Cassandra - Midweek Thursday Morning at the Apple Store, IconSiam - A Photo Essay
By Graham K. Rogers
With the anticipated crowds on Saturday, I had no intention of attending the opening of the first Apple Store in Thailand. I looked at the pre-opening videos (impressive) and the postings on social networking sites and with the hundreds waiting for the doors to open, was confident my decision to stay away for the time being was right. I also noted that there were as many attending on Sunday, although I was out with my camera shooting film in the main railway station.
I had decided to wait until later in the week and visit IconSiam before noon, in the hopes that there would not be crowds, either in the mall itself or in the Apple Store. My plan also included the film camera, as my DSLR was on the way to Switzerland: I had lent it to a friend whom I will own, body and soul, should anything happen to my Nikon. As I had several rolls of film for developing, it seemed a sensible idea to take some more photographs at IconSiam then take all the rolls to AirLab for developing.
Having seen the video from Spin9 earlier, I had mentioned that this store looked larger than the stores at Union Square, San Francisco, or Regent Street, London. On entering from the direction of the mall, the impression was less dramatic and I may want to revise my size estimates. It is big, for sure, but I am no longer sure if it is larger than those other stores, or if it is, by how much.
Staff in the store were polite and a couple were proactive: seeing me with the larger camera, they came up to chat, but there was no hard sell. One of the staff members, who was up from Singapore, mentioned that there was a photo workshop this weekend. While I was in the store, there was a music-related event outlining how to use software. These types of workshops are going to be really useful.
While the sales staff wore dark blue t-shirts, security were in white polo shirts, but unlike security personnel anywhere else in Bangkok, they were low-key and even smiled.
As well as the Hasselblad, I had the iPhone X, so when I had the opportunity took photos with both. I will have to wait until the weekend to see the film output (and then scan it), but I have edited some of the iPhone images and they are here on this page.
As well as inside, I had a look outside the store, at the veranda overlooking the ChaoPhraya river. A lot of work has been done on landscaping here and the large space is shared with other stores, like the Greyhound Restaurant. I was particularly keen to look closely at the glass which has six layers of laminate for the main glass panels. Comparing with the people outside, I estimate these panels are about 15m high. Similar glass laminate is used for the balcony overlooking the river.
This first visit was all too brief and I hope to return fairly soon. As a first venture, albeit long-overdue, Apple has a good start here. Visitor numbers are probably skewed - at least for the time being - as its novelty has drawn the crowds, including some visitors who might never have stepped inside a technology-oriented store previously. Some of the ladies I saw were wearing some clearly-expensive clothes. Jeans and college uniforms were visible in the main. People make the difference.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)