Apple: Sardarapura Road vs. Chestnut Street

Face recognition on my iPhone wasn’t working. It just wasn’t.

I made sure everything was perfect with my phone before leaving home. My Indian friends didn’t like my old phone case–too obvious it held money and credit cards–so I got a new case with a secret compartment.

Plug adapter. Check. Extra charging cables. Check. Two external batteries. Check. Check. Everything backed up and up-to-date? Check. I tell myself the $10/day AT&T charges for international service is simply the cost of doing business. I tell my family and friends I will be as phone-available as always, just opposite side of the clock.

Ariel started to call me once and her phone warned her about the inconvenient time where I was.

They don’t call them smart phones for nothing.

But my face recognition didn’t work. It just quit. I could still use the password of course, but what if something really was amiss? I picked up the phone every other minute, showing pictures, taking pictures, sharing pictures, looking up exchange rates, and punching in the numeric password was inconvenient. And we’d be going off-the-grid to the village soon.

So I trotted off to the Apple Store in Jodhpur.

In some ways it’s just like my Apple store at home. There’s a genius bar. The latest and greatest in computers and phones are displayed on white dust-free counters. There’s whiz-bang wi-fi. The helpers are great. Prices are the same. And there’s an assortment of cases and other accessories.

End of similarities.

In Northern California where I live, if I don’t make an appointment ahead of time I practically have to put my elbow pads to get into the store. There are two greeters up front–iPads in hand–who do triage. If I want actual help I’m put in a queue and given an approximate wait time, 90 minutes or so usually. I’ll get texts to update me on my place in line. If I am five minutes late, the process starts again. It’s organized and friendly, but the store is so crowded that’s how it goes.

In Jodhpur, which has about the same population as San Francisco, there are no appointments, no greeters, and no need for triage. I got right in to see the genius, whose English was just fine. He looked up my phone up on the computer, purchased March a year ago. Quickly figured out there was a new software update. I didn’t have wifi access so hadn’t been able to do it yet. We plugged my phone in and started the update on their wifi.

“How many phones do you sell in a day?” I asked.

“Ten to 15.”

Remember I said prices are the same here. Quoted in rupees, of course, but divide by 69 rupees to the dollar and it’s the same. The average iPhone purchased today is brushing up to $800. The median family income in San Francisco is $96,265.

In Jodhpur the average annual income is the equivalent of $4,261.

An iPhone is an absolute luxury item here.

After the update finished we reset my facial recognition and it worked just fine.

While I was waiting for the update someone brought out a tray of waters, served in shiny copper cups. Indians take their hospitality seriously and one is always offered water or tea in every home or business.

No drink service at the Apple Store on Chestnut Street in San Francisco.

About Karen Ray

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One Response to Apple: Sardarapura Road vs. Chestnut Street

  1. Linda says:

    I’ll go to India next time I need service.

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