Havana Genius Bar

Approximately 2 years ago, I wrote a post on Apple products in Cuba mentioning the penetration this brand has made into the Cuban psyche. Last week Business Week published an interesting piece called “Havana Genius Bar”. It seems writer Elien Blue Becque paid a visit to Cuba with a busted iPhone… one that the United States Genius Bar deemed as trash. Upon landing in Cuba, he tested out Cuba’s ingenuity… The rest is the writers words…

“On my second day in Havana I pass a small electronics store in the once-upscale Vedado neighborhood and stop in. Fishing the useless slab from my bag, I ask, ‘Is there anyone who might know how to fix this?’ The woman at the counter heads to the back and returns with a thin slip of paper bearing an address in the Miramar neighborhood. A kid wearing white-framed Ray-Bans nods when I knock on the green plywood door at the destination.”

With zero Apple stores in Cuba, it seems the Palo Alto company is branded pretty tight in the Communist nation not selling any American goods (can we mention the fact this young Cuban engineer was rocking Ray Ban’s too?). To refresh the Apple topic, all I can say is that when I visited the Havana Biennal April 2012, instead of the usual Nike stickers I spotted from 2000-2004, this time it seemed Apple white stickers were gracing car bumpers instead. I asked one of the drivers, “Why an Apple sticker?”. The driver replied, “Here in Cuba, we really love and respect these products.. even if we can’t buy them here”. In 2004, Rapper Mikki Flow listened to an Apple iPod in East of Havana while grinning in amazement… calling it “a counter-revolution”.

Read the “Havana Genius Bar” piece here at BusinessWeek.

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