered about 200,000 handsets at SK Telekom and KT, the country’s two largest carriers.
Due to low taxes, Hong Kong and Shanghai (where Apple operates beautiful stores) are among the best places to buy Apple gear. This is certainly good news as iPhone 4S heads to store shelves in Hong Kong this coming Friday. White says the device will also hit mainland China in December (Siri will support Chinese in 2012, Apple says).
China is important because it earned Apple one in six dollars of revenue last quarter. Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore says high demand for iPhone 4S is evident elsewhere, with daily stock-outs at Apple Stores hitting 85 percent:
Our retail checks reveal Apple is experiencing daily stock outs at ~85-90% of the ~30 retail stores we called. Apple employees are directing customers to make an online appointment (first come first serve) for next day pick up at nearby Apple retail stores as stocks appear to be refreshed daily at most locations.
iPhone 4S launched October 14 in seven countries (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, Japan and Canada) before arriving to 22 more countries a week later. The company sold four million units during the launch weekend, besting the previous record held by iPhone 4 which sold 1.4 million units at last year’s launch. Strong sales blipped in Net Applications’ web usage share stats as the iOS platform widened its mobile web browsing lead by seven percentage points in October. Siri debuted as a beta feature exclusive to iPhone 4S, supporting spoken input in English, French and German. However, Apple promised to add more languages in 2012, including Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Italian, and Spanish, and enhance her artificial intelligence capabilities down the road.