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Sweet and sour Apple

Local Apple fans have to resort to the Hong Kong Apple Store to get their hands on the company’s latest gadgets, with some calling Macau’s Apple Flagship Store ‘small and useless’.

While Mainland China, Taiwan and neighbouring Hong Kong are among the first batch of locations where Apple’s newly announced iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus products can be pre-ordered – beginning last Friday (September 9) and available this Friday (September 16) – the launch date of the new iPhones in Macau remains unknown.
A sales representative at Apple’s flagship store, which opened in Galaxy, Cotai in June, told Business Daily that they have no information regarding the timing for the new products to reach Macau. However, the price of the new products are already set – starting at MOP5,788 (US$724) (for the iPhone 7 32GB).
The official information from Apple also indicates that for the same model, the price is set at HK$5,588 (MOP5,755 / US$720) in Hong Kong, RMB5,388 (MOP6,439 / US$806) in Mainland China, and US$649 (MOP5,185) in its home country, the United States. Apple’s different regional pricing is subject to factors including: currency exchange rates, taxation policies and operational costs.
When queried on Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program, where customers in the U.S. and (for the first time) in Mainland China can get unlocked iPhones and have the chance to upgrade to a new iPhone yearly, the Macau sales representative said such programs aren’t, and haven’t been available in Macau, but stressed that Macau customers have been, and will continue to enjoy a Trade-In Program, where customers can trade-in their current smartphones and get up to MOP2,300 to use towards the purchase of a new iPhone. “Best ever”… shows “courage”
Apple announced its new products, including iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, last Wednesday in San Francisco, calling them “the best, most advanced iPhone ever”. The new products have some new features that Apple fans have requested, such as water resistance and a better battery life.
But there was one thing that caught the attention of most – the lack of a headphone jack. Apple tried to justify its decision to eliminate the port that people have relied upon for years to listen to audio, by saying that it’s showing “courage” and believes going wireless is the future of technology.
Despite these controversial changes, Alexander Chan, a Macau resident, is determined to get his hands on the newly-launched gadget as soon as possible.
“I love them, especially the iPhone 7 Plus that I can take more beautiful photos with,” said Alexander. However, he told Business Daily that he had to get the new iPhone in Hong Kong as he normally does, as the Macau Apple Store “is still so small and useless”.
While some Apple products have experienced lacklustre sales in China, the new products seem to have retained their appeal, with the new Jet Black (colour) models already having a four-to-six week waiting period for shipment from Apple’s Mainland China pre-order site. The products are “currently unavailable” on its Hong Kong site.
On the Mainland China pre-order site, other colours take six to eight days to be shipped, according to information on Apple’s official website at the time this story went to press.
iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are available in silver, gold, rose gold and the new black finish in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB, and the new jet black finish will be offered exclusively on the 128GB and 256GB models.
Unimpressed traders
The upgraded features of the new iPhone seem ‘less sincere’ than the previous innovations incorporated into its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models, and the latest product from Apple may fail to attract as many customers as Apple wants, said a local trader.
A sales representative at LeiKei, a local electronic gadget chain, who wanted to remain anonymous, told Business Daily that the new iPhones are expected to hit the Macau streets by the end of September, but didn’t disclose the exact date. He claimed that their new iPhones will “for sure be cheaper than the ones at the Apple store at Galaxy, because they are from different importing channels,” without revealing further details.
“People have stopped changing phones as often as they used to,” said the sales representative. “A lot of smartphones from other brands are getting increasingly popular. It’s not just Apple that dominates the market. Samsung and other Android [operating system] smartphones sometimes are more favourable because of their compatibility with other devices. We even get lots of enquires for Huawei and even Xiaomi [Chinese smartphone brands].”
“It’s really up to you, how much you want to spend on a smartphone, your budget,” he added. However, he predicts the Jet Black colour will still be highly sought after, especially the 256GB ones, as “its powerful, top in the market, and beautiful”.