Psst, have you heard the news? The iPad 2 is here.
Huge tech product launches usually get trumpeted for weeks in advance, with ads all over the papers, TV and billboards, and word of mouth building up expectation and even desperation in customers’ minds.
When it comes to products as sought-after and hotly anticipated as Apple’s second-generation version of its smash-hit tablet computer, traditional marketing goes out of the window.
Instead, the first clue the new iPads would be on sale on Friday was … when they appeared on sale on Friday. If you didn’t hear the whispers during the day, this may be the first you’ve heard about it.
All of the secrecy, of course, is intended just to make you want it that much more, and with the launch restricted to Jakarta, Bandung and Yogyakarta, queues were forming within hours of shops opening.
Dwi, from Zoom, an official reseller at Paris Van Java in Bandung, said that the absence of an official, publicized date for the launch was in line with Apple Singapore’s policies.
“It is actually a policy from Apple Singapore and we don’t know the reason why, but people were so excited,” he said.
One reason may be to avoid disappointment with limited supplies coming into the country.
The updated version of the first iPad — which was launched in Indonesia 12 months ago — improves on the original, as it is lighter, thinner and has two cameras. Its price tag here starts at Rp 4,899,000 ($572) for the base model with Wi-Fi only and goes up to Rp 8,000,000 for a 64GB Wi-Fi and 3G enabled model.
The prices are close to Apple’s recommended US prices, and relatively cheaper than many other Asian and European countries where high consumer taxes add to the cost.
The iPad 2 has been out since March in some countries, and Ari Soetjitro, a consultant manager with iBox, an official Apple reseller, said he believed the reason for the long delay before the iPad 2 went on sale here was because official resellers had to wait for the Directorate General of Post and Telecommunication to issue a license.
An ongoing court case involving two men being prosecuted over reselling smuggled iPads here has highlighted the huge business of bringing sought-after gadgets into Indonesia for resale on the gray market.
Even with the official launch, however, customers will have a hard time ensuring they get their iPad 2.
Ari said iBox only had enough stocks of the tablets to last three days, and customers would have to line up for them as no orders were being taken. Dwi said 50 units had already been sold at his Bandung store on Friday.
Erikus Pujiantoro, a customer service officer at a Yogyakarta branch of Emax, another official reseller, said stocks were strictly limited and likely to run out.
“Many customers came on Friday and there was a line at the store. But there was no chaos,” he said. “I guess most of them were so excited because they had only just heard about the launch.”
Some authorized Apple resellers did not have any stock. Subiyanto, the owner of iStore at Poins Square in South Jakarta, said his store would only receive units next week and advised customers to book ahead.
Yuli, a saleswoman at PcMax at Carrefour Sunset Road in Bali, said the outlet had no word on when the iPad 2 would be available there.
Samuel, from The Addict at Tunjungan Plaza, Surabaya, said the iPad 2 was not available at his store.
Official iPad 2s all come sealed and accompanied with an Indonesian manual, as required by law. They also come with an Indonesian serial number and adaptor plug.