September 17th, 2010
06:36 AM GMT
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Beijing, China (CNN) – I’ve never really understood the whole obsession with Apple. Like today in Beijing, where it has been gently raining overnight and outside the Apple store (one of two in China, the other is in Shanghai), there they were – the Mac Heads, not a lot, maybe a hundred lining up to buy the iPad.

Technically this was the official launch, but in reality I could have bought one in April in what’s known as the gray market. My “dealer,” who’s name is also John, told me for a fee flight attendants deliver iPads from the U.S.; he then adds his costs so a gray market iPad costs about US$800 for the basic model. I guess for John, today’s official launch means he’s out of the iPad business.

But the point is – for a few hundred dollars extra, a true Mac Head in China could have had their own iPad months ago, yet there was something special about buying the tablet gizmo from the official Apple store. A point not lost on Han Ziwen, a 35 year old book store owner, who stood in line for three days.

“I don’t support smuggling, although some Chinese people got to use this product before me, they’re not like me, because I purchased this product in China,” he said.

Seems like a pretty fine point to me.

But Mac Heads are not like ordinary people, which may explain why they have their own online dating service – at first I thought it was an internet hoax, but the web site (http://cupidtino.com/home) seems real enough (iPhone 4 girl seeks older iPhone2 guy, must be in good condition?). And it may explain why in the movie “Mac Heads” – one woman says: “I’ve never knowingly slept with a Windows user.”

That must narrow down the playing field. Hence, the dating service – just don’t mention Adam and Eve and the Apple thing. Another telling point in the movie is the man who says “Muslims have Mecca, we have Macca.”

But getting back to China, such is Apple’s status in this country that Mac Heads here are willing to pay more than American Mac Heads – almost twenty per cent more mostly because of higher Chinese taxes. That’s a lot in a country where wages are a lot lower. One woman told me just spent a month’s wages on an iPad and thought it was a bargain.

And for Apple, launching in China means the company may now be on track to sell 12 million iPads this year, maybe 20 million next year. That’s a lot of Mac love.

Final disclosure, I use Windows, while my wife and daughter both love Mac (Mac Heads don’t just use it they loooove it) so we’re a divided family. I often warn them “We are Microsoft, resistance is futile”.

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Filed under: BusinessChinaTechnology


soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. xiaoa10

    Since the iphone 4 have launched on China, China retailers offered jailbreak service to promote .I am curious about that the promotion way of ipad in China, as for as i know , ipad in Hongkong is very popular now. China is a bigger market ,the High imitation mobile market is very hot . i worried which will affect the sales of ipad and ipad !! good luck! Apple! lol ~ but if Chinese puchase a iphone or ipad , i suggest them get a Aneesoft iphone/ipad converter like me~~

    September 17, 2010 at 7:51 am |
  2. son of god

    for me ,it's too expensive to pursue

    September 17, 2010 at 8:19 am |
  3. Anand.G

    Apple Rocks!!

    September 17, 2010 at 8:25 am |
  4. sonja wuertz

    China is just so smart... Like this: http://www.bukisa.com/slides/229186_how-to-prove-god-exists-through-mathematics

    September 17, 2010 at 8:31 am |
  5. AFD

    Does the writer of this article realize that fake iPads are sold in China as well and have been for some time? So buying locally may mean something that looks like an iPad, but then goes belly up without any warranty.

    September 17, 2010 at 9:08 am |
  6. Cocopuf

    Well, Apple's iPad IS a quality product and not exactly cheap. Perhaps psychologically it has to do with status symbol amongst certain groups of people. However, when you use any Apple products you are STUCK with their video formats (mp4, m4v) and so makes it a disadvantage to many others (have to convert everything) who would want to buy one. Also, iTunes, despite what people say is a friendly music manager BUT ONLY if you purchase music from iTune store.

    September 17, 2010 at 9:12 am |
  7. daveT

    I've used both. Windows7.. meh. A definite improvement, but only tolerable because I can use Safari and iTunes and MobileMe. The Mac fan base is a devoted group because, as a whole package, the Apple hardware and software package is a refined experience that provides a suite of useful, easy, and mostly frustration-free programs that work well together. While you can try cobble together different Windows programs to replicate this, why bother? You may have different variety and customizability and some enhanced functionality.. I just want software that behaves the way I expect it to. The uniformity of experience that Apple provides at its "core" so to speak, is worth the small "premium" in cost that you pay. Even that cost "premium" is a matter of debate...

    September 17, 2010 at 9:41 am |
  8. Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira

    Mac heads?
    So only already Apple customers buys Apple products?
    If so, why every iPod users don't buy Macs?

    When this envy of Apple success will end?

    Apple alone is fitting against the Windows PC vendors cartel + pseudo tech journalists and now fight Android cartel vendors + pseudo tech journalists?

    Apple doesn't complain.
    But is it a Fair fight?

    September 17, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  9. Steve Thompson

    "We are Microsoft, resistance is futile". How appropriate. Wasn't it a virus that ended up decimating at least part of the Borg collective as well?

    As a confirmed Mac lover (without an iPad....yet), give me a computer that still acts like its fresh out of the box after 4 years in comparison to a Windoze-based computer that freezes up and takes 10 minutes to boot up after only 18 months. There is definitely something to be said for OS-X.

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/

    September 17, 2010 at 11:15 am |
  10. Monti

    These so-called reporters are ridiculous. The interview with the factory owner claiming apple stole the idea for the ipad from him because he started selling his product a year ago FAILED to mention that the ORIGINAL IPHONE started selling in 2007...and there is no doubt that that factory owner product is a copy of the iphone. Also if the reporter would have done his job he wouldve known the ipad was first developed BEFORE the original iphone.

    September 17, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  11. Builder

    I sat up an iPad last night and it was extremely frustrating. Especially since there was no instruction manual and I've never owned an "i" product before. What is supposedly "intuitive" and "user friendly" proved to me a mess since Apple has deluded itself into thinking that they're so obvious and simple that anyone should be able to use their product with ease.

    I build computers, run a computer lab (with Bootcamp Macs, actually), and nearly everyone who accidental logs onto the Mac side of the set up is flagging down an attendant every few minutes because the structure isn't easy to figure out.

    As an undergrad, we used some very powerful Macs for our projects but they would constantly breakdown, be extremely noisy, and were slow at processing graphic media. We eventually realized that the cheap, older PCs in the other lab were 3-5x faster at processing our projects and so we left the pieces of junk alone.

    September 17, 2010 at 11:46 am |
  12. kingsley

    hey guys that is very fantastic having that kind of technology .keep it up

    September 17, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  13. CamaroRS

    I've been to that Mac store in Sanlitun many times. It's usually quite busy, but not as busy as the ones here in the North America. Most of the people I know in China get their iPhones and iPads from the grey market, and have had them for a while. They don't seem to have the brand loyalty that Mac heads have here.

    I like my iPad, but I don't use it as much as I did when I got it. It has come in very hand at conferences and when sitting on the couch watching TV.

    I'm losing my interest in my iPhone. The things that made me want it so bad when I got it (email, web surfing, google maps) are on every phone now and most of the Apps are just porn or shitty versions of the Web pages they replace (the CNN Money App is one of the crappier ones).

    September 17, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  14. Mac Fan

    To the author, the only way to understand a Mac Head is to have and use PC and Mac in your home. Once a PC user pass the initial break in stage on Mac acquaintance ( about 6 hours of use depending on your abilities) the PC user will understand why Mac is superior . Time saving, simplicity, logical, crash proof, and....much more reliable

    September 17, 2010 at 9:53 pm |
  15. doordonot

    I'm just wondering if iPAD is made in Foxconn CHina, how would it be delivered to China market?

    September 17, 2010 at 10:08 pm |
  16. jimCHN

    i think that an official ipad is really far from me ,which is too much expensive ,in china as an ordinary consummer the price of an official ipad is too high to afford!

    September 18, 2010 at 3:20 am |
  17. Leendert

    @builder

    Your comment is not to be taken seriously cause you simply act like a troll insread of someone whois really trying to give an honest opinion.
    A manual for an iPad? Running a lab with Mac's who run on BootCamp?
    Since when do you need a manual for an iPad like you need a manual to step into a car and drive it? The point is that it all shows itself duh...
    Having Mac's and only use them to run BootCamp? Where is the logical thought here? There is none(and that for someone who runs a lab...right)
    cause it is all smear and lets bash Apple what is the real reason behind you comment. Too bad i've been too long around to be that ignorant against obvious trolls like you.
    It would have been nicer if you really exposed your dislike for Apple products with an honest opinion based on common sense instead of this disguised "let me try to hide my true anti-Apple feelings with some valid sounding arguments " bs comment wich doesn' uphold for the reasons i just mentioned.

    September 18, 2010 at 3:40 am |
  18. Leo

    I have had my iPad in China for several months. I have been using Macs here for years. The Apple already sells for a premium in the US, the prices in China are out of sight but people still buy them. Part of it is the 'cool factor' and part of it is the quality, something sorely lacking here.

    September 18, 2010 at 5:31 am |
  19. Shi Jin

    I was there in Beijing to see what all the fuss was about.

    It was a class launch. Good numbers of demos were available, there were many well-trained and eager staff to lend a helping hand, and there was plenty of stock (so everyone who wanted one, left happily clutching their prize).

    No doubt, the iPad will change the game for Apple in China.

    You can jump straight through to the in-store photos I took, by clicking the link below.

    http://www.chinesecurrents.com/apple_beijing.html

    Best regards from Beijing

    September 18, 2010 at 6:33 am |
  20. Jack C

    We were selling a lot of our iPhone app "A Computer Dictionary" to the China market. We came out with an iPad version and it's selling even more in China. I'd be curious how many apps are sold in China. http://tinyurl.com/acomputerdictionary

    September 19, 2010 at 2:48 am |
  21. steffenjobbs

    Damn! Who'd want to buy those knock-off pieces of crap with Windows OS. They probably have resistive screens and run about two hours max on a charge. You can't even give that crap away in America. The unsuspecting Chinese consumers are getting ripped off by their own kind. Trying to pass off some $100 craptablet as an iPad or a tablet just as good as an iPad is the lowest form of scamming. Those sellers are outright crooks and should be put in jail.

    I'm beginning to think that the Chinese don't know what quality products are because they've got nothing to compare it with. Maybe if they go into an Apple Store and use a real iPad, they'll know that any other tablet they try will be like a piece of crap in every way. The Chinese have ePads, cPads, HiPads, etc. Anything to fake the Chinese into buying crap.

    September 19, 2010 at 3:32 am |
  22. sonja wuertz

    Buying Chinese clone electronic gadgets is like having found a best friend: http://www.bukisa.com/slides/44583_how-to-find-your-best-friend

    September 19, 2010 at 5:49 am |
  23. Cockroach

    Apple stole the iPad from the P88 model of a Chinese company, and got away with it? The smart-phone was invented and developed by Nokia and others, but Apple claims it's their invention. What's really amazing is that people believe Apple!

    September 19, 2010 at 7:51 am |
  24. Jammers5

    China is ripe with knock off and clones of popular products. The same country that makes many of the products for the name brands also rips them off. What if all the name brand companies threatened to pull manufacturing out of China? Would the government then crack down on this apparent free for all?

    September 19, 2010 at 11:46 am |
  25. shankar

    @ Builder,

    If you cannot use an iPad without a manual, then no computer is for you.. My 11 year old did not have any problems.

    September 19, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
  26. Yahoo

    @builder
    Let me guess.........did someone paid you to BS the apple product?
    If not then you are real moron.....dont take hard bro.

    September 21, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  27. bc1943

    too bad for a professional to use terms like Mac Head!

    September 24, 2010 at 12:54 am |
  28. bc1943

    Builder
    my grand children of 3 to 8 loves the Ipad and they could give you a lesson or two.

    September 24, 2010 at 12:59 am |
  29. babykid

    ... really dislike iPads and iPhones... A iPod touch is enough for my life.

    September 24, 2010 at 6:20 am |
  30. jjd

    apple and other american companies knew very well their R&D and intellectual power will stolen nation who is greedy and big bully,american companies sold themselves and companies for cheap labor they jolly one get used to this kind stolen Ipad they can sell china and all other countries.get used it buddies you want cheap labor by bankrupting our country

    September 27, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
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