Dear Apple, inc. in Cupertino.
Apple is a major brand in the United States but in Saudi Arabia it is considered “too expensive” and “have bad warranty” because of bad experience with Apple’s Authorised Distributor in Saudi Arabia, Arab Computers and Arab Business Machines, Apple’s Authorised Distributor in Middle East.
“The Mac community is growing day after day in Saudi Arabia and the middle-east region. Some people get interested in Apple computers after seeing a Mac machine in action in-front of their own eyes, but most people get hooked up simply by using iPods, which proves that the halo effect does exist.”
The Apple iPod is very popular in Saudi Arabia, even though it still lacks support for Arabic language. The iPod brand is strong.
I saw a salesman at a store in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia trying to convince a kid with his dad to buy a Zune. While I thought the kid would object, I noticed that the father who seemed in this late fifties, told the sales rep that the iPod looked much nicer and easier to use, and I heard the kid say, “I want an iPod, this is not an iPod” pointing at the Zune.
Dear Apple, here are some points that we believe will contribute to your success in Saudi Arabia:
- Open an Apple Retail Store. Not simply a retail store but enhance the experience of owning a Mac in Saudi Arabia by including the Genius Bar, training, workshops, youth programs and Business Partners.
- Open an Online Apple Store. Countries without an Apple Retail Store (Philippines and Malaysia for example) at least have an Online Apple Store. Also current developers in Saudi Arabia need to fax their iPhone Development form because there is no Online Apple Store in Saudi Arabia.
- Open an Apple Service Center. The Apple Authorized Service Providers in Saudi Arabia are very inefficient, have no stock of spare parts.
- Provide better support and warranty. MacBooks purchased in Saudi Arabia have a limited warranty that is not honored outside Saudi Arabia (or Apple IMC countries) and sometimes used machines sold as new.
- Localize Mac OS X. ABM’s latest Arabic Localization is for Mac OSX Leopard 10.5.6 which does not work with the current 10.5.8 version of the OS. Arabic localization should be provided by Apple directly. The Arabic language is natively spoken by 422 million people which is more than English. Arabic localization is MISSING from Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard (Apple discussions link)!
- Support Arabic
on the iPodon all iPod models. An Arabic iPod prototype was supposed to be released in 2006 according to Elias Abou-Rustom, general manager of Arab Business Machine but nothing happened in the last 3 years. While regular iPods are still lacking Arabic, the upcoming iPhone/iPod touch OS 3.0 will finally add Arabic support. Thank you Apple. Update: 2009 iPod nano models now support Arabic, but not the 2009 iPod classic.
- Arabic iPad and iBooks content. Apple has just released the iPad however it doesn’t support Arabic.
- Offer better prices. The Saudi Arabia Riyal is pegged with the United States Dollar. Since the EURO exchange rate is high the Apple products are very expensive. A 300SR MacBook Pro charger is sold in Saudi Arabia for 450SR, a %50 markup.
- Expand the iTunes Store. Currently the Saudi Arabia iTunes Store is limited to iPhone Applications. We would like to see it expand to cover Podcasts, iTunesU, Music, Movies and TV Shows. Currently there are no digital media market place in Saudi Arabia. This is a chance for Apple to get a head start.
- Standardize Saudi Arabia Apple homepage. Apple.com.sa is still owned by Apple’s former partner in Saudi Arabia, Jeraisy Techand their partnership with Apple ended in 2000. Apple.sa TLDs will be available soon as well. Apple.com/sa doesn’t exist except for the iPhone page.
Fellow Apple users in Saudi Arabia: feel free to post your comments on this page or contact us directly.
Resources and interesting related links:
- Mazen Al-Angary 31/03/06 “Macs in the Saudi Arabia“. Originally posted on mymac.
- Mazen Al-Angary 18/01/07 “The Tsunami Halo Effect“. Originally posted on mymac.
- Mazen Al-Angary 02/02/07 “The Truth about Apple in the Middle East“. Originally posted on mymac.
- Thanks to other “We Want Apple” sites for inspiring us: We Want Apple Hungary, We Want Apple Poland and We Want Apple Greece.