Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Something up with Apple?

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  • Lance Hodges,

    We managed to retrieve the data but it was going to take THREE WEEKS (yes THREE) in order for Apple to get a replacement drive (via Aussie).

    That is what happens when you have a second or third party involved in the distribution of a product.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • Alec Morgan,

    Renaissance has been ‘difficult’ for years so “good night and good luck” to them hopefully. itunes? apple stores? isay yep. 99% great product, suspect marketing & support in NZ, I see several independents have recently got into servicing. To be fair though, the education unit of Apple NZ have certainly helped keep the platform visible in what should be one of its natural habitats. Check out www.roughlydrafted.com for an articulate overview of how the mac bounced back from 90s near oblivion, and why it mattered.

    Tokerau Beach • Since Nov 2006 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Alan Macdougall,

    Isn't it funny though, that despite the uneven support offered here in NZ for the Mac by Renaissance (and I've experienced the highs and the lows of this) we still keep buying the damn things, eh?

    Since Nov 2006 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Mackintosh,

    "Crossgrading" from Final Cut Studio to the Universal version was a 6 week process. This involved physically sending my original install discs to a third party global logistics outfit in Sydney along with a cheque for $99 (13 September) Three weeks later nothing had arrived in the post so I called the 0800 number on the upgrade form and got an answering machine. Checked the Apple Australia website and discovered the logistics firm had changed their postal address. Rang 0800 number and left a strong message asking where my $2500 worth of software was. One week later on October 13 I received an email from "Apple Fulfillment" (German email address) explaining they'd received the discs on the 6 October and they were waiting for the cheque to clear. Cheque didn't clear until 19 October and the universal discs turned up about a week after this (sent from Singapore then repackaged into a Courier Post bag). What is the point of having a local distributor if they are unable to distribute a simple software upgrade?

    Since Nov 2006 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • David Rush,

    I just can't get excited about paying for low quality DRM files. I do love my new Mac and iPod tho (and no issues with PA on Safari so far)...and RB and crew...nice work re PA System...

    Since Nov 2006 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    That's because we love Macs. I love my MacMini, and its beautiful mini-skirt, which has only two functions: (1 saving the computer from coffee and wine spillage, and (2) looking good, just as a Mac should.

    More seriously....

    In other long-running-saga news, Sideswipe may be coming out from behind the herald's "premium content" paywall, but APN management seems determined to keep the rest of the paper's voice locked up inside a misguided subscription service that virtually no one buys and anyone with half a clue can get around.

    That's not the only problem. Ever since we got the Xtra Go Large package (unlimited downlands, fast as can be done) I haven't been able to access the Herald quickly. It can take up to a minute to load.... which of course gives me plenty of time to pop over to Public Address. Problem with Xtra, or with the Herald? Or (shush - don't say it too loud) with our Mac? Any advice?

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1300 posts Report Reply

  • Glen Wright,

    The best reason to get a local iTunes store is easy access to Cover Flow artwork.

    BTW. PA System crashed my Safari when I was registering on Friday. Seems to be working now (intel iMac). Herald is also slow on my iHug DSL.

    Since Nov 2006 • 29 posts Report Reply

  • tim kong,

    I'm of two minds on Apple Stores.

    On one hand - MagnumMac in Wellington has the single worst service of just about any store I've ever walked into my life.

    Their response when I took my G3 powerbook in - it had some intermittent flickering on the screen - was "Just buy a new one. Not even worth repairing".

    Customer and service is a non-entity - and I'm still fighting them for a credit on a box I bought that never worked.

    So an Apple store that had some friendly service and actually sold Macs on basis that most of us use them - ie. they're cool, they're fun, they look good - you know - all the reasons we can sell them to our mates and mums - that would be excellent.

    An Apple store like the one on Regent Street in London - which I'm guessing is the model for most of the Apple stores about the globe - that I'm not so keen on.

    It was the most anodyne, sterile, non-connected, non-inviting, non-engaging space i've ever been in. It was like a Comic-con, without the comics or the skantily clad manga models. Does every uber-Mac geek who carries the latest Macbook really have to dress like Steve Jobs??

    On a Kiwi itunes store - it doesn't help that I don't have an iPod anyway - but yeah, until they get the DRM sorted I won't be making much use of it. mininova for TV and documentary materials do me fine.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 144 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Ever since we got the Xtra Go Large package (unlimited downlands, fast as can be done) I haven't been able to access the Herald quickly. It can take up to a minute to load

    Interesting - I've also been having trouble with the Herald lately. It's really slow to load. It seems to get caught up on the top banner ad.

    Sometimes it'll load quickly, but normally it's painfully slow.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1849 posts Report Reply

  • Daniel Hodson,

    MagnumMac in Wellington has the single worst service of just about any store I've ever walked into my life.

    Tim - did you find anyone else in Wellington who was any good? Rolled into MagnumMac with my cheque book out a week or so ago, and was so put off by the disinterested staff who didn't seem to know anything about the hardware (except, perhaps, an iPod) that I gave up.

    And on the browser-compatibility thing, having awful problems with Firefox 2 on a Mac - it keeps chopping off letters, and typing this has taken about 10 minutes of weirdness. Seems fine in Safari, and on Firefox on a PC, so maybe it is me...

    Beijing, China • Since Nov 2006 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Sam M,

    Oh please please please let it be that Apple will be taking a direct presence in NZ! I'm still waiting for a new Mac ordered 3 weeks ago while the online Apple Store Australia claims to ship the exact same configuration in 5-7 business days.

    I've been told that I have another couple of weeks to wait.

    Another vote for Ubertec here. They have been very good to deal with.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I can't comment on private purchases, though I haven'talways heard the best things about MagnumMac. As a business purchaser of macs, Renaissance have only ever been great to deal with. We get systems within a couple of days, good client service, any problems stuff is replaced real quick, no problems getting samples or demonstration models for a play.

    So there's your answer, set yourself up as a business and go straight to the wholesaler.

    And there's no requirement to get your servicing done my MagnumMac either. Any apple certified person can service any Mac computer, regardless of where you bought it. http://www.apple.co.nz/wheretobuy/asp_list.php has a complete list. If you don't get satisfaction from one, try another until you find one that you like and stick with them.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6157 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Reid,

    BTW, anyone else have crashing problems with Safari on Public Address System?

    No problems with Safari at home or Opera at work. Occasionally misplaced type but nothing worst.

    That's not the only problem. Ever since we got the Xtra Go Large package (unlimited downlands, fast as can be done) I haven't been able to access the Herald quickly. It can take up to a minute to load.... which of course gives me plenty of time to pop over to Public Address. Problem with Xtra, or with the Herald? Or (shush - don't say it too loud) with our Mac? Any advice?

    I have the same problem, both on Mac and PC. I also get stuck with just the banner. I thought it was being so far away...

    With regard to service and Macs I have always had pretty good, if somewhat painful, service from MagnumMac in Christchurch. They replaced my white-spotted PowerBook screen (although the new one is doing it now too). I can't say I've had good or expert help from the Apple Store in Sydney nor the Apple Centers in Moscow (but that may be more a reflection of the usual Russian personality than anything to do with Apple). And in the land of allofMP3 there is little demand for iTunes here.

    South Africa • Since Nov 2006 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • John Holley,

    Having once worked for CED/Renaissance the picture is not as simple as "Renaissance Bad - Apple Aus Good".

    Certainly, for a long time, Renaissance has used the Apple business to prop up the failing/loss making parts of it's business - which have been several!

    But dealing with Apple Aus is not always easy. There was, and still seems to be, a complete avoidance on Apple Aus's part to the Consumer Gurantee Act in NZ. Basically, under the CGA, you should be able to get part and labour free for the first year and parts for year 2 and 3. Of course Apple's response is to get you to buy an extended warranty. (This is for personal purchases as business pirchases are excluded from the CGA)

    So if you machine dies after 18 months and they want to charge you for everything as "you should have purchased the extended warranty" just quote the CGA. If they refuse you can take them to the small claims tribunal (easy to do).

    The other thing people complain about is pricing. What most folk don't know about is the fact that in NZ mac prices there is a significant (5-7%) currency hedge applied by Apple Inc. I think, but don't quote me, that an additional hedge may be applied by Apple Aus. Oh for the day when we have Apple applying pricing like other vendors do - basically the establisment of a world wide price book. While Renaissance has to buy from Apple Aus/Apple Asia, who has to buy from Apple Inc prices will continue to be uplifted.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Luckily for me, if I feel the urge to buy a Mac, I have a pet Mac geek with a business account - who'd probably still import it. But being as I'm employed in an entirely PC environment, its just easier to have a PC at home. I guess I'm just lazy - The kids use Macs at school and have no probs transitioning to the PC at home.

    The Herald has been running like a dog for me for the past few weeks, I just figured our corporate firewall was playing up. Maybe someone should mention something to some at the Herald? I know some of them are reading this...

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 838 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen,

    Checked with Apple on this and was told the domain rego is renewed on a monthly basis - was set up like that by Conduit International Ltd. I asked why, when everyone does it on an annual or longer basis, but the person I spoke to didn't know...

    Anyway, the domain's been renewed until December:

    registrant_contact_name: Renaissance Ltd
    registrant_contact_address1: Conduit International Ltd
    registrant_contact_address2: Private Bag 92816
    registrant_contact_city: Auckland
    registrant_contact_province: Penrose
    registrant_contact_country: NZ (NEW ZEALAND)
    registrant_contact_phone: +64 9 9159100
    registrant_contact_fax: +64 9 9159101
    registrant_contact_email: DNSAdmin@thewebconduit.com

    However, the email addresses are going and it'll be renaissance.co.nz only. Focus on branding mumble mumble.

    Never heard of Conduit before, but it appears to be closely related to Renaissance Corporation Ltd, which holds all the shares in it.

    Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    Problem with Xtra, or with the Herald? Or (shush - don't say it too loud) with our Mac? Any advice?

    My suspicion is that it is specific to the Go Large package, as I can load up the Herald in no time on the Pro plan.

    I've been hearing a lot of complaints from people on Go Large that their speeds generally have gone up the duff since they switched.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • yossarian,

    Never heard of Conduit before, but it appears to be closely related to Renaissance Corporation Ltd, which holds all the shares in it.

    Conduit were setup by Renaissance after they inhouse developed a new information system (stock control, web sales, etc). They thought that they could sell this new product to recoup the sunk costs of development, it has been mildly successful.

    As for the Renaissance "bad" vs Apple "good" debate, I'll have to agree with John Holley. I'm also an ex-employee of the big red R and I totally agree that Apple Oz is certainly responsible for a significant amount of the angst at Renaissance. However Renaissance is also incredably adept at shooting themselves in the foot.

    The major advantage of R losing the distribution contract and Apple seting up shop locally is that the Apple Oz tax need not apply.

    Akl • Since Nov 2006 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • barnaclebarnes,

    And who is going to sell their shares in Renaissance? AFAIK they have had great growth over the last couple of years on the back of Apple. If they lose it then what happens to the share price?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 84 posts Report Reply

  • Murray Pawson,

    The Stooges boxed Complete Fun House Sessions is already on isohunt.com...search 'stooges funhouse', see Dead Boys vs The Stooges, all 7 cd's are there....free...and illegal...

    Since Nov 2006 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • yossarian,

    And who is going to sell their shares in Renaissance? AFAIK they have had great growth over the last couple of years on the back of Apple. If they lose it then what happens to the share price?

    Renaissance has little intrinsic value beyond it's Apple distributorship. If it were to lose that it's shares would tank.

    This is the main reason that I don't believe that they are about to lose Apple. If R staff knew this was about to happen then they would be required to inform the NZSX and request a trading halt.

    Akl • Since Nov 2006 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    As for the Renaissance "bad" vs Apple "good" debate, I'll have to agree with John Holley. I'm also an ex-employee of the big red R and I totally agree that Apple Oz is certainly responsible for a significant amount of the angst at Renaissance.

    I went to Macworld NY one year, at Renaissance's expense because Apple Australia didn't give a crap about NZ journalists. When we got there, the Apple Aust comms person proved highly adept at organising expensive dinner outings, less so at doing anything remotely useful for me. Interviews? Hah. I couldn't even get into the press conference, although, of course, the Aussie journalists did. The Renaissance folks were great, but they couldn't do anything about it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18656 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    I purchased an ibook about two and a half years ago in Melbourne while on holiday (at the time the cost of the laptop + flight to Melbourne was slightly less than the NZ price of the same laptop), and it has been working very well since then, as both an educational tool and a portable games machine (no, really!). At the time the price difference between Australia and NZ for ibooks was huge, and nearly non existent for Windows laptops. When I looked last week for a friend online I noticed the difference was still marked.

    Same model, different country

    NZ entry level Macbook: $2,359 (NZD)
    Au entry level Macbook: $2,019 (NZD)
    US entry level Macbook: $1,641 (NZD)

    (figures sourced from Apple's country online stores, currencies converted by XE.com)

    Now I know there are regional factors that mean one can never offer a straight comparison between pricing. Things like taxes, transport costs must be factored in, but wow, it is still a huge difference! I can't help thinking that a large part of that cost difference must just be the reseller's margin, and if they can operate a growing business on that margin then good for them. But I'll never buy a Mac laptop in NZ while they do, I'll just get one from Australia or the US and rely on the international warrenty. Hell, once you factor in the GST claimback at the airport in Australia the difference is greater still (if that dodge still exists).

    Oh, and I've always found Magnum Mac in Wellington really professional in terms of sales support and servicing my Apple products. I'd buy my next Mac off them if it wasn't so much cheaper overseas.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 878 posts Report Reply

  • yossarian,

    I went to Macworld NY one year, at Renaissance's expense because Apple Australia didn't give a crap about NZ journalists. When we got there, the Apple Aust comms person proved highly adept at organising expensive dinner outings, less so at doing anything remotely useful for me.

    Funnily enough I was on that trip. Your stories about being a "dubious package" cycle courier were most amusing :)

    Akl • Since Nov 2006 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Sarah Nathan,

    Yep, the Herald site is about as leaden as dial-up for me now. I am on Xtra's Explorer package (or something) on their new unlimited speed.

    When you have an iTunes gift voucher purchased from an Apple store in LA, the iTunes US store doesn't seem to care that your computer is registered in NZ - as long as your postcode is, say, 90210.

    Akld • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

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