iPod Overseas Report: Singapore | iLounge Article

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iPod Overseas Report: Singapore

Read Parts I, III, and IV: iPod Overseas Report: Tokyo, iPod Overseas Report: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Backstage: Asian Gadgetry and the Future of iPod?.

If Hollywood’s more optimistic visions are realized, cities of the future will be large, yet clean. They will be covered in brand names and logos; populous, prosperous, and capitalist. Thus they will, in short, look almost exactly like the better parts of Singapore, a city-state that has emerged as a high-tech mecca of sorts in Southeast Asia. You may recall the name from tabloid headlines - public canings of vandals, executions of drug traffickers, and so on - and the reasons for its strict laws become obvious once you’re here: this is a city on the edge of tomorrow, safe, clean, and forward-looking, so the government here wants to keep it that way.

 

Yet like Tokyo, Japan, Singapore is a place with multiple personalities, here multicultural to an impressive extreme. There is a downtown city core of British colonial halls and impressive skyscrapers, including buildings by I.M. Pei. And there are modern shopping centers such as Suntec City Mall, Orchard Road, and Marina Square. But then the subway connects to less modern areas, ones with tremendous ethnic personality - Chinatown, Little India, and Arab Street.

Not surprisingly, each one has shops and restaurants reflecting their distinctive cultural characters. But this is a melting pot nation, where massive, government-subsidized international food courts called Food Centres place Halaal Islamic food stands only a stone’s throw away from shops offering Pig’s Brain Soup and pitchers of Tiger Beer.

As in other foreign capitals we’ve visited, the citizens here are in the midst of a switch from traditional CD-based music to compressed digital media, and one of the leading local sponsors is Creative Technology, makers of the Zen series of portable media players. It’s probably fair to characterize Creative as Singapore’s favorite son in the same way that Sony is Japan’s - aside from the fact that its headquarters are here, and that it runs a local iTunes-like music service called SoundBuzz, Creative’s presence on the streets is considerable. Local stores carry the full range of Zen players in a way that few stores in US or Japan do, including everything from low-end flash players to the latest Zen Vision: M, Creative’s clone of the fifth-generation iPod.

(As we’ve had some time to play with the Vision: M, we’ll note as a brief aside that it’s a pretty successful iPod wannabe; despite comparative photographs floating around on the Internet, the differences between its screen and the iPod’s are not pronounced, and it has a couple of annoying interface issues, but its additional functionality (FM tuner, built-in microphone, additional video standards support) is undeniably a selling point. Still, we haven’t seen anyone actually using them - or other Zens - outside of stores during our travels. The 30GB Vision: M sells for around a $40 premium here over the 30GB iPod.)

Yet these stores, and even resellers largely focused on Sony products here, also almost invariably carry something else: iPods. Frankly, we were surprised at just how much of a presence the iPod family has in Singapore, given Creative’s established position and the continued appearance of cheap devices from comparatively obscure companies. True, there are many electronics shops in Singapore that sell these MP3 players, and a good number selling the newer thing - MP4 video players, typically tiny ones. But comparatively few of them are selling only these devices, and not iPods as well.

Gobs of iPods. Stores here have lots of them - at least, nanos and full-sized models. As in Tokyo, where we ultimately saw a total of one person (a child) wearing an iPod shuffle during our travels, the lowest-end iPod appears to be very rare here, both in stores and on the streets. We saw a bunch in Little India’s 24-hour Mustafa Centre, but not elsewhere. Rather, the nano appears to be the inspirational iPod of choice, as we’ve seen a couple of different “win iPod nano” contests sponsored by major stores or restaurants.

What sort of stores are carrying iPods? We’ve seen them all over - in Mustafa Centre, tens of stores in the six-story mall called Sim Lim Square (below), and dotting the electronics merchants on famous Orchard Road. The sheer number of iPods in stock is somewhat amazing in that Japanese and American resellers seem to be having such a hard time getting them, yet unlike the Japanese Microsoft Xbox 360 story we relayed, the issue here doesn’t appear to be a lack of demand: wherever we walked, people were checking out MP3 players and asking specifically about the iPod and accessories. Prices here are a bit higher than in the USA and Japan - there are $35 premiums for each full-sized iPod, for instance - and unlike other devices, there’s no major discount to be had through hardware haggling.

We’ve also seen a couple of interesting differences between the Singaporean trade in iPods and the Japanese/American ones: those accessories, especially good ones, aren’t anywhere near as widespread here as elsewhere. Taking the legitimate accessories first, we’ve been shocked by the presence of JBL’s Creatures virtually everywhere we’ve looked - they appear to be one of the most popular major brand speakers, store-wise at least, we’ve seen here. A more than fair number of stores also stock JBL’s On Stage, Altec Lansing’s inMotion series, and Logic 3’s i-Station. One even had XtremeMac’s MicroBlast for iPod nano, which we have yet to see in a store in the United States.

The bigger surprise is just how widespread no-name brands are here, and how much they’re copying well-known products. We’ll put aside SonicGear’s i-Steroid 1 and 2 vacuum tube speaker systems, which duplicate the layout of a 4G/5G iPod’s front Click Wheel for bass and volume controls. We’ll also ignore the company’s 2GO i-3000, which is a lot like JBL’s On Stage, but cheaper and cheaper-looking. These products are merely derivative by comparison with some of the other stuff we’ve seen, and they’re being sold in an authorized retailer (Apple Centre) in Sim Lim Square.

The bigger problems are the iPod and nano accessories below, found at Gadget Centre in Sim Lim Square. Like the accessory that looks exactly like Apple’s official iPod nano Armband, but isn’t, because a company copied it and its packaging pretty closely.

And then there’s the company that has taken the name from Speck’s SkinTight cases, and used it on its own series of cases that sit right next to the real thing on another store’s racks. There are at least as many of the green-packaged non-Speck cases as the orange original SkinTights.

Singapore isn’t known for knock-offs in the way that China is, but it’s obvious that a lot of these junky clones are coming out of Chinese and Taiwanese factories, some worse than others. Most of the low-end accessories we’ve seen in the past have been of two types - charging cables and silicone cases - but these companies appear to be evolving, copying everything from accessory packaging to designs. As it’s already had to fight a few iPod cloners, we’d expect Apple to have considerable challenges ahead in 2006 stemming the rise of these new accessory copycats, as well. On the bright side, companies such as Belkin and Griffin have a decent presence here already, and do not appear to have been cloned… yet.

Though the answer could be “yes” because of Creative’s presence here alone, it remains to be seen whether Singapore is strategically important enough to Apple to focus on as another iPod beachhead in Asia. At the moment, there’s very little direct iPod advertising here - mostly posters in stores - and no iTunes Music Store. Local stores have comparatively sophisticated point-of-sale displays for the Zen product lines (below), and cheap, seemingly hand-crafted display cases for iPods. It says something that these stores have bothered to make the effort on Apple’s behalf: their customers are obviously requesting more. The total space devoted to iPods and accessories is considerable, and their placement near the front of stores, at eye or waist level, is generally quite impressive. Some stores have really nice displays to highlight the iPod (above), even as they also try to sell its competitors.

We hope you enjoyed this look at the iPod world in Singapore. Our previous iPod Overseas Report on Tokyo, Japan is still online. Want to contribute a report from your city? E-mail jeremy (at) iLounge.com. Otherwise, we will look forward to your comments.

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Comments

1

I’m from Singapore, and I thought I’ll add some comments. The iPod is definitely the digital music player of choice here. When I got my 4G iPod, I was the rare Singaporean to be seen on the streets with an iPod. Since then however, it is impossible to go out without seeing people use them. The article concludes that shuffles are rare, actually that is not at all the case. I see shuffles very often, they are very popular with kids who want a piece of the iPod action. By far the most popular iPod here has been the mini. Apple actually has a pretty strong advertising presence here too, and new Apple stores have been popping up, we also have iPod specific stores now.

Posted by Nezo in Singapore on December 19, 2005 at 8:59 AM (CST)

2

I’m from Singapore too. I’ll very much rather say that the ipod mini is the most popular ipod among teenagers, and most ipod owners are teenagers here.

Posted by yodagreg on December 19, 2005 at 10:03 AM (CST)

3

I’m another one that’s from Singapore. I own a first generation 10GB iPod and a second generation 20GB iPod and have been an iPod user since December 2001. Before the third generation iPods appeared, I’ve never seen anyone on the street using an iPod. It was only until Apple introduced the third generation iPod that I saw more and more people owning iPods.

By Apple’s introduction of the iPod mini and 4G iPod, everyone was using them. Although iPods dominate the MP3 market share in Singapore, there is still a considerable amount of people using and adopting Creative’s Zen range, especially the Zen micro when it came out as an iPod mini competitor. It was at this point that the MP3 player market in Singapore started to boom and take shape. There were many who went for the Zen Micro due to its smaller form factor and features, which the iPod mini lacked.

I believe that was the only time that Creative actually had a chance in competing with Apple in the MP3 player market and after that period, Apple dominated, and still is.

However I feel there has been a lack in advertising of iPods in Singapore and the advertising done here is nothing compared to what they have in the States or Japan. Apart from a few TV spots that were aired sparingly and some ads featuring Apple products in the papers, there really hasn’t been much advertising here. Most of the hype is generated by writers and reviewers contributing to magazines, tabloids and such.

I believe with Apple’s introduction of the iPod 5G and the nanos, there will be a great increase in iPod adoption here in Singapore and I can already see the trend picking up with greater number of people on the streets and public transports holding iPod nanos and using the distinctive white Apple earbuds.

Posted by drakenix on December 19, 2005 at 11:16 AM (CST)

4

I’m from S’pore as well.  From what I’ve seen, minis are so popular. I think nano will really take the lead though.  Still, I do see Creative stuff sometimes.  But with new ipods (esp. nano) it will really become Apple land.  I want to see a merlion with ipod earphones! LOLOLOLOL

Posted by Jing in USA/Singapore on December 19, 2005 at 3:11 PM (CST)

5

Well i’m not from singapore, and it’s a misnomer to call it a city of the future when everything about its government says middle age Europe.

Spit in the street = caning

Swear = caning

Pass wind = caning

If that’s the “future” I don’t want it.

You may be impressed by the cleanliness, civil rigidity and nanny government, but equally many are revolted.

I hope this isn’t censored because it wasn’t a troll, advertising, personal attack or objectionable. It was an observation.

Posted by 1Dude1 on December 19, 2005 at 9:37 PM (CST)

6

hey 1Dude1, sure, there are many fines in Singapore, you get fined for spitting, fined for littering etc, and no, and whoever told you that you get caned for anything has been lying to you, but if you want a future where people spit and litter freely, now that’s what I call middle age Europe.

No offence here, but you need to observe more and maybe weigh the pros and cons for a sec before you say things like that. Not a personal attack, just letting you know my point of view. I’m not born in Singapore, but after all these years here, and comparison from different countries I lived in before, I believe Singapore has the best government out there, and I am for the laws in place here. My point is that before you talk about something negative about any country, please check your facts and experience it here before you talk about it.

Anyway, to add on to Nezo, shuffles are actually very common in Singapore now, because of it’s price, more so with students. Personally, I don’t think Apple needs to have huge advertising campaigns cos the people here really do most of the advertising themselves.

Posted by Tech-whizZ in Singapore on December 19, 2005 at 10:13 PM (CST)

7

I’m from Singapore but I don’t recall seeing a public shows of caning for vandalism. If you consider newspaper reports of caning for respective crimes, sure. But please, iLounge.com, get your facts straightened before posting your reports online because you have tons of readers out there who may not have visited Singapore, for example, 1Dude1, who thinks that any socially-rejected behaviors are targeted for caning!

Posted by Deep3lue in Singapore on December 19, 2005 at 11:18 PM (CST)

8

We need an iTunes Music Store in Singapore.

I still have 12Gb of space available on my iPod.

Posted by urbanturban in Singapore on December 20, 2005 at 12:17 AM (CST)

9

I am from Singapore and owns a ipod 5G. Definitely on the street when I travel around in Singapore, you will see those obvious white pair of ipod headphones.. maybe the writer of this article seldom travels on the mass transit system here?

Posted by AhBear on December 20, 2005 at 1:48 AM (CST)

10

1Dude1, you a Singapore hater? I’m sorry but you’re wrong on all three counts. You don’t get caned for doing all those things. You obviously observe pretty badly. This is just an article concerning the iPod situation here in Singapore, what’s with all these irrelevant comments? We may have somewhat stricter laws than other places do, but we don’t have school shootings.

Posted by Nezo in Singapore on December 20, 2005 at 3:06 AM (CST)

11

Deep3lue: The caning reference was to Michael Fay, famously caned for vandalizing cars. The execution of drug traffickers thing is all over the place - it happened most recently at the beginning of this month (Van Nguyen) and is noted prominently on all travel documents for foreigners entering the country. Unfortunately, we can’t be responsible for readers who read things that aren’t written or have poor senses of humor. For what it’s worth, as should have been evident at the start of this article, we are not decrying these laws at all, though other people are free to have their own opinions.

AhBear: We said we saw gobs of iPods around Singapore, but didn’t see Creative Zens. As of today, however, we did see one Zen in public - a flash-based one, worn around someone’s neck. There is a lot of Zen advertising here, though, both at stores and in some subways (Orchard Road’s is particularly impressive).

And yes, the mini is definitely the most common iPod we’ve seen on the streets, by observation. A few stores seem to have limited stock of them, too.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on December 20, 2005 at 3:12 AM (CST)

12

How long ago was this report done anyway? Club 21 launched what is (was?) Asia’s largest Apple store, ishop, and local Apple Centre @ Orchard moved into a bigger premise as well, both not more than a month ago. Maybe this report would have been more complete if both shops were visited.

Posted by blue_quartz on December 20, 2005 at 4:07 AM (CST)

13

I don’t ‘hate’.

The only reason I brought up the caning thing is because it was raised in the review.

I’ve been to Singapore and my sister lives there. Again, it was just my p.o.v.

Strict (barbarous) laws don’t lead to crime removal. As you said Nezo, school shootings happen in the USA, and they still execute people (just like Singapore).

My comment was more aimed at Jeremy Horwitz who seemed to think that the end (clean streets) can be justified by any means (very strict laws with a nanny government).

Singapore isn’t perfect and neither is any other country. He seemed to think Singapore was a future utopia - thanks to the Government. I pulled him up on it.

:)

Posted by 1Dude1 on December 20, 2005 at 4:42 AM (CST)

14

1dude1: No, you just read too much into commentary that didn’t say what you think it said. It looks like you missed the words “better parts of” in the first paragraph.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on December 20, 2005 at 7:46 AM (CST)

15

Hey, i am going to visit the singapore airport shortly, and i was hoping of picking up an ipod there. Do they sell them in the airport? and how much should i expect to pay for it there?

Ipods here are very rare and very expensive, so i was hoping that when i pass by the airport in singapore i can pick one up for cheaper. i am heading off to malaysia where its also expensive to get an ipod, so the singapore airport is my only choice. Any insight?

Posted by Tarek on December 20, 2005 at 7:59 AM (CST)

16

hey

ipods are really everywhere in singapore. i’d say they are one of the most common players with zen micros coming in second. oh and I see that ilounge visited many of the small retail shops selling ipods. thats good but its really the at the authorised applecentre shops that you can see how marketing is done for the ipod. the setup and layouts of the displays in the apple shops are top-notch. they are always packed with people. yeah and as someone said we have the biggest apple centre in Asia

Posted by rocaway on December 20, 2005 at 10:28 AM (CST)

17

Jeremy: Michael Fay’s caning was just an elaborated report blown up by the media in the U.S. that suggested that foreigners living in Singapore should be treated above the Singaporean law even though they have committed a crime (I also remembered that Michael also committed some vandalising crimes when he went back home to U.S.).

Now, your statement of “public canings of vandals” seemlingly suggested that criminals are canned publicly which, obviously, isn’t the case.

Other than that, this is a well written report. And I’m grateful that you have choosen to write on and visit Singapore. I hope my comments do not anger you. I just want to clarify matters that’s all. Thanks for this site. iLounge is (one of) the greatest independent iPod websites that I truly enjoy!

Posted by Deep3lue in Singapore on December 20, 2005 at 12:14 PM (CST)

18

Another Singaporean here. If one were to throw a stone, it’d hit at least 5 iPod users on route. I’d go so far as to say that the ubiquitous iPod’s is well represented in this islandstate. I’ve been a user since December 2001; having eagerly anticipating its availibility when Apple announced the 1st gen iPod with that quirky ‘dancing-to-Propellerheads middleeastern looking guy’ TV advertisement. To note: I had a couple of people on the streets ask me what type of phone it was! I’m sure Jonathan Ives would have approved! Well it’s 4 years on and the rest as they say is history.

As for Singapore, sure the government here doesn’t subscribe to the same model of western liberalism but Singapore (and Asia) has her own geopolitical specificity and histories which require a different model of governing. I don’t necessarily agree with all the policies and laws but the key points to consider are that it’s safe and relatively comfortable with a sound government to maintain it.

Posted by audiophil on December 20, 2005 at 10:06 PM (CST)

19

Tarek: Sure you can purchase an iPod at the airport. You should expect to pay the listed price which you can find on http://www.apple.com/singaporestore . You might also want to check with the sales staff about tax rebates, depending on whether you’re in transit or otherwise…

Hope this helps.

Posted by audiophil on December 20, 2005 at 10:49 PM (CST)

20

We badly need a iTMS. Come on Apple.

Posted by urbanturban in Singapore on December 20, 2005 at 11:56 PM (CST)

21

Thanks audiophil! That’s exactly what i was hoping to hear. 548 S$ is approx 385 Canadian Dollars, and i am going to be travelling there soon also, but after the 15% tax in canada, their 379.99 price becomes 437 CAD! Even with an educational discount (my brother lives there) it comes out to approx 405 after tax. From what i understand from the singapore apple site is that the 548 price is including VAT, correct? So if i buy it from the airport is there any chance it may be even less than that from the get-go, or will i have to go through a long tax refund process for a mere 20 S$ or so? If you factor in the taxes in the states and canada, it turns out that the Singapore price is the same and maybe even cheaper.

Posted by Tarek on December 21, 2005 at 1:46 AM (CST)

22

Blue_quartz: The report was done a few days ago and posted soon thereafter. We have visited both Apple Centre at Orchard (plus, as mentioned in the article above, the same store at Sim Lim), and Club 21’s ishop. ishop in particular does have a lot of floor space (mostly Mac), and a staggering number of Medicom stands, but the inventory there is otherwise not hugely different from what we saw elsewhere in Singapore. (The public floor space is smaller in total than Apple’s store in Ginza by a factor of 50% or more, just to mention it.)

With all due respect, they are nice stores, but there are very many places selling iPods in Singapore, and to write only about the higher-end places would paint a somewhat distorted picture.

Deep3lue: For what it’s worth, I have no issue with this. The reference in the article was solely to put the article in somewhat of a familiar context for our (majority) readership not in Singapore - the country is notorious for its tough laws, support for which is solely a matter of personal opinion.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on December 21, 2005 at 3:11 AM (CST)

23

I am a proud Singaporean, born and raised here. (But I will not commend on the laws etc of my country, vs others… I’m sticking to the topic)

iPod nanos are fast catching up, I see them a lot in the gyms; iPod minis are especially popular I think with the ladies, I’ve also seen more and more iPod 5Gs out there.

I have the same experience, when I had my very first 5Gb iPod, when I pulled it out in the public, I was like an alien from another world, everyone stared at me…

Many years now down the road, if you are on a public bus or in our MRT (tube) train, just looking around you and you can easily catch at least 3-5 people with the infamous white ear buds and cable; In my own dept just within reach of me, I have 3 colleagues with iPods.

I don’t really see a lot of Creatives out there, even on the busy Orchard street I see people walking with iPods.

Cheers

Posted by howwow in Singapore on December 21, 2005 at 12:09 PM (CST)

24

Having visited Singapore back in 1991 I discovered a city that was clean and the people friendly.  As I walked around I also have to admit that I felt free to go where I wanted to go and safe in the process.  The people were polite which is more than I can say about many here in America where civility seems to have gone the way of the dinosaur. In short my 5 day visit was great. 
What was missing were subways with graffiti, dirty streets and sidewalks and rude people.  Last of all, I didn’t find anyone complaining.  I am an American and I love my country, but we need to recognize that there are other parts of the world that are also great places to live.  Everywhere I went people were proud of what Singapore has accomplished for its citizens and they have every right to be proud.

Posted by cpo99 on December 22, 2005 at 2:09 AM (CST)

25

I was born & raised in Malaysia and now live in the UK.Having visited Singapore twice in 2002 and 2005 i can conclude that it IS lovely to live in a safe,clean and organised place.as for ipods,i think singapore is a challenged market and ipods is becoming a common fixture with the younger society.Singapore being a hub of electrical and electronics will present a tough competition from different perspectives.anyway,variety is the spice of life and Singapore’s Creative is not doing a bad job too. :)

thanks

Azlan Mahathir

Posted by veicinix on December 24, 2005 at 11:53 PM (CST)

26

owning Creative product = caning

Posted by dreamzcape on December 25, 2005 at 7:31 PM (CST)

27

oops. forgot to add my comment.

as a frequent visitor to singapore, yes i do agree that it’s actually one of the safest cities in the work and its government does try very hard to achieve this. i do hope that this continues as much of this has been based on the ‘look east’ (meaning japan) poilcy. look at the escalating crime in japan. perhaps s’pore need not look anywhere else. it’s fine as it is.

expat, malaysia

Posted by dreamzcape on December 25, 2005 at 7:38 PM (CST)

28

I live in USA ,thinking to get a new video iPod(load with 2550 song) for my sister in Singopore. How much tax do i had to pay to send there ??

Posted by usa888 on December 26, 2005 at 1:21 PM (CST)

29

Singapore is definately one of the best hubs for eletronics in Asia.. without the smoke and spit, that is.

As I am also Singaporean, I can say that I am very proud of my country and it’s accomplishments thus far. However, the although strict law we have here is immensely exaggerated. People don’t get caned for doing trivial things like swearing or farting, but don’t think the government is one to toy with!

For those who are looking to buy an iPod, Sim Lim Square is definately the place to go. If you don’t have the time to make your way down there, you can get one almost anywhere. However, if you are looking to pay below the retail price of S$548, don’t venture into fixed price stores such as Best Denki or Harvey Norman. Rather, you should visit small shops with a shopkeeper wearing T-Shirts and shorts.. It’s a plus if you’re a foreigner, especially if you’re ‘Ang Mo’/Caucasian. Yeah, the Singaporeans tend to be biased towards the Caucasians.. If you have dark hair and Chinese/Malay/Indian features, well…..too bad. =\ However, Singaporean salesmen might try to doubt a foreigners haggling abilities and offer you a price not as low as they can go. Find a day when time is not a factor, and spend lots of time whining to the shopkeeper and walking around comparing prices from store to store. Look pitiful, name a realistic low price that is very unrealistic to the salesman, and whine. Always whine.

Well, I hope my 5 cents helped [no more 1 cent coins in Singapore!] and I hope you take a stop here one day!

Posted by piong on December 27, 2005 at 11:40 AM (CST)

30

I hope there’s a part two to this overseas iPod report about Singapore, i’m not saying that this report isnt properly done but i feel it doesnt show the real, big iPod stores in Singapore. In Sim Lim Square, best known for bargain prices for electronics, iPods are not nicely displayed and really focussed because these shopkeerpers often sell a variety of electronics.

The chic new iPod-specific store in Cathay Cineleisure, Orchard Road called iShop 21 is the largest iPod store in Asia, which the overseas report should really focussed on. Not only selling iPods and Macs, the store also incoporated a restaurant and a training school which conducts classes for first time iPod and Mac Users. The store is founded by the same entrepreneur who brought in over 30 luxury fashion labels like Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabanna, Calvin Klein to Singaproe and the rest of Asia, the fashion reatil company called Club 21 has retail outlets in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, Taiwan, UK And the US.

I guess someone really needs to do a part two on the iShop 21, which really changes the shopping experience of iPod stores in Asia.

Posted by lostsubtleties on December 28, 2005 at 1:42 AM (CST)

31

I write for a small technology magazine in singapore. In my team of 6, 5 own ipods. The 6th guy doesn’t listen to music. We get DAPs from many brands, local and foreign, yet we knowingly choose to purchase an ipod with our own money (and apple doesn’t give press discounts…creative gives 50%). What does that tell you?

Posted by darthT on December 28, 2005 at 12:27 PM (CST)

32

We have a ton of pictures (and potential comments) for iShop 21, but it’s just one store - and basically an expanded copy of an Apple Store (the small right-hand restaurant being its most significant difference). It’s nice, but given its low foot traffic by comparison with the myriad other stores we visited in Singapore, devoting an entire article to it seems a bit much.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on December 30, 2005 at 10:28 AM (CST)

33

Being new and having branded itself as such, it is only natural that anyone looking for a bargain would head elsewhere to get their ipods, namely sim lim square. The difference, therefore, lies in whether or not you’re looking for that extra service and whether you’ve done your homework.

If you know what you want and have the time, by all means, you should walk from shop to shop to get the best buy. For me, i’d rather pay a little extra to get my post-purchase services. In cases whereby your ipod needs fixing and is still under warranty, you would be saving yourself a lot of transport costs and time when sending the ipod for servicing. If you had purchased it from one of those shops in sim lim square, then chances are that you either find the applecare centre yourself in some industrial area of Ang Mo Kio or pay about $20-$70 of handling fees to get the people at iShop 21 or apple centre@orchard to get it done. The way i see it, i’d give up that $10-$20 savings anyday.

Furthermore, having just bought a G5 ipod from iShop 21 today, i received an additional $26 gift voucher which could be redeemed against any original Apple accessory. I then got the camera connector (which costs $54) and spent a grand total of $755. This basically comes down to the same amount i’d spend purchasing the exact same items at any shop in sim lim square (knowing for a fact the cost price of Apple products to these stores). 

Taking into account intangibles such as the fantastic customer service, future sales events and 5% discounts on i21 stores (even though i doubt i’d use it…), i can confidently say that i’m an extremely satisfied customer!

Posted by christina_unamujer on December 30, 2005 at 2:32 PM (CST)

34

I’m suprised nobody has mentioned Funan (the IT Mall ;) yet. Sim Lim is tons of fun to visit, but if you want to see more upscale ipod (and other computer) merchandise, it’s the place to go. They’re sort of bookends to each other- Funan for nice’n'easy, Sim Lim for raw parts and haggling.

Gotta love Sim Lim, though. 2! stores primarily devoted to just connectors- the better of which, ironically, is the only store I ran across that didn’t have anybody who spoke English well. Or so they had me believing.

Anyway, there’s several good ipod related stores in Funan, but the only one that comes to mind is doml - http://www.doml.com
The last time I visited, their inventory had dropped a wee bit, but they still had the nicest selection of cases for all manner of portable devices. And, for the record, they put on screen protectors better than anybody I’ve ever seen.

Three visits to Singapore- my brother lives there- and it’s a wonderful place. Can’t wait to go again, especially since I really miss the hawker centers… Mmmmm nasi goreng.

Posted by millia on December 31, 2005 at 11:53 PM (CST)

35

DarthT wrote “apple doesn’t give press discounts…creative gives 50%). What does that tell you?”

This is such an Asian mentality - to need to have discounts. That alone shouldn’t twist your opinion about any product.

It tells you that, besides design, Apple has a systematic approach to sales globally. Every item coming out of a box is the same everywhere. Apple business is similar. This alone has earned Apple respect in the past years.

You have to look beyond the product and what Apple is trying to achieve besides lifestyle.

You must be a PC user! No comment about the Singapore based Creative - it’s quite obvious why they give 50%.

Posted by dreamzcape on January 1, 2006 at 7:39 PM (CST)

36

Okay, for those who have been requesting i21 and Funan coverage, it’s now on Backstage (backstage.ilounge.com). Enjoy. :-)

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on January 1, 2006 at 9:40 PM (CST)

37

Dreamzcape, I think you’ve misread my sentence.
I talked about my colleagues and I owning Ipods (5 out of 6), and that although we could get a creative product at a huge discount, we still choose to fork out our own money to purchase an ipod.

“What does that tell you?” in reference to the fact that we test DAPs all day and we can buy them cheap, but we choose NOT to.

Posted by darthT on January 3, 2006 at 11:38 AM (CST)

38

“Singapore isn’t known for knock-offs in the way that China is, but it’s obvious that a lot of these junky clones are coming out of Chinese and Taiwanese factories, some worse than others.”

That’s all China. Taiwan’s manufacturing is at about the same level as Singapore’s. They both outgrew that stage over a decade ago.

Posted by monkbent on January 3, 2006 at 1:22 PM (CST)

39

I was wondering if Singapore sells fake iPods/real iPods? Can somebody please name me some stores that sell real and good pricing iPods? And a few fake iPod stores just so I don’t get any cheapo/rip-off iPod nanos. This will be great help and i would be happy to have some info asap. :)

Posted by nonameface on December 18, 2008 at 12:32 AM (CST)

40

hey im going to singapore soon can u guys tell me the price for itouch 8GB and 16GB. lastly can you tell me the shop…the cheapest pls lol :)

Posted by Hads on January 2, 2009 at 11:55 PM (CST)

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