In the UK, it’s sometimes difficult to tell what Apple thinks of the country. On one hand, you’ve got it building one of the finest Apple stores in the world on Regent Street. On the other, Apple didn’t show up to the MacLive Expo last year, which has resulted in a name and focus change to CreativePro Expo, leaving the UK without an Apple Expo of its own, and also disregarding consumers.
Professionals will either have to go to Paris or put up with a lot of Windows on display (during prior ‘joint’ shows of this kind in Britain, the balance was weighted at least two-to-one in favor of Windows), but at least consumers shouldn’t have too many problems accessing Macs, due to the British mainstream continuing to embrace Apple products.
Time was that Macs in the UK were some mysterious device that you could only sample by braving a typically snooty Mac reseller–and that’s if you could find one. Now, Apple has a bunch of its own stores, several branches of the John Lewis department store carry Macs, and upmarket high-street retailer Marks & Spencer also offers Apple products (including iMacs) in its larger stores.
However, the most telling example of the potential for Apple’s resurgence in the UK is found in the Argos catalog released this weekend. Argos is the largest retailer of general goods in the UK, with over 700 stores, which are basically fronts for warehouses. The idea is that you grab a cataglog, take it home, mull over purchases, and then select and pay for items in-store, where they’re picked up from the collection desk.
Although Argos has an online service, akin to the likes of Amazon, its high-street presence means it’s arguably just as important in the UK from a retailing perspective. And the point of this post? Argos now stocks Macs.
In the latest catalog, three flavors of MacBooks are on offer, along with the 20’ iMac. Although pricey compared to the PC junk Argos also carries, the Macs really look the part, shouting ‘buy me!’ from the page. So now, perhaps for the first time ever, Macs–rather than just iPods–are truly accessible to everyone in the UK.