The Slovenia Times

Apple Mania Finally Hits Slovenia



It all started at the end of January when the iPad - Apple's market-leading tablet computer - hit the shelves of the official Apple store in Slovenia. Tablets in general have proven to be a big hit in the computer and gadget market and Apple's device, being the most stylish and easiest to use, has very much been the one to own. From the beginning of the year, it has no longer been necessary for Slovenian enthusiasts to be ingenious and import products from neighbouring countries. The price difference still existed but compared to the initial investment of few hundred euros it was not a serious obstacle when considering users get local support and service. Too bad Apple doesn't offer and public sales figures for local markets so it is everybody's guess how many iPads were sold in first six months. Our best guess is a few thousand.
The first week of May was another milestone the iPad 2 hit the shelves. It is another crowd catcher as it further improves the already famous user experience. Among the main reasons people go crazy over iPad is the attraction of new uses of information technology. These sleek tablet computers offer a highly intuitive and easy to use platform - the experience the touch screen offers is quite different than conventional computing.

Take the tablet

More and more tablets are also used for business purposes, education, in medicine and other fields. One of the key strengths and the reason why iPad sales in the world and now in Slovenia are far ahead of competitors is of course content. Some 350,000 applications are already available in Apple's "App Store", of which more than 65,000 are specially designed for the iPad. Finally, iPads are quite affordable for an average Slovenian (prices start at EUR 499 for iPad and EUR 599 for iPad 2) and come in two main versions which differ in connectivity features. The one that also offers mobile network connectivity (3G) besides standard wireless connectivity is still struggling with sales as mobile data rates are still quite high in Slovenia.
According to Jure Forstnerič, Head of laboratory at Monitor computer magazine, the iPad's biggest strength is that "like all good technology, it gets out of the way while you use it. You simply forget that you're holding a computer-like device, instead, you have in your hands a website, a book, a game or a movie. Not only does it 'just work', it works seamlessly, quickly and efficiently. The breadth of excellent applications for it is staggering, and more are popping up on daily basis. It is what I've always wanted in a semi-mobile device. Years ago I bought the original mini notebook icon, the Asus EEE PC, and while I used it extensively for years, the iPad blows it (and all other netbooks) out of the water."

iPhone causes a true mania

The popularity of Apple in Slovenia was further bolstered on June 10 when Si.mobil,the second largest mobile operator in Slovenia, finally found a way to bring the iPhone to the country. The situation resembled those in the States when a new Apple product is launched. People were standing in lines in front of the shops that had iPhones in stock. Sales people at Si.mobil commented that already in the first week a few thousand iPhones were sold and it all looks like that iPhone will become best-selling phone in Slovenia by the year's end.
"The Apple iPhone has been a long-standing desire of our users and apparently is still the most desirable mobile phone in the universe," says Jure Bohinc, Head of Corporate Communications at Si.mobil. "We were pleasantly surprised with sales as we weren't used to such big crowds in front of our shops. We even prolonged the working hours on the first day to 10pm. The reason for such an elevated interest is certainly also an advantageous price, because the newest iPhone can be had in all packages starting from 1 euro. Most users have chosen this buying option with according changes to their valid contracts. In short, it is important that users are finally able to buy the iPhone at an affordable price with all the necessary support."
Si.mobil is offering the new iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS models as well, all starting from one euro buying price if users agree to extend their mobile contract for two years and sign and data plan lease. This means their monthly mobile phone bill will be around EUR 50. For many Slovenians, it is a small price to pay to finally have the world's best known smartphone in their pockets.


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