Regarding the Apple Watch – Before the Apple Event

I have been physically writing down drafts of blog posts on premium paper lately due to a newfound interest in fountain pens and the respective inks, and as dumb as that sound I thoroughly enjoy the process of writing after a multi-year hiatus from physical writing (I graduated from Media Studies “Communications and New Media” in NUS). However I do not share the same enthusiasm when putting those blog posts to Byword, so most of the content remain in my trusty notebook, with some of them already expired (as events happened and stuff gets introduced). But I thought I will at least get this out before the event next Monday, so here goes my Apple Watch rumbling.

Regarding the prices of the Watch, the speculation is rife (on every single tech blog and news outlet) on the Edition models being ridiculously expensive and starting at 10000usd, after factoring in the price of the raw gold in the watch body.

I say 4999usd for the cheapest Edition model, and 14999usd for the gold link bracelet model.

What obviously is more important but less speculated on is the starting price of the stainless steel models, as well as the price of probably the most popular model with tech geeks – the Apple Watch with stainless steel link bracelet.

499usd for the stainless steel model with sport band, and 999usd for the link bracelet model.

I want the Apple Watch Stainless Steel model (42mm), with link bracelet, in regular steel/silver finish. The Space Grey finish looks absolutely sweet on paper, but as I am interested in getting spare straps/bands for the Watch I am not so sure the silver Milanese loop will look nice on the Space Grey model.

The Sport models might be cheap, but like any iPhone owner I know how Aluminum looks when knocked against a hard surface, and unlike a phone, the possibility of a watched getting banged up through daily use is way way higher.

I own several Seikos and Casios, and I know how well steel watches stand up to abuse, especially if they have sapphire cover glasses.

Seriously speaking, as I really want the link bracelet model myself, I really hope that it will end up being cheaper than 999usd, but 999usd is absolutely the limit on how much I will spend on a watch. If the link bracelet model ends up being more than 999usd, I might possibly skip the stainless steel models all together and get a Sport model instead, since it is a first generation model and first generation Apple stuff is never flawless.

The naming of the various Apple Watch lines is also weird, with the cheapest “Sport “models and the most expensive 18K gold models getting the “Edition” name, but the stainless steel models being called just regular “Apple Watch”. It is obvious Apple wants the stainless steel models to be the regular line, but just calling it “Apple Watch” will confuse consumers who are less than well-informed on the differences between the three lines besides pricing.

I fully expect Apple to correct that oversight by suddenly calling the stainless steel line by another name during next Monday’s event, be it “Apple Watch Steel” or “Apple Watch Premium”.

Details about battery life have leaked out in the last few days, and I fully expect all the leaks to be accurate – be it the 5-hour on high use or the power reserve mode, charging is essentially going to be a daily thing.

What I am more interested in will be the kind of portable charging solutions announced, or if there will be any of them.

It is pretty normal to be charging your iPhone with mobile power packs connected to Lightning cables these days, and cables are very portable and relatively affordable.

The Apple Watch, with its magnetic charging, and the cable with its charging plate, does not really look very portable, nor affordable enough to purchase separately from the Watch to use while you are on the go. And it will be a pain to carry two cables when you are out. I wonder if there will be a Lightning to Watch magnetic charging adapter for sale.

Availability is another question. Since the telcos that are involved in iPhone, and to a lesser extent, iPad distribution during the various launches, will Apple with its distribution channels be able to launch in the same set of countries as they do for iPhone launches? It is however unlikely that the Watch will be sold in the same ridiculous numbers of the iPhone, as demand for a new category of products is always likely to be lower than one for a mature popular product line, so the stress on the distribution channels will be much lesser than typical iPhone launches.

In this case, if the distribution of the Watch follows the same channels as Singapore will most likely be in the first wave of countries the Watch will launch in, to simplify the logistics involved by shipping Apple Watch through the same channels. And that will be great news. For I will really really want to have an Apple Watch on Launch Day.

Unlike the iPhone and the iPad, there are many who are not convinced of the utility of the Apple Watch, some of whom are long term Apple fans. I wish all of these people will not be swayed by the event to preorder the Watch for Launch Day – I do not want to fight with others for the chance to have my Apple Watch the very first second they go on sale.

Oh please let it be April already. Cannot wait. Argh.

MI (Multimedia Integrated) Closes Down

Recently I was in Funan for lunch and noticed something slightly different when I walked past Gamescore.

MI (Multimedia Integrated) closed down.

A quick check to its website revealed this;

with a QQ number to facilitate the possible sale of its domain name to Xiaomi, since anyone searching for Xiaomi Singapore is likely to go to www.mi.com.sg instead of Xiaomi’s www.mi.com/sg domain.

In the old days, MI was one of the big boys in the local Apple retail scene, together with iShop and Epicentre. Epicentre became a big shot, and we all knew what happened to iShop.

Seems like with Apple favoring only retailers with big capital these days (nuBox and Epi) and the skyrocketing local rent, sheer “legacy” is no longer enough to keep certain retail stores alive.

I did not know anyone in MI even in the past, but it is still sad to see another part of local Apple legacy go.

Regarding GTAT (GT Advanced Technologies)

“GTAT is a perfect example of why Apple should never work with American companies on manufacturing – they can’t take the heat.”

“US manufacturing is dead and has been dead for decades. You don’t see Foxconn complaining about their contract terms the way GTAT did.”

“GTAT is childish, pathetic and lame.

Run by complete morons.”

“Apple has to take their sapphire production to Asia, which they probably already did, looking at the mess GTAT made.”

GTAT was greedy and took the Apple deal without considering the terms believing it can only bring them more wealth, all while overestimating their own abilities to actually comply with the terms stated in their agreement.

And they went so far as to try and blame Apple for everything.

You know what? Last I heard, Foxconn, Pegatron and other Apple suppliers/partners DID NOT GO BANKRUPT WITHIN A YEAR.

Idiots. Manufacturing in the States is a complete joke.

Steve Jobs’ Death Anniversary 2014

It has been three years since Steve passed.

As we today look at our iPhone 6es, our iPad Airs, our new Mac Pros and wait longingly for the Apple Watch, do we remember Apple as the behemoth that bought Beats, stepped repeatedly on tiny has-been Microsoft, and shows the finger to Google? Or is Apple still The Company that Steve Built?

Today Apple is moving at a pace that it has never done before, hiring superstar designers and ex-CEOs at breakneck speeds, and trying to “enter its next chapter” with new product categories – all while forgetting that software excellence can’t scale well.

iOS 7 and 8 looks great and comes with even greater power (to developers), but not a single version of either was as stable as any of the iOSes before it. Ditto OS X and iWork apps. iLife is not even in existence anymore, with iPhoto canned and iMovie and Garageband degraded in order to sell more Logic and FCX.

When former software chief (and arguably software genius) was fired in 2012, most of his software lieutenants eventually left Apple as well, and despite Hair Force One (Craig Federighi)being a great sport, a superb presenter, the quality of Apple’s software under him never did return to what it used to be.

Surrounding himself with superstar designers and ex-CEOs is probably a good thing for Tim Cook, but please do not forget about software. Apple’s software is the reason why Apple’s hardware can shine, remember Steve once saying “People who are serious about software should make their own hardware”(that’s from Alan Kay by the way) during the iPhone keynote? It is no use making your own hardware great if you are not serious about your software in the first place.

We are not looking at you to make Apple way greater than it already is, we just hope that you keep it afloat and working, and not turn it into another Microsoft, Tim.

Let us keep Steve’s legacy alive.

MacRyu’s Mac Setup 2014

So in 2007 I posted my old setup based around my 2007 24″ Aluminum iMac and 12″ iBook on Flickr.

Then in 2011 I posted my revamped setup based on the same iMac but with a relatively new 2010 MacBook Air.

After another 3 years and spending the last 12 months not bothered with updating this site, I want to reboot this site with my first decent post – my current Mac setup.

And here it is.

2014 Mac setup - 1

The iMac, now in its seventh year of service, has been semi-retired and is only used sparingly these days. Its main duties have been taken over by the 2012 11″ MacBook Air, which is connected to a Crossover 27″ high resolution monitor (2560X1440, LG’s IPS panel, the same ones used in the current 27″ Thunderbolt Display) via Dual-link DVI, which I run in clamshell mode for the time being. It will be eventually replaced by the next Mac Mini, whenever that thing is refreshed, because running clamshell mode can be a pain in the arse for long term use.

2014 Mac setup - 2

The iMac is these days used as a BT machine, iTunes server or for casual file access when I don’t want to turn on 4 switches just to access or print a file. It has been upgraded with a OCZ SSD last year, and boots into Mavericks in about 6 seconds flat, which is extremely speedy for a 7 year old machine. It is also connected to my HDD docks for serious backing up duties.

2014 Mac setup - 4

The Harman Kardon Soundsticks III is the world’s favourite computer speakers (they are almost always in every celebrity’s home or desks, just watch TV!) and I finally saved enough to get them last year. The iPad mini stand was a real replica of the see-through acrylic ones found in authentic Apple Stores, and was a gift from my brother a few weeks ago. Also on the table are docks for my iPhones (the 5S is being used to take the photos, that is why it is not in its modified Belkin dock), iPads, and other pieces of tech toys including the PS Vita 2002, Cowon Z2, Nexus 4 and the Xiaomi Note+. Oh and I love my Starbucks Reserve Mug.

2014 Mac setup - 3

Yes, those are the Sony consoles hiding in the dark corner.

Hopefully this site will still be around in 2017, when I will (most probably) post my updated Mac setup again.

Follow me on twitter @ryuworks or @macryudotcom (official account for this site). And join MacNet at http://sgmac.net for all Apple related discussions on FB!

Apple event confirmed for 9.9.2014

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It’s been a long time, and here we go again!

Just a few more days to go!

Avoid Buying Apple Products from iStudio (iScam Studio)


Happier times, queueing up for iPad Air outside iStudio, before iStudio hit us with a scam.

I had queued up for the first and second iPad launches at iStudio Paragon, due to a general dislike of the Epicentre stores run by Jimmy Fong. Long-time Mac users should share the same dislike due to the various inelegant sales tactics being employed by Epicentre (formally AppleCentre Orchard) for the last two decades. Back then, iStudio was just a decent alternative Apple Premium Reseller, and did nothing out of the ordinary. For the iPad 1 and iPad 2 launches, I queued up, went in when the store opened, purchased my iPads and cases/Smart Covers, left.

So when it came time for me to buy my iPad Air this year, the choice was obvious – iStudio Paragon will be my location of choice once again.

I had reached the store around 8:45am, having checked iStudio’s Facebook page the night before for the launch timing (at 10am). There were no notices being posted about the iPad sales other than the launch timing being 10am.

There was no queue at 8:45am.

It was pretty strange considering that Epicentre Ion already had more than 30 people in the queue by that time.

I was thus first in line.

Some of the others came around 9am and later and all of us waited patiently for the launch, excited at being able to soon hold our own iPad Airs.

The iStudio staff were already in store since before 8:45am, and while some of them kept walking in and out of the store, none of them bothered to communicate with us. Which was fine with us, as we recognise that sales people these days are just plain expressionless or even borderline rude.

When the shutters lifted, we went straight in to the cashier and placed our orders.

Then it hit us.

The lady sales person at the cashier said, “our iPads are only sold as a bundle with a screen protector for an additional $39. Do you want the matte or glossy screen protector?”

We didn’t understand the first time, and thus wanted the lady to explain.

iStudio is refusing to sell the iPad Airs without an additional purchase of a no-brand screen protector for $39.

These are the no-brand screen protectors that they are forcing everyone to buy. The photos are taken at another retail store. They are priced at $24.90, more than ten dollars lower than what iStudio wanted to charge everyone for.

We argued, and everyone else in the queue agreed that this is a scam and started making a scene. After which the white-collar middle aged uncles and aunties proceeded to buy them anyway, after iStudio told them “this is our company policy, you can either purchase them or leave”. Typical older Singaporeans, giving in to higher powers’ request for money even if they know it’s unreasonable and wrong.

Eventually some of the younger guys left the store empty handed, but the result was that iStudio got away with what they were doing.

I went and reasoned with the staff in the store, and in the process that found out that iStudio had started this scammish policy a year or so ago, and this scammish policy only takes place during every single Apple product launch.

Apparently, during every product launch, there have always been confrontations between the iStudio staff and customers due to the exact same scammish tactic.

iStudio staff apparently have already repeatedly feedbacked to higher management, but the execs at Elush Retail, the owners of the iStudio chain, refused to budge on their scammish tactics.

My attempts to contact Apple Singapore’s people and related reseller/distribution people regarding this matter basically returned one answer; Apple Singapore does not give a damn how their Premium Resellers sell their iPads, so long they order large quantities of iPads from Apple.

I have always known Apple Singapore’s marketing and sales people to be pretty scum-my in the past, but apparently it got way worse these days. This is exactly why I gave up trying to enter the company.

Now, you may want to argue that what iStudio is doing is just normal business tactics, but I will argue otherwise.

What really made them cross the fine line between overly pushy sales tactic and outright scam was their strong intention to deceive.

1. There was no mention of having the iPad Airs only being sold as bundles on their websites or their Facebook page. The only post prior to the launch was the announcement that there the opening hours are at 10am for the iPad Air launch.

2. We have been queueing up outside the store since 8:45am, and the staff in iStudio had been entering and leaving the store repeatedly. If they even had any thought of informing the crowd that they are only selling the iPad Airs as bundles with lousy screen protectors, shouldn’t they have told us way before launch hour? We were just outside the store ALL THE TIME.

3. After we were told that we have to purchase the bundle, we asked the staff why were we not told before hand, and the lady sales person’s reply was “Well we just open the store mah, so only now we are telling you that you need to buy the screen protector with the iPad Air lor. If not we won’t sell you the iPad Air. We don’t need to tell you earlier.”

iStudio, you are downright disgusting. In so many more ways than Epicentre ever will be.

And Apple Singapore, you are just fucked up. Why the heck do you think so many of the talented channel sales people are leaving the industry? Go screw yourself if you are totally letting such scams happen right on your supervision.

And people, avoid iStudio if you can. (which I believe many has already been doing, since all the iStudio branches are always dead empty 24/7)

Want to share about your experiences with iStudio and other scammish resellers? Join MacNet at sgmac.net today!

Remembering Steve Jobs 2013

It has been two years since Steve passed away from cancer. His sudden departure to every single one of us devoted fans was just devastating, the news breaking the day after a lacklustre iPhone 4S Apple event. I could still remember the events of that day two years ago and how it affected me for the remainder of that year. Even today, I could not bring myself to read the badly written Steve Jobs biography.

Two years down, what has changed?

Analysts are still looking for excuses to pull down Apple in order to manipulate its stock price. Their recent excuse was “Apple is doomed without Steve Jobs!”. Three or more years ago, their excuse was “Apple is doomed BECAUSE OF Steve Jobs!”. No creativity there, it seems. Well business analysts (and generally business people) are idiots anyway, so it’s not hard to figure that out.

Jony Ive has used his influence to force out yet another thorn in his eye, this time round Scott Forstall, who is probably the last guy in Apple who will stand up to him. Ive totally has Tim wrapped around his finger, but it’s a situation that is mutually beneficial. He still goes about his whole English gentlemen speaking softly routine in PR videos thing.

Hair Force One Craig Federighi is now the third most important person in Apple. It’s cool, I like him and his ideas for OS X.

Tim? Tim is still running all the operations work at Apple, just like when Steve was still around. His job scope never changed in the last decade, despite what some silly analyst-people say.

So what is missing from Apple? Innovation?

Don’t be silly.

Apple has created way more interesting products in the last few years than say, from 2001-2006.

What is missing is simply, Steve’s presence.

The energy behind his presentations at Apple events/Macworlds, the fuck-you attitude he gives to anything he disapproves of, the whole “he sounds like an arsehole but millions look up to him” thing.

That “Steve” thing.

It is never coming back.

Singtel, Starhub, M1 Prices for iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c revealed!

Finally the last two telcos revealed their prices for the new iPhones. Below are the price comparisons at the various plans. Images sourced from HWZ. Click on the images to view in full size.

Got questions about iOS 7 and the new iPhones? Visit sgmac.net today!

Introducing MacNet (SgMac.Net). Get all your iOS 7 questions answered!

Introducing MacNet – for devoted Mac Users.

MacNet is the closest thing you will find to an Apple Cult these days.

Based in Singapore, but we welcome every single Mac user.

We hope to create a community where the purest and most devoted Mac users can be active in, as we recognise with the rise of Apple, many devoted Mac users feel left out.

No longer can a Mac user just start a chat with someone else he/she spotted using a Mac in a public area. No longer is there any tight-knitted group where devoted Mac users can share information and tips about Macs and related stuff.

We hope to bring all that back.

We are not some crummy user group which was left to die when its core members lost interest and its founder went missing, neither are we some off-shoot group of a rowdy PC-hardware forum.

We are here to stay.

We sincerely invite both long-time and novice Mac users to join this group, so long you believe yourself to be genuinely interested in Macs and most things Apple.

Hit us with all your iOS 7 questions

With the introduction of iOS 7 today, we recognise that many will be shocked at all the changes in iOS 7 and might not be able to cope. A bunch of us with prior access to iOS 7 (dev access!) for the past two months will be around the group and helping to answer any iOS 7 or Mac related queries you might have, so join us today!

MacNet is located at http://sgmac.net.




About MacRyu.com

MacRyu is the Mac Blog by Singaporeans and for Singaporeans. It was started in April 2007 as a side project of the then President of the Official Mac User Group of NUS, Ryu, and grew to become possibly one of the most popular Apple-related sites based in Singapore. MacRyu hopes to provide you with more Mac-related info, thoughts and stuff, from the Singaporean perspective.

MacRyu’s Web Stats

Interested advertisers can click here to find out more about MacRyu.com's pretty decent web traffic stats.

P.S. Nice! We've hit 284122 hits in July 2010!

P.P.S OMG! We've hit 407548 hits in Oct 2011!

Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

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