Finally, expletive deleted hit the fan.
Tracy and I just got out of the Regent Street Apple Store as Apple was unleashing iOS 8 to all of us. Even those in the store knew: trying to update to the new OS at 18:00 BST would just be that — you’d have to wait ages.
Yes, I agree iOS 8 has some seriously cool features I’d give my right arm for. A smarter keyboard that’s smarter still per application, with app-sensitive auto-fill suggestions. A better design that allows you to literally fire back responses. The promise of Continuity (a major plus for me).
But the result will simply be the massive dumping of machines that can’t run the new system. ▶
The China Central Place Apple Store opened in late January — right when I was off to… I think it was Shandong again? Or was it Tianjin? Jeez, I always seem to miss these grand openings… not that I’ve been a fanboy of one: a rogue club in Beijing (apparently with “contacts in the store”) nixed any chances of the average commoner (or me) getting No. 1 at the Sanlitun store.
Still, the new China Central Place Apple Store was quite impressive — for a one-storey store, although the ceiling seemed to too tall. Whilst I’m not advocating for super-low ceilings, either, I supposed they could have used some of that huge, wide open space to store things — even a few iMacs would do.
The entrance to the store reminded me like the entrance to the Audi dealership by Wangfujing — well-designed. I was, in fact, quite happy to be served by an expat in town — apparently we tick much better in English. ▶
You know, I’m on no account bashing the iPhone 5. It’s got a fair bit of technical improvements, and that’s always good when something neat gets better. But there’s a problem: the consumerism.
I mean, seriously, go into any mall in and around Beijing — it’s now more European than a Swiss mall — like the country’s largest, the Glatt Centre just outside of Zurich. I know it has a few weird-looking bars or cafés, but oh well…
When you take a look at it, Chinese consumers — Chinsumers — are just totally mad on every last new thing. Look at the extents folks will go just get their paws on an iPhone — kidneys on sale, tyres swapped for hard, solid cash — and I’m sure we’ve not even seen the tip of the iceberg yet. This is just outright outrageous crass consumerism that makes the US go green with envy. It’s capitalism on steroids. It’s getting out of control. ▶
It happened again: total hell broke out as the iPhone 4S went on sale. Angered touts who didn’t get their phone pelted eggs at the Apple Store.
The problem: The whole system.
As of late, the world’s largest “migration” of sorts — the Spring Travel Peak Travel Season — is in full swing. Thankfully, photo ID is required to get a ticket. This means that those with legitimate needs can get around with a valid ticket. High speed rail has been doing exceptionally well this year, helping get riders to destinations faster and packing in far more riders than regular rail.
Apple needs a similar “real ID” system for at least select new products such as the iPhone. It needs to set up a blacklist (similar to that at the railways) of touts, and deny iPhones to them. It needs to give iPhones out to end users, not touts. Only a “real ID” system would work here. ▶
As a Mac guy since 1991, I’ve seen a lot of weird and wonderful things happen in the Mac world. Believe it or not, we Mac users had Mac clones as well — back in the mid-1990s until when the Steve gave it the quits in late 1997. And then there was the iMac in 1998…
Hold it there… Forced landing, emergency brake… the 1990s. Believe it or not, Apple wanted to get into the phone business (software phones) back in the 1990s! Turns out that this revolutionary cellphone could be… “the same old same old”, only rehashed? ▶
Beige drives a few people insane. Take, for example, Mac users. Oh sure, back in 1984, we swooned over our Mac 128Ks covered in beige, but Apple soon switched on over to platinum. Apple did change course a little over these years: the 1990s saw a jet-black Macintosh TV and another jet-black Mac Performa at the top of the range. (Pity the Mac newbies, who must know little about this… that’s what we do at our BeiMac group, by the way… Mac-educate people…) And, of course, could we ever forget that immortal 20th Anniversary Mac… Sure, the Steve wasn’t really back in the driver’s seat for this, but it came out — and although not selling well at the start, became a gradual collector’s item.
But I digress. As I said, beige drives a few people insane. And that few people become quite a crowd of people — the crowd at Everyone’s Favorite Fruit Company, who came up with the iMac G3. Suddenly, Macs came out in Bondi Blue. This was something big in the computer world back then — when ordinary PCs came in nothing more than beige. The Steve would continue to shock the world in 1999, when he revealed iMacs in what must seem like one trillion and one colors — I’m not even gonna start with this: key lime, tangerine, blueberry, even Flower Power and Blue Dalmatian. The iBooks came out for the joyride not all too long: the first iBooks came out in tangerine and blueberry, with a graphite and indigo one coming a tad later. Even the pro Macs — the Power Macs — came out in dark aqua and blue and white.
The rest of the world fell for Apple. Semi-transparent, semi-Bondi Blue USB hubs were suddenly everywhere. My headset microphone would have covers in five iMac colors. Internet Explorer (yes, by the unliberated MS folks no less) would start coming in different color variants — PowerBook Black, Bondi Blue, Graphite — you name it. Even Mac OS X came in two basic variants — Graphite and Aqua.
Then, Apple went colorless in 2002. iBooks and iMacs became all-white, and the same went for the short-lived eMac. The PowerBooks and Power Macs became a grey-only affair. And we started thinking about the days gone by — the all-too colorful days. ▶
I arrived in Hong Kong on August 2, 2006 to the tune of torrential downpours — so much I was informed we weren’t too sure if a typhoon warning would delay the planned meeting of the Hong Kong MACitizen user group the next day. Thankfully, the typhoon alert remained where it was — at a lower alert level — thus permitting the meeting to go ahead. I met some of Hong Kong’s more Mac people, including people involved with Macs at the university and people who ran Mac support companies.
I gave a presentation on the situation of the Mac north of Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau — that is, on the mainland. As many are aware, the situation has improved lately, with more visible Apple ads popping up over Beijing and more user groups paying attention and lending support. Apple still does not, however, have an Apple Store anywhere in the Greater China area — be it the mainland or Hong Kong, or even on Taiwan. As a result we feel rather “under-represented” by Steve.
The talk was well-received — and I gave away copies of a Mac book I recently proofread. I had wanted to give this talk in English, but incredibly enough, the locals mastered Mandarin Chinese quite well! ▶
Sometimes, a conversation that starts online continues offline. And lots of miles can be involved in this.
This happened to me yesterday, when I spoke to the East Bay Macintosh User Group (EBMUG). It’s obviously not your Mac user group next door, this being on in America, and not China, but I thought if I made it all the way to San Francisco, I’d might as well check EBMUG out and give a talk there as well.
We went through a bit of the I-80 and passed through parts with iPod ads before getting there — attendance was pretty good at around 20 or so people. My talk, of course, was about Apple and the Macintosh in China, and I showed them the Chinese Mac world, featuring ads, Apple Authorized Retailers, and much more. Thankfully, my 17-inch PowerBook G4 was “big enough” so at least those in the front row could catch a quick glimpse. ▶
You thought January 7, 2006 was it? Not here, guys. In America, we’re in Leftover Territory. You guys in Asia finish January 7th, and actually hand it over to us! How very generous of you.
You Asians out there are way too ahead of us, time-wise. You start a new day when we’re just about to think of going to sleep…
Ahh… That’s just me after crossing the “International Date Line”. ▶