Anyone who follows consumer tech can argue about what Apple really excels at and where their success comes from. But to me it’s one thing above all else. More than their technology and even more than their sales numbers (well sort of), what Steve Jobs’ company cares about most is the Apple brand and image. That iconic apple chunk that as evolved into their silver fruity visage since the days of Macintosh has become a beacon to Apple’s customers, even driving more serious fans to buy their products for no justification other than “Apple made it.”
That’s truth – I’ve known people and of people in the past that on more than one occasion would forego doing anything fun because they didn’t have any cash. They did however have a shiny MacBook Air. My little cousin wants an iPhone for no other reason than “Apples are cool.” She hasn’t the first damned clue about what it does aside from make calls. As much as I can’t stand hardcore Apple fanboys and fangirls though, they exist because the Cupertino King is just that damn good at managing his brand, and owning the customers’ sou... I mean creating the customer loyalty that goes with it.
They take great care in playing cloak and dagger to keep new products veiled in shadows and pushing the image that Apple stands for innovation, imagination and a sense of cool. As such, they monitor and control every aspect of that – from apps available the App Store to developers to swearing business partners to secrecy. So it would be fair to say that they treat, oh I don’t know, cheaply made knockoffs bearing the apple logo with disdain and lawyers, right? But what if the knock-off wasn’t just an iPad or iPhone, but an entire Apple Store?
That’s exactly what blogger BirdAbroad stumbled into near her home in Kunming, China. She mentions the influences of western culture taking hold there, with stores like H&M and fast food restaurants like KFC have been cropping up around that area. But an Apple Store in Kunming? Apple definitely has a Chinese presence, but in larger cities like Shanghai and Beijing. I’ve never even heard of Kunming before today, have you? It would be like a blogger in China writing about anywhere that's not New York, DC, Chicago, LA or Philadelphia. Her blog has a lot of pictures of the store, which does actually look like a legit Apple Store complete with legit Apple gear.