FORTUNE -- Some time before midnight in New York (1 p.m. Beijing), China Mobile's (CHL) Beijing reservation website switched to attached image, strongly suggesting that the world's largest mobile carrier -- with more than 750 million subscribers -- was getting ready to offer Apple's (AAPL) iPhone 5S for sale.
"Something worth waiting for," reads the banner, according to the Wall Street Journal's translation.
When an AppleInsider reader named Jeffery snapped the first screenshot, the visitor counter displayed the number 3,004. By 6 a.m. Eastern (7 p.m. in Beijing) -- six hours later -- the counter hit 17,525 and was increasing at the rate of one every two seconds. Whether those numbers represent reservations or just page views is not clear.
Proof that the long-awaited Apple-China Mobile deal has been consummated? Not quite. But evidence, perhaps, of pent-up demand.
Surpassed the 600,000 record set in 2010 with the iPhone 4
Apple (AAPL) on Monday issued the following press release:
CUPERTINO, California—October 10, 2011—Apple® today announced pre-orders of its iPhone® 4S have topped one million in a single day, surpassing the previous single day pre-order record of 600,000 held by iPhone 4. iPhone 4S is the most amazing iPhone yet, packed with incredible new features including Apple's dual-core A5 chip for blazing MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Oct 10, 2011 9:47 AM ET
Units pre-ordered early last Friday are due to arrive by end-of-day this Friday
The e-mail from Apple (AAPL) notifying me that my pre-ordered iPhone 4S had left Shenzhen, China, early Monday and was set be delivered in four days popped into my mailbox at 2:07 a.m. EST -- two days and 21 hours after AT&T's (T) servers finally let my order go through.
9to5Mac meanwhile has posted a notice from Sprint (S) that MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Oct 10, 2011 6:20 AM ET
Widespread reports of long waits, starting shortly after midnight Pacific time
"2 hours of putting in my information and hitting refresh and I STILL don't have an iPhone 4S. AT&T, you failed again. Goodnight."
Eric ("gameric") Gamero, who posted that message on Twitter at about 3:15 a.m. PST Friday, was hardly alone. In the early hours after Apple (AAPL) began taking pre-orders for its latest iPhone, due out next Friday, hundreds of similar MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Oct 7, 2011 6:52 AM ET
Let the unboxing videos begin!
Two days after Verizon (VZ) began taking pre-orders for the Apple (AAPL) iPhone, at least one unit had made its way to a customer.
This one was picked up Saturday morning at a UPS holding center in Evansville, Ind., an event now immortalized on YouTube.
Below: The funkiest unboxing video we've ever seen. Who says people aren't excited about the iPhone coming to Verizon?
Via 9to5Mac.Philip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 6, 2011 8:16 AM ET
Early adopters are punished as computer problems mar the launch of Apple's newest phone
"After trying about 50 times, I got all the way to the end," wrote A Charming Man in Gizmodo's comment stream at 5:01 a.m. "All I did was click the button for 'Send it to my god damned house' and it crashed. Again. Ughhh."
Uncle Jo Jo spent 44 minutes on Apple's (AAPL) site trying to MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 15, 2010 5:42 AM ET
|GM's recalled Cobalt was a failure from the start|
|Michaels hack hit 3 million|
|Walmart offers cheaper money wire service|
|Why you should pay off your car loan ASAP|
|Americans have fallen in love with real estate once again|