The Apple Store is Coming to Singapore

The Mighty Apple
Image Credits: RyuWorks on Flickr

Fact: the Apple Store (physical) for Singapore is almost ready.

For many years Japan was the only country in Asia with official Apple Stores, staffed by peeps wearing real Apple T shirts and geniuses who will solve all your Mac problems. 

Then the China Apple Stores happened. And then so did the Hong Kong one. 

In recent years, particularly around 2010, rumors have been rife that both Hong Kong and Singapore will be getting their own Apple Stores. The rumors kept everyone excited for a bit, but as time goes by and nothing happened, people forget. 

Then in 2011, the Hong Kong Apple Store happened. 

What happened to the Singapore Apple Store then, you wonder?

It is happening. 

In recent months, I have heard whispers and chirpings from more than a few birdies that Apple’s business channels for the Apple Store in Singapore are under preparations, and that by now much have been done. 

While the location of the Store remains a mystery, the expected period of its grand opening apparently isn’t. With some luck, Singapore will have our first Apple Store by end 2012. 

Having an official Apple Store in Singapore is definitely exciting, but what does this mean for existing Apple resellers and consumers?

Fact: Apple do not really like their resellers much.

Resellers are a necessary evil to Apple, they ensure sales in locations and countries that Apple Retail cannot reach, and most of them, especially the APRs (Apple Premium Resellers), are even willing to have Apple dictate the design of their stores even if the APRs are the ones paying for the renovations. Selling through resellers, however, mean the Apple earns less profit compared to selling directly from its stores. 

Thus for Apple Retail to enter Singapore, Apple will have to made conditions favorable for the official Apple Store to take away most of the retail profits from the current crop of Apple resellers in Singapore. 

This usually mean putting more restrictions on what Apple resellers can or cannot do, for example the recent “no participation in IT bazaar shows” (nevertheless, nubox and Epicentre were still openly selling Macs at the recent IT Fair without being too showy about it), giving resellers even lesser stock of new products (they are already getting very little stock now, especially the non-APRs), and probably not allowing anymore new Apple resellers to happen (while trying to terminate the smaller resellers’ rights to resell). 

Singapore has the largest number of Apple resellers in the region (so much so that people actually think Epicentre is the Apple Store), and for the Apple Store to take the lion’s share of the local market some of the resellers will have to go, it seems. 

Nevertheless, I don’t expect Epicentre to be affected by this, since time and time again they have demonstrated that they have a lot of internal backing from Apple Singapore, for despite being the reseller to continuously break Apple’s very strict reseller rules with pleasure, they have rarely been punished. Seems that they are also heavily involved in Apple’s China operations. 

Like the States though, the Apple booths in electronic chains like Harvey Norman and Challenger are apparently officially sanctioned by Apple, and are managed by a company (infinite) directly appointed by Apple. So these will definitely remain, and even thrive, in a future where there are Apple Stores in Singapore. 

You might think all the above sound so terribly evil, but as a consumer, a future with a Singapore Apple Store is a much brighter future. 

There are considerable benefits to be had from an official Apple Store as compared to normal resellers. 

As far as I know, all Apple Stores in the world follow Apple’s 14-day return policy or purchases. This mean that should you be unhappy with your purchases, you can return your purchases for a full refund sans a small restocking fee. 

If a product is refreshed with 14 days of your purchase, you can exchange your old product for the updated model. For example, if you bought an iPad 2 on the 13th and the iPad (3rd generation) is released in stores on the 16th, an exchange is totally possible in an official Apple Store. 

Such exchanges and returns are just impossible at any Apple reseller. 

Also, when Apple runs an official promotion like the annual Back To School promotion, you can enjoy the promotion directly at the official Apple Store, not so at the resellers. 

When Apple announces a new product and keeps the current product while dropping its prices, like the $528 iPad 2 wifi for Singapore, an official Apple Store will update its prices immediately for existing stocks of iPad 2, while the last time I checked with certain resellers they were still selling the same model at $668 (Infinite-run booths and it’s Vivocity shop have the new prices already). 

Other obvious benefits range from the superior experience shopping in an Apple Store, to much higher stock levels for new products, to availability of Apple Store-only products like the product (RED) iPods. 

All in all, a very exciting future to look forward to. I can’t wait to go give my money to Apple at the Singapore Apple Store. 

P.S. The second Hong Kong Apple Store is coming up soon too. 

Edit on 14th Nov 2013: Chatter resurfaced recently. Apple Store Singapore is apparently being planned for Orchard Road, the area between Wheelock Place and Far East Shopping Centre/Hilton. Will update if or when I hear more.

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

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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.

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