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Every time I visit the holy land I am surprised by the fewness of mac users. I suppose one explanation is that, as much as it pains me to admit it, Microsoft does better job with Hebrew than Mac OS. Another explanation is that there is only one seller of apple products and prices are the same in all stores. Israelis are not necessarily reluctant to spend money, but they like to compare prices and to bargain. In the pc market there are sufficiently many manufacturers, stores and “special offers”’ to give all the buyers the utility from believing they got a better deal than their brothers. (I am an exception — I don’t care how much I pay, and I hate bargaining. I only need to know that everybody pays the same price. But I am a mac user)
These explanations notwithstanding, I still think the weak presence of macbooks in Israel is an anomaly. There are simply too many tech-savvies who do their aimless surfing and write their first novels on a pc. In fact, I am sometimes the only person sitting around in Arcaffe with macbook !
So suppose you are Apple and you want to claim ownership of these customers, who by right and tradition belong to you. There is an easy and cheap way to get the attention of this lot, which brings me to the decision of the Israeli Ministry of Communications (Yea, there is such a thing. We have ministers for everything and also ministers for nothing) to confiscate iPads from travelers entering Israel. I have already read several commenters in Israeli websites suggesting the most obvious theory about this decision: It’s a marketing trick. Somebody in Apple has `accidentally’ forgotten to provide the necessary documents, or found some other way to convince the government that iPad does not comply with some standards, so that in a couple of weeks, when the ban is lifted just in time for iPad’s official release in Israel, it will be labeled as the cool gadget that frightens the dumb bureaucrats from the ministry of communication. Already in my next trip to the homeland in June everybody in Tel Aviv will be using iPad.