Apple held its annual press event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco last Wednesday and launched its latest electronic devices, including a much larger iPad Pro, Apple TV and, as usual, the new iPhone 6s. In China, Apple’s largest market outside the United States, netizens are buzzing about the much-anticipated event with great fervor.
On Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like Chinese social networking service with more than 200 million monthly active users, the hashtag #iPhone6s# is trending with more than 120 million page views and 59,000 discussions. That doesn’t include spin-off hashtags like #AppleEvent# and #NewiPhone#.
Chinese execs in the IT industry, including those of iPhone’s competitors, can’t wait to offer their take on the rollout. Most of them are not impressed and lace their comments with thinly-veiled sarcasm and outright criticism. Much of the snark is targeted at a newly-released rose gold color, which Tim Cook said is to cater to Chinese customers, according to Tencent Tech.
The previous introduction of gold-colored iPhone proved so popular among Chinese that it inspired the birth of a new term, “tuhao gold” (literally “nouveau-riche gold”). To Lei Jun, founder and CEO of China’s leading smartphone maker Xiaomi, a picture is worth a thousand words. He posted on Weibo an image of a pink Xiaomi phone priced at RMB 2,099 (roughly USD 330) under a curt “Good night!”, a snub at the fanfare of the rose gold color. The post has 3,296 likes and 2,068 comments.
Screenshot of Lei Jun’s Weibo post.
Similarly, Zhao Ming, head of Huawei’s Honor brand, uploaded a side-side image of a Huawei smartphone with next to a new iPhone, both in rose finish. He added, “The color, and the force touch. Great minds think alike?”
Screenshot of Zhao Ming’s Weibo post
Zhou Hongyi, chairman of Qihoo, commented on the upgrade of iPhone’s 8-megapixels camera to 12MP, “Everyone at Qihoo, let’s work harder. Fine-tune our two 13MP large-aperture cameras in both color and black-and-white and get ready for our competition with Apple’s new phone. See if ours can outperform it. We respect Apple, but we aren’t afraid.” Qihoo, a well-established Chinese developer of web security software, entered the smartphone race in May.
Li Nan, VP of Chinese smartphone maker Meizu, wrote, “If Jobs in Heaven knew this, he would have hired back Scott Forstall, who stood firmly by Siri but was ousted by Tim Cook, a hundred times.” Scott Forstall is widely credited with the success of earlier models of iPhone and iPad.
Among the most vocal critics of Apple’s product launch is Jia Yueting, founder and CEO of LeTV, which streams video on its website and also manufactures top-set boxes. Jia blasted, “Apple hasn’t had any revolutionary innovation after Jobs… This Apple TV is yet again one generation behind ours.” He went on with his attack, “Deja Vu: isn’t their remote control the same as ours released two years ago?”
Ordinary Chinese Weibo users also have had a lot of fun teasing the rollout with Internet memes and funny sarcasm. @谷大白话: To sum up this Apple event in one sentence: “The only thing that’s changed is the color.”
Other witty remarks:
@木子江乘：Cook finally realizes there are a whole bunch of family-fortune-squandering women in China!
@Jerry_Chocolate：The rose-gold color is a must-buy! Otherwise how can others tell yours is an iPhone 6s when you are bragging?
@大小姐oOQ：If my blemishes will be shown on my selfie, why the heck do I even need you?
@所长别开枪是我：Soon there will be news reports about someone being rushed to hospital because he can’t hold onto iPad Pro and it lands on his face.
Despite their relentless effort, 22.8% of nearly 80,000 Chinese users said they will buy the new iPhone, a Sina Tech survey shows. On the other hand, they are much less impressed with the iPad Pro, with a mere 8.5% saying yes to the product. (See below.)