An Apple today
I visited the new Apple store in Newcastle today, and spent a good half hour drooling at the shiny toys. Big and bright and everything with plenty of space, it’s a tech boutique for everything Apple.
However, when looking at some of the accessories, I noticed a difference in pricing between Mac and PC accessories. Yes, I know you pay more in Apple land, but when you’re talking an extra 20 quid for a big name brand 1TB external USB hard drive just because it has been ‘specially Mac configured’ the words ‘rip’ and ‘off’ spring to mind. I haven’t been using a Mac for very long, but long enough to know that it reads data from my PC (and PS3) formatted hard drives without any difficulty, and if you want a pristine external drive for Apple’s excellent ‘Time Machine’ back up application, it doesn’t take long for your Mac to format it.
Much of the software on sale in the store, like most high street shops, was more expensive than what it would cost online. The Apple store wanted £75 for Photoshop Elements 8 – you can get it from Amazon for less than £58.
You don’t go to the Apple store for bargain basement prices.
The Apple store experience is helped by staff actually knowing what they are talking about. In Currys or PC World you’d be lucky to find someone who knew the difference between PCI and AGP, or between N and N+ networking. I know because I’ve tried. As well as the Apple staff’s own experience, they also have access to a knowledge base, which can provide detailed information on a piece of Apple tech just by inputting the serial number off the back of your gizmo. Floor staff carry credit/debit card machines, so you don’t even have to stand in a checkout queue for your new piece of tech bling.
Today was opening day so it was really busy, mostly student age customers and window shoppers, but there were plenty of staff on hand. As the novelty fades a little the staffing will no doubt drop as open day help staff go back to their own stores across the country.
Of course, it’s just a shop selling computers, but it’s currently prettiest place to go to on Tyneside to see georgeous technology.