Apple’s products are usually of high quality, on the bleeding edge of innovation and always - cool. None of these characteristics are applicable to Apple retail service. Yes, stores are clean and cozy and the online store - very intuitive, but those are about the only positive things anyone can say about shopping at Apple. The producer of iPods has very outdated (hence weird) distribution rules. They are trying to protect regional distributors from the cannibalization of each-other’s businesses, by enacting a plethora of constraints, governing who can sell what, where.

Couple days ago, I was looking for a Macbook Air with French keyboard layout for a buddy of mine. I called a local Apple store (one of the largest in the area) and inquired about the availability of a French layout. I got a very cold “no way” in response. Not willing to give up, I asked what would somebody need to do in the US, if he or she wanted to get a laptop with French keyboard layout.

“In order to get one, you will have to fly to Paris or Canada, at least”

  • was the “response of reason” that left me speechless.