I can think of few places more Apple crazy than Vietnam.
Above and beyond the omnipresent hardware the logo decorates more than just the machines. I’ve seen Apple jeans, big gold Apple jewellry, even Apple lights. In my last post when we had to think up potential competition prizes the answer to “Does it have to be an iPad that we give away?” was yes.
All of which makes the rest of this post even more odd.
I tend to be fairly pragmatic about the whole Android v Apple thing. Personally for me it’s Apple for laptops everything else Android. So when my wife said she was going to buy an iPad I tried to talk her out of it.
Going along with her to store I was bemused as to just how long it took. This is Apple right? It just works. No? But as I browsed and browsed and eventually gave in and sat in the waiting area (complimentary green tea) it was taken out of the box and, from what I could see from my vantage point, generally messed around with. But annoyed at how long something is taking is pretty much my default Vietnam mood so I just inwardly screamed and tried to tune out.
Eventually at home and I’m trying to get the thing working and…it’s set up to the shop’s account.
Basically they had opened the box, installed their own account and filled it full of software and pirated music and handed it over. After head scratching I managed to delete that account, install our own, the machine crashed and died. My wife went back to the shop to replace it – this time with instructions to just take the box but again they insisted. Their argument being – no, this is how the iPad works.
I read of a similar experience in online reviews at other Hanoi outlets.
When I first bought an Android phone here they wanted to do the same thing and I almost literally had to wrestle it out their hands. Boxes are always opened. Frequently plastic films overlaid over your machines is default too.
My reckoning is that a great deal of people who buy iPads here don’t have laptops to tether them too. Most won’t have credit cards either. So, when you buy them you need to have everything up and running and after that – well that’s that – it’s a dead machine.
And it’s not just iPads. Suggesting to sister in-law-Trang that she could do Cart updates to Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare at the same time with an app on her iPhone she admitted she couldn’t download apps.
So is this the norm? And if it is, then how come Apple is so popular? Is this really power of brand over usability?