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Apple, can we have the cheap iPad now? please?

I was shopping today for some Christmas presents and I have to pick up an iPad Mini for my girlfriend. It’s not an option.

I think I have told you guys before that my girlfriend is a Macintosh fanatic. Its scary. Buying her something else for Christmas would cause problems for me afterwards.

Now before you say ‘Man Carl, she is a user!’. She actually isn’t at all. She doesn’t buy designer clothes, make up and demand a lot from me all year. We are saving up for a house, but Christmas to her is a big deal.

We have a great time with our families. Drink too much, watch terrible TV and buy each other expensive presents. It is the only time of the year we do it.

I just wanted to present a little background history before you think im dating a bimbo who just loves me for my fat bank balance.

It can’t be for my money, and it certainly isn’t for my looks. Im not the most charming either. I can’t rap, or dance, or kick box. I do make a mean curry however. That must be it.

Anyway back to the iPad Mini.

I would almost like to get her a Microsoft Surface, just for badness – and take a photo just as she opens the box on Christmas day – post it online.

But im not that brave. She loves her iPad 3 but she wants something ‘smaller’ for traveling.

Yeah, I know. Im a total wimp. that makes no sense to me either.

I end up in the Apple Stores more often than I would like. I am a total pushover. 6ft, skinny as my bones with glasses and a face that bigger kids (everyone) liked to punch in school.

So I headed into my local Apple store (which would normally be in Germany, but im living outside London for a while) today.

I walk into the store and its pretty busy as I would expect. Families are buzzing around the iPads and Macintosh computers and the sales people are flitting around trying to serve as many people as possible to hit their deadlines.

One sales guy behind me is explaining to an older couple how poor Windows is in relation to OSX (do they really need to do that?). He is trying his best to explain about DLL’s on Windows and how Macintosh use something much more ‘secure’ and they can actually self repair themselves. Not quite sure what he means, but me being Carl, I just walk on and ignore the nonsense. The couple look both confused and bored, so perhaps the guy needs to work on his pitch.

To be fair, ive never heard an Apple sales guy so anti ‘Windows’. Although im normally in an Apple store with my girlfriend so I ‘zone out’ completely as I listen to her telling me how great they all are.

I told you before I don’t like Fanatic tech fanboys. I make an exception for her, as I love her big puppy eyes and even though I think she is deluded at times her heart is in the right place.

Now, ill be honest. I do like the inside of the Apple stores. They are clean, well laid out and there are not a clutter of boxes everywhere. Its the complete reverse of a ‘normal’ computer shop which is normally a bunch of last generation video cards and a handful of disillusioned teenagers who are only doing this because their parents won’t let them smoke weed all day and watch porn on the internet.

Actually the store layouts are almost clinical. Or perhaps that is my interpretation of how they are designed. Clean? Tidy? Nah, ill stick with clinical, almost like I was going to get some fillings in my teeth.

So here I am standing in the Apple store.

Deep in my usual daydream, thinking about how they could do an ‘iDentist’ section in the store. The place is that clean it would work.

Just add a few luxurious white dentist chairs with the Apple logo cut into them and a couple of pretty Apple assistants in white medical outfits. Get your fillings done while you buy your new Apple product? Might work, who knows.

‘Sir, can I help?’

Wham, back to reality.

‘Yes, sorry I was thinking’ I add to the heavy sales assistant.

The sales assistant looks under pressure. A wealthy looking family behind him are eying a £2k Macintosh and he clearly wants to ditch me as quick as possible to get to them. I imagine he is hoping I want a new 17 inch Macbook and am not going to waste his time with stupid questions. I almost feel sympathy for the poor sod.

‘Have you an iPad Mini’ I ask?

‘Sure Sir, which size do you want? he adds.

‘Erm, its for my girlfiend, she uses it a lot, ill take the 64GB version please.’

‘Ok, do you want 3G he asks’. Probably having asked this 50 times today and on ‘autopilot’.

I pause for a second.

‘Yeah please’ I say.

‘Ok, ill be right back, ill go get one’. He smiles. I can imagine he is pleased I bought something and haven’t just came in to ask about something stupid then leave. Some other assistant is tending to the wealthy family now so he is in no rush to get me out the door.

Christmas in this store looks crazy. So many people crammed around the iPad section in the store.

I wait for him to come back. He motions me to the counter.

‘Thanks Sir, will you be paying by credit card?’ while keying in some codes into the register.

‘Yes I will be thanks’.

He takes my card.

‘Great’ he adds.

‘That will be £529.00, sir’.

I immediately snap out of my latest daydream which was based around automated Apple robots on the check out (iRobot?), with shiny white Apple logos on their chests and speaking in soft American accents.

‘Sorry, what did you say?’ I question in a slightly high pitched voice. Wow I sound like Britney Spears now.

‘£529 sir’. he reinforces while raising his eyebrow.

My mind races. Wasn’t this the Apple Kindle Fire competitor?

The £199 tablet from Amazon, that looks quite nice.

Wasn’t this the ‘low cost’ model for peasants like me?

The assistant says ‘Sir, are you ok?’.

Ok clearly he has seen the colour drain from my face, I thought I just felt faint there……

I go to speak, but my mouth is dry. I croak ‘Yeah, sure im great thanks’.

I pay for the iPad Mini 64GB, 3G and head for the iPad counter to check the prices.

Wow I should really research these things before jumping in. I thought the iPad Mini was meant to be a cheaper alternative for Apple to sell to struggling students and people with a smaller budget.

Clearly I really am in the wrong store. Yes, I feel like an idiot. Don’t laugh too much, the tears would be running down my face as I write this, although my blood is so cold they are frozen.

Steve Jobs may never have wanted the 7 inch iPad, but boy he would be happy at the pricing.

I feel like I have been at the dentist, its that painful. I vote for iDentist chairs in all their stores. Just like I said earlier, when I was much richer.

(with a substantially smaller bank balance)

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