May 17, 2011

iPad 2 craze in Yangon, sells for $1,150

THE ground breaking Apple iPad portable tablet computer was more or less banished to the “quick sale” shelves of electronics stores with the launch of its successor, iPad 2, across Asia in mid-March.

Even Myanmar, which does not have an official Apple outlet and has patchy wireless internet coverage, is not immune to Apple fever.

The iPad 2 has quickly established itself as a “must-have” item for electronics stores in Yangon, dethroning the original, said Ma Tha Pyae Aung, sales manager for Technoland in Kyauktada township.

“We are not selling the iPad anymore. Customers love the new iPad 2 because it is light, it has two webcams where the original had none and it’s twice as fast,” she said.

Ma Tha Pyae Aung said Technoland tries to keep about 15 iPad 2s in stock because it’s a fast-selling product.

A combination of exciting design and performance is enticing cashed-up individuals to buy iPad 2s, said a spokesperson for AiKON, an Apple sales and service shop in Pazundaung township.

“Our main buyers are businesspeople. Many say they find the design attractive and it’s useful for their work because they can show videos and photographs to co-workers or clients.

“Unfortunately a jailbreak for it is not yet available,” he said, explaining that the jailbreak would allow users to upload more applications and programs onto the device. When that becomes available I expect we’ll see even more sales,” he added.

AiKON also tries to keep about 15 units in stock, he said, adding that the shop sells about five iPad 2s a week. He said the shop orders stock from the United States.

“We order directly from the US but plenty of other shops have bought them from Bangkok, Singapore or elsewhere. We try to order between 50 and 100 at a time and have sold about 30 since March,” said Dr Saw Yan Naing from SSS computer sales and service shop in Botahtaung.

A 25-year-old man buying an iPad 2 at Technoland last week said he was most interested in the device’s gaming abilities.

“When you play games it’s clear that the graphics are much better than the original iPad’s,” he said.

But for Myanmar Computer Professionals Association member, U Aung Kyaw Moe, the new iPad was not worth the money.

“I think it’s a bit expensive and I don’t find that it fits my needs because I already have a laptop. If I was looking to buy something now I’d spend my money on a new laptop, which would be faster and can connect to external hard disks,” he said.

He added that the lack of city-wide broadband internet that can be found in Bangkok and Singapore is also an Achilles heel for the iPad.

“You can’t use iPad on the go or send emails from wherever you are from, which you can do in Singapore. There, people carry them everywhere and you see people using them all over the city.”

iPod and Macbook owner Ko Myoe said the restricted wireless internet network in Yangon severely limits the iPad 2’s usefulness.

“There’s no 3G network here, so people have to rely on Wi-Fi hotspots and there aren’t many of those here. And the ones that do exist, you have to pay to use,” he said.

The shops stocking iPad 2s are selling them from about K960,000 each (about US$1150), shop spokespersons said.

Source: Myanmar Times