Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ateneo's iCampus Apple Store

REPOSTING a tech news story I wrote last year for the Infotech section of the Manila Bulletin.


LIKE the proud father that he is, noted film and TV commercial director Jeric Soriano was quite emphatic in telling the story of how his son, a 19-year old student at the Ateneo De Manila University learned now to edit film and video using Final Cut Pro, Apple Computer’s professional editing software. “My son told me, ‘Dad, I just clicked some buttons and it just worked. It’s so easy. It’s not threatening. It’s a tool that just works with you,’ he said. And I thought that was just amazing.”

Soriano was saying this at the tailend of an inspired presentation on Apple Education or the advantage of using Apple products as digital learning tools during the recent launch of iCampus, the first in-campus Apple store of Senco Link Technologies at Ateneo. The store, which had its soft opening three months ago has been a hit with the strong Mac user population of the Loyola Heights-based university.

Together with Rodolfo Ang, Dean of the university’s John Gokongwei School of Management and William Mallari, Director of Loyola School Bookstore where the Apple Store is physically integrated, Senco Link Managing Director Patrick Yeung discussed and conceptualized what would later become as iCampus.

“There has been a clamor to make a store like this accessible to our students,” says Mallari who also admitted that sales have been very good since the store opened. “During our talks with Patrick Yeung, we emphasized the importance of giving discounted prices for students, in aid of their education so we negotiated for that.” So while Apple does in fact give education discounts in general, Mallari and later Ang both said that iCampus prices are exclusive to Ateneo students, faculty and employees.

In justifying the partnership with Senco Link to build an Apple store in-campus, Ang said that Apple stands for “excellence, innovation and service” which are also the same core values of Ateneo. “If people are known by the company they keep, then we’re glad to be in the company of Apple.”

Yeung, for his part, admitted that iCampus is in fact the second in-campus Authorized Campus Reseller store of Senco Link, who also operates the iStudio chain of Apple stores in Metro Manila. “Our first in-campus store is located in Hong Kong University and it continues to do well. We’re also in talks with International School, Assumption College and Xavier School for other possible Apple stores in the near future. This is very much in line with Apple Education’s mission in providing a more digital learning environment for students.”

But it is Soriano’s spirited talk that remained the highlight of the iCampus launch. Soriano, who is also an Advisor to the Digital Media Department of the New Life Christian Center evangelized on the significance of Apple products what he describes as an ongoing Digital Revolution. “People don’t think in words, people think in pictures,” he enthuses. “People are by nature, visual. The words that we see in a computer screen produce a picture in our head. We inform, influence and inspire by thinking in pictures.”

He recalled how he used a manual typewriter to get his work done when he was just starting out when a friend later suggested that he get a computer that “works like a point and shoot camera.” That computer was an Apple computer and since then, he has yet to use anything else. He now likens his MacBook Pro notebook and its integrated iLife and iWork software to a “portable studio that can be used to create anything, anywhere and anytime.”

“So why is Apple creating such tools?,” he asked. “Because it believes in educating the next generation. As it is, Apple products are already allowing us to tell our stories our own way.”

And with stores like iCampus, future storytellers at least from within the Ateneo campus community can now tell their own stories with digital learning tools from Apple purchased at special student prices.

The i-Campus-Ateneo is located at the Loyola School Bookstore located at the ground floor of the Manuel V. Pangilinan Student Leadership Center at the Ateneo De Manila University Loyola Heights Campus.

We don't have a video of iCampus but to have a clear idea of what an in-campus Apple Store is like, here's one in Monterrey, Mexico:

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