Down But Not Out

Apple's New Zealand Roadshow and New Zealand's Mac Mag

Dirk Pilat - 2003.02.12

A very good day to everyone!

Today we will have two lots of NZ-specific topics. Yes, no boring antics of my traveling life and my dependency on Apple products today, but true blue Kiwi Content!

"Why?" I hear you scream in astonishment. Well, the main reason is that I'm back in NZ, which makes writing about the place much easier than if you're hopping from one country to the other on the other side of the world. (Two "other" in one sentence. I apologize humbly to the members of the academic departments for the English language all around the world, but I didn't manage to turn the sentence any other way. Again, humble apologies.)

So, what happened? Well, Apple decided to spread the word a bit, and so Renaissance Ltd. (which in fact is Apple NZ) organised an Apple Roadshow to demonstrate to us the power of OS X (again?) and the new machines.

The show had its premiere today in Dunedin, so I entered the crappiest car ever and drove the 100 km down. Why in the world they started the bloody thing at 12:30 and closed it at 18:00, when most of their target group is at work, is unfortunately a complete mystery to me. Why bother setting the thing up anyway?

Anyway, they began with a presentation of the new product lineup, some cheeky Australian chappy telling us all about the benefits of OS X (again?), and some kiwi bloke then showed us the new ads (that's the old ads for you, the one with that basketball player and Warwick Davies in the plane), which all of us of course already checked out on the QuickTime site.

Then four people won prizes, and we were all invited to the exhibition: ca 15 companies showing their Apple related merchandise, and Apple showing off the new gear (unfortunately, apart from the 17" PowerBook). I have to admit that I wasn't overwhelmed: The presentation was geared towards the Classic/Windows user who still hadn't made the switch, and the hardware presentation just stated technical facts every fan already knew by heart.

Interestingly enough, the ca 200 strong audience seemed to consist to 75% of gentlemen over the age of 65. The rest was made up of the usual expected mix of nerds and designers (about the same as the London Macintosh User Group). I always thought that Apple would attract a younger audience, but, hey, I am not a spring chicken myself, so who am I to complain...

One of the exhibitors was New Zealand's only Mac mag, MacGuide, which has the wonderful endearing slogan. "All Mac. All Kiwi." The inside is colourful, well designed, and geared mostly towards entry-level users who are still wondering what to do with their shiny new machines. Some of the nontechnical editorial content is pretty good, as the recent article on use of Macs at Wanganui's School of Design.

Their sales manager was certainly a nice bloke and unashamedly proud of their product. Unfortunately, there's nothing for the hard-core user, but we normally get our news from Low End Mac anyway, so nothing's really lost.

Now in it's second year, they print about 12,000 copies (pretty good for a NZ only title) and have 1,300 subscribers. I certainly wish them well, as a well written homegrown Mac title was just what this place needed.

So all is not lost yet!

As promised, two Kiwi stories. Happy? If you have more issues you want to see torn apart by my horrible English, go to the Pilum and tell me!

Cheers. LEM

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