Originally Posted by solipsism
I missed the part where you waited a month. Your telco made you wait that long? Sometimes I forget how nice it is to live in a city with an Apple Store.
Yes, there are many things we take for granted in the developed world. When you move to a developing country, certain things just fry your brain. It's even more frustrating returning to your birthplace, as I have, after a long time away, and seeing the lack of progress in areas where it really matters. Such as transparency, accountability, organisation, etc.
The iPhone 4 was launched here in September last year. I signed up with one of the three telcos offering the iPhone 4. They have reasonable 3G coverage and sensibly-priced iPhone 4 plans. However for a few months now, they quote a one-month waiting list to get any iPhone 4 fixed. They claim there is a backlog, not enough stock or whatever for replacement units.
Of course they're still happily signing up new iPhone 4 contracts, surprise surprise, no stock issues there.
Apple would not be where it is now without official Apple Stores. It has been critical to their success to have a "refuge of last resort" to be attended to. Besides all the other functions it serves.
In countries where you're dependent on only the telco to service your iPhone, you're pretty much thrown to the wolves if the telco loses interest in keeping iPhone supply and service up to par. Macs and iPads are not that bad because those can be taken care of by Apple Resellers and Apple Authorised Service Providers who specialise in Apple sales and service.
You can see why Apple is interested in official Apple Stores in China. They have some work to do, but they see that growing and managing the brand through official Apple Stores is very important. They can't leave it purely to the Chinese telcos, Apple resellers and scalpers who will try to do whatever they please.
Australia is kind of the poster boy for why Apple Stores are important. For a long time things were done through resellers. However given the nature of Australia being quite similar to the US, Canada and Europe, Apple decided to go in themselves and things have never been better.