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.

Singtel Prices for the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c in Singapore!

Click on the image to view it in full size.

This year’s prices are quite a bit higher, due to the fluctuation in exchange rates.

It is however, interesting to note that the iPhone 5c is only retailing at $318 at the lite plan (the plan most Singaporeans will pick), while the iPhone 5s is retailing at $538 at the same plan, with the 5c at a full $220 cheaper.

Looks like the subsidies are higher for the 5c, and those buying on contract should do well to consider the 5c instead.

While I am most probably buying a 5s because I am already carrying a 5, truth be told, I will much rather buy a blue 5c this Friday. It’s just a bit funny to consider the phone with the same specs when you are supposed to be upgrading.

Those without the 5 though, I cannot stress this enough – the iPhone 5c is a superb phone for the price. Don’t believe me? Just touch the real thing this Friday. You won’t be disappointed.

There are units reaching Mac retail stores (NuBox, epiCentre) TODAY, 18th September 2013. While I am not sure if there will be display units out today, if you are nearby one it makes sense to go in and ask if you can try out the 5c.

The Mystery of the iPhone 5C placement in Apple’s lineup

Apple Event 10th September 2013

As recent rumors have pegged, tonight’s Apple event will introduce two new iPhones – the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C.

We have seen enough leaks to know everything there is to know about the iPhone 5C’s five colors and construction, and how they are really just iPhone 5 innards in a new plastic housing.

That said, the exact placement of the iPhone 5C in Apple’s iPhone lineup remains a mystery up till now.

In a previous post, I had revealed that the iPhone 5C had a 4-inch screen and a Lightning port (thanks to my friends) and speculated that the iPhone 5C will replace the iPhone 4S at the lowest end of the iPhone lineup and complete the transition of the iPhone line to Lightning ports and 4-inch screens this year, leaving the iPhone 5S at the top and the current iPhone 5 in the middle of the lineup.

I still think that this will be the arrangement, but rumors (from idiotic analysts nonetheless) suggest that the iPhone 5C will replace the iPhone 5 completely, leaving only the two new iPhones (and the old iPhone 4S) in the iPhone lineup.

This is weird for various reasons.

Firstly, it will leave a big gap between the pricing of the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C, assuming that the iPhone 5C will be quite a bit cheaper than the iPhone 5S. Previous years, the mid-range iPhones have always been about 100USD cheaper than the top-of-the-line models, and people who are intending to buy mid-range this year will not be happy that they are paying for something that are not last year’s models, at the same top-range-minus-hundred price point.

Secondly, it will not be feasible to have the iPhone 4S remain on the lineup, for the extra effort Apple needs to maintain the dock connector accessories and the assumed extra cost of making the iPhone 4S’ metal and glass housing will outweigh the benefits of just letting the same production lines making the now lesser in demand iPhone 4S continue running.

The only reason/way I can see it (iPhone 5C replacing the iPhone 5) is if the supply yield of the delicate aluminum and glass housing of the iPhone 5 still remains small today even after one year of production, due to the care needed to prevent scratches on the soft aluminum on the assembly lines.

If that is truly the case, it will make sense for Apple to divert all current iPhone 5 housing production lines to the production of the iPhone 5S, to ensure maximum supply of the iPhone 5S on launch day (20th September) and in the months after that, especially with the rumored increase in color choice.

Plastic housings are extremely cheap and easy to produce (ask Samsung), and will be produced fast enough to meet iPhone 5C launch demand, and a big supply of iPhone 5Cs is need if China is going to be part of the first launch countries this year.

Apple will still have to adjust their prices accordingly, and there will still be a gap, unless of course they just went ahead with the old top-range-minus-hundred pricing assuming that people will pay for the "newness" of the multi colored iPhone 5C lineup.

Can’t wait for tonight! Will love a blue 5C.

Visit Sgmac.net, the new fb group (still in tweaking mode until mid-Sep, but open for joining) for devoted Mac users today!

iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C Singapore Launch Date 2013

Pic sourced from AppAdvice

As of today’s information, we in Singapore will be getting the new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C on…

20th September 2013, Friday.

Mark your calendars. Stay at home and wait for the Starhub carrier. Or go queue at your local M1 shop.

The overhyped “competitor” that never was

I usually try not to write much about non-Apple news here, but this is a classic “I told you so” scenario.

Upon earlier reports that the Samsung flagship phone, the Galaxy S4, is not selling too well in local (and many foreign) markets, today we have Wall Street finally telling us exactly that.

Samsung’s stock took a serious beating upon news of a major slowdown on sales of the Galaxy S4, despite announcing that they have shipped 10 million S4s to sales channels all over the world within 28 days. It is however, believed that less than 30% of shipped Galaxy S4s were sold to consumers, with the remainder in warehouses as unsold stock.

In other news, iRadio finally look like it is going to happen next Monday after all.

Mac OS X Default Wallpaper Collection – 10.1 to 10.4 (Puma, Jaguar, Panther and Tiger)

Hell man, I hope I don’t get a cease and desist for this.

Got really sick of the default “universe/galaxy”-style wallpapers introduced since Leopard, and extracted some old wallpapers from pre-Leopard Mac OS Xes.

Am currently rocking this setup.

Here are all the default Aqua Blue and Aqua Graphite Mac OS X wallpapers from the past. Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah has the same default wallpapers as Mac OS X 10.1 Puma so it’s meaningless to include those.

Do note, due to the maximum supported screen resolution being quite limited in the earlier Mac OS X releases, the resolution of the earlier wallpapers will be much smaller, and might not look great on current-day screens.

Here goes.

Mac OS X 10.1 Puma

Classic Aqua Blue Classic Aqua Graphite

Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar

Jaguar Aqua Blue Jaguar Aqua Graphite

Mac OS X 10.3 Panther

Aqua Blue Aqua Graphite

Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger

Aqua Blue Aqua Graphite

You can follow MacRyu at @ryuworks on Twitter and @ryu on App.net.

WWDC 2013 predictions?

Sometimes I wonder why people even crave for such posts when everything is out there in the open, but I guess there are some who would not bother with the research.

I am just going to rehash everything that is already all over the web, adding some of my opinions if necessary.

1. Completely new UI (User Interface) for iOS 7

Honestly, I do not know what to expect. Jony Ive has designed the majority of the Apple hardware we know and love today, but his take on UI is still uncharted territory. As far as we know, he was, to quite an extent, involved in the original iPhone’s UI design back in 2006/2007 but everything after that was under Forstall. The whole “flat look” rumour thing that has been reported widely sends chills down my spine – I absolutely will hate iOS losing most of the fun elements it is known for.

However, if looking the gradients and gloss means a much slicker and professional looking UI (think Tweetbot, think Reeder), I am all for it. It is highly unlikely the hordes of software engineers will let Jony Ive change iOS into something as tasteless as Windows Phone 8, after all. Besides, the Brit has impeccable taste. A clean look, less gloss, less gradient, but with lots of colours and fun elements will be the hallmark of a modern iOS. Besides, change just for change’s sake, for once, is something that iOS needs to keep a majority of their bored customer base from “looking for a change”.

2. Mac OS X 10.9

As with iOS 7, OS X 10.9 must be the most well kept secrets in Cupertino right now. Rarely in the past two years has information about the two new operating systems been so tight-lipped that even now, less than a week from WWDC 2013, there has been no leaks, no screenshots of new features or the new UI (in the case of iOS 7). Rumour-mill has it that engineers have been taken from 10.9 development to help speed up iOS 7′s development pace, and that has resulted lesser changes to 10.9.

Like many of the traditionalists I am more interested in OS X than iOS, and a much improved OS X will perk me up way more than a completely revamped iOS. That said, though, OS X is extremely mature and with much of the underlying changes needed for a modern desktop OS already done in Snow Leopard and Lion, all that is left to do for the next few years is tweaking OS X to perform better, and address the outstanding issues still present today.

An improved Finder (as rumoured) will be welcomed, and hopefully the UI for Calendar and Contacts will be changed to something slicker. Mail.app is in crazy need of a refresh after many years of bloat, though most peeps these days run Sparrow, or more recently, Airmail, as a replacement for Mail.app. I really doubt a new file system will debut anytime soon to replace HFS+, definitely not in 10.9. There is also some speculation that widgets and Dashboard might be discontinued, but I hope that they do keep Dashboard as I still use it everyday for currency conversion.

What other changes do OS X need? You tell me. I am really happy with how everything works so far.

3. New iPhones and iPads?


I am going to slap anyone who tells me that he or she is disappointed because there is no new iPhone/iPad at WWDC.

4. New Macs?

Haswell is just released. So new Retina MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs are definitely coming. There are rumours that the 13″ Retina MacBook Pro will go on a diet and get slimmer (thanks to crazy power efficiency in the new Haswell platform), and that will be definitely welcomed. The current rMBP 13″ is not that much lighter from the old 13″ MBP (non-retina) right now, and is not tempting enough for anyone to switch.

Oh ah, and a price drop across the whole line of Retina MacBook Pros is much needed (will and probably come).

You can follow MacRyu at @ryuworks on Twitter and @ryu on App.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

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

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

We love & support Steve Jobs forever!!!


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