Entries tagged as Apple Store

Fukuoka again (1/2): Apple Store pickup & walk in the park

Mere 4 days after I dropped off my 1st generation Apple Watch at the Fukuoka Tenjin Apple Store, I was told by an e-mail that the repaired device was now in the store for pickup. The mail also said that I should come visit in one week unless I give the store a call to reschedule. Looking at the travel options to Fukuoka, it seemed to be better to make the trip sooner rather than later both in terms of cost and availability because of the various holidays in May and June. So I booked a single-day round trip for that weekend, returning to Fukuoka just one week since I left.

Busan subway line 1 was test operating the Dadaepo Beach extension that was supposed to officially open the in a few days when I rode it on April 15


I was to ride the 8AM Beetle hydrofoil service operated by JR Kyushu to go from Busan to Fukuoka this time with a US$79 round-trip ticket thanks to promotional pricing, but the check-in desk didn't open until 6:50AM and I didn't have much time between ticketing and boarding
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Fukuoka on foot (2/4): Museums, sights, and Apple Store

Having gone through the wharves and big parks, I headed northwest, walking about 20 minutes more towards Fukuoka Tower. More big things were ahead, including the very reason I was in this city in the first place.

On my way towards Fukuoka Tower, I saw the Fukuoka Yafuoku! Dome (Yafuoku = Yahoo Auctions), the home stadium of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks baseball team and a venue for large-scale concerts that can accommodate about 42,000 people


Near the Yafuoku! Dome was the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Fukuoka, displaying the information about expatriate voting for the 19th Presidential Election
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Half-day trip to Osaka for iPhone 7 (1/2)

Leaving for Osaka from Busan Gimhae Int'l Airport

Visiting Japan to buy the new iPhone on the launch day seems like it's become a regular thing, but a lot of luck is needed to make it happen Thankfully, I was still fortunate enough to make a quick visit to Osaka for an in-store pick-up. As my family was visiting Ulsan for the Chuseok holidays, I rode on the plane that departed from the nearby Busan Gimhae International Airport.

Nankai Railway ticket counter at Osaka Kansai Int'l Airport

A 75-minute flight later, I was at the Kansai International Airport. I moved quickly to ride on the Airport Express serviced by Nankai Railway because I had to make it to the Apple Store downtown before the reserved time was over.
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Got my iPhone 6S Plus Rose Gold at Osaka

That's 128GB version... and the official dock

The title says it all. I got my preordered iPhone 6S Plus at Osaka Shinsaibashi Apple Store on the launch day. Review coming soon!
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Apple Korea's iPhone 6 price is ridiculous

Apple Korea's prices for unlocked iPhone 6 Plus

Today, just one week before official Korean launch, Apple Korea has begun accepting orders for unlocked iPhone 6 series. The price (including VAT, in KRW) goes like this:

iPhone 6: 16GB 850,000 / 64GB 980,000 / 128GB 1,110,000
iPhone 6 Plus: 16GB 980,000 / 64GB 1,110,000 / 128GB 1,240,000

The nominal exchange rate is about KRW 1060 / US$ as of this writing, so the 6 Plus 128GB is about $1170 after taxes (or $1060 before). That's quite more expensive than the USA, where it's $949 before taxes. It turns out that Apple Korea is applying an exchange rate of KRW 1190 / US$, or KRW 130 (12.3%) more every dollar.

$649 x 1190 x 1.1 ~= KRW 849,500 (actual: 850,000)
$949 x 1190 x 1.1 ~= KRW 1,242,000 (actual: 1,240,000)

The baseline price that the mobile carriers have decided upon for selling the devices by themselves is only slightly cheaper by about KRW 30,000 50,000 to 60,000 (updated, see below). Yes, in Korea, even if you're entering a 2-year contract, the most expensive iPhone 6 Plus is more than twice as expensive as the US$499 that the people in the US is supposed to pay. Cheapest iPhone 6 should be about four times as expensive.

Apple Japan's prices for unlocked iPhone 6 Plus

To see how ridiculous this is, let's look at the next-door country, Japan. Apple Japan's prices (excluding tax, in JPY) are:

iPhone 6: 16GB 67,800 / 64GB 79,800 / 128GB 89,800
iPhone 6 Plus: 16GB 79,800 / 64GB 89,800 / 128GB 99,800

The applied exchange rate is about JPY 105 / US$, even though the nominal rate is higher at JPY 108 / US$. This means that Apple Japan is actually selling the iPhone 6 cheaper than compared to Apple USA.

$649 x 105 ~= JPY 68,100 (actual: 67,800)
$949 x 105 ~= JPY 99,600 (actual: 99,800)

To put this in context, let's say a Korean tourist decides to buy an iPhone 6 Plus 128GB or an iPhone 6 16GB in Japan and bring it back home. The person buying it in cash or credit card will have an exchange rate of KRW 9.98 / JPY as of this writing. Therefore:

JPY 99,800 x 9.98 ~= KRW 996,000
JPY 67,800 x 9.98 ~= KRW 676,000

That is considerably cheaper. Plus, the 8% sales tax is waived because of the tourist status, so the person doesn't pay more at the store. Once the person returns to Korea, the customs will impose the 10% VAT on the device for values exceeding US$600.

((99,800 / 108) - US$600) x 0.1 = US$32.40 = KRW 35,000
((67,800 / 108) - US$600) x 0.1 = US$2.78 = KRW 3,000

So how much cheaper would it be in the end?

iPhone 6 Plus 128GB: 1,240,000 - 996,000 - 35,000 = KRW 209,000
iPhone 6 16GB: 850,000 - 676,000 - 3,000 = KRW 171,000

Given that low-cost airline fares for a round trip between Korea and Japan costs around KRW 200,000 or less, the person buying an iPhone 6 (Plus) in Japan will essentially be getting a free trip to Japan for the cost of buying one in Korea. The only major issue with this is that the device will not be eligible for official repairs or refurbishments within Korea.

So if you're a Korean who likes traveling and wants to buy an iPhone, and don't mind going to 3rd party repair shops, then reserve a phone at an Apple Store in Japan and book your flight to pick it up. All this thanks to the outrageous price-gouging by Apple Korea.

Update (16:30): I've taken a look at the prices for LGU+ (3rd largest mobile carrier in Korea) and this is how it goes:

iPhone 6: 16GB 799,000 / 64GB 920,000 / 128GB 1,041,000
iPhone 6 Plus: 16GB 920,000 / 64GB 1,041,000 / 128GB 1,162,000

It's slightly cheaper than what the iPhones traditionally cost from mobile carriers in Korea. It might be because this is the first time LGU+ is able to sell iPhones and it wanted a bit of price advantage.

Update (2014-10-31 10:20): There have been some adjustments and the three carriers have finalized the prices as follows:

iPhone 6: 16GB 789,800 / 64GB 924,000 / 128GB 1,056,000
iPhone 6 Plus: 16GB 924,000 / 64GB 1,056,000 / 128GB 1,188,000

It seems the carriers are trying to boost the total iPhone 6 sales overall by making the cheapest look cheaper. But the other models have increased in price to be just about KRW 50,000 less expensive than the Apple Store price across the board. But since the carriers will charge interest for the monthly installments during the contract period of two years, the total cost should be about the same in the end.
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