ABU DHABI // Walking into Mohamed Jawad’s house is like walking into a museum.
Macbooks, Powerbooks, iBooks and every iPhone, iPad and iPod in every colour are parts of his extensive collection of Apple products.
Apple’s first tablet, a 1993 personal digital assistant called Newton, Macintosh Portable, the first battery-powered portable Mac computer, and one of the world’s first consumer digital cameras, the Apple Quicktake, are some of the many relics he has acquired since he started collecting in 2001.
“They’re the Apple of my eye,” declared Mr Jawad, 32, a project engineer and self-proclaimed “Appleholic”.
“Before Apple, digital products weren’t fun or simple. As an engineer, I was captivated by the solutions and the industrial design of each product. Cramming in everything into a small device is an art in itself.”
The Emirati, from Abu Dhabi, has a master’s degree in engineering management from Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley, 15 minutes from Apple’s Cupertino, California headquarters.
On Mr Jawad’s graduation, his friends at Apple gifted him an iPad mini that was autographed by the iPad mini development team.
“It meant so much to me because it summed up my experience at Silicon Valley,” he said.
One of his favourite places is the Apple company store in the Cupertino area – the only place in the world that sells Apple logo T-shirts, pencils, card holders and other accessories.
Mr Jawad recalls hanging out there with the Apple’s co-founder, Steve Wozniak, during the release of iPhone 4s in 2011 as a magical moment.
“Wozniak is the original Apple genius who single-handedly created the first two Apple computers. He was answering our questions, talking to the media and sharing anecdotes with us. It was a magical experience.”
Mr Jawad does not like talking monetary value of his Apple collection, which is conservatively estimated at Dh367,000.
“You can’t put a price on them. They’re pieces of history. They’re a time capsule of innovation and a testimony of Apple’s illustrious history,” he said.
His collection was a culmination of years of international hunting, vintage tech store visits, online auctions and through friends who worked at Apple.
“My best friend is an Apple engineer and together we delved deeper into the magical world of Apple. I was immersed in this world. Even my professor at Santa Clara was a director of portables at Apple. Visiting the Apple Campus was something I did frequently just to see my friends and hang around in one of the most inventive places in the world,” said Mr Jawad.
“Until recently, Apple products maintenance in the UAE was not available. Being an engineer, I was able to teach myself a few things and got involved in the products’ inner works. I’m your Apple go-to guy.”
The one item Mr Jawad would love to have in his collection is a rare Apple-1 computer, built in Steve Jobs’ garage in the summer of 1976.
One was sold at auction last year for a record-breaking $905,000. There are, at most, just 15 fully functional Apple-1 models in existence.
Mr Jawad takes part in IT exhibitions throughout the UAE and hopes to one day have a museum where his collection is on permanent display.
For his day-to-day use, Mr Jawad has a Macbook air for portability and an iMac for professional and editing purposes. Since he acquired the latest iPhone 6 Plus, however, he is finding less use for his Macbook air.
Mr Jawad is excited by the release of the Apple watch.
“I think its beautifully designed and is going to be a big hit. The features, software and hardware mesh so well together.”
His wife, Alaa, is also an Apple fan even though she admits that she was not when they were first married.
“I wouldn’t say I’m fixated on Apple like he is, but it wasn’t difficult for me to understand his eagerness and enthusiasm for Apple products,” she said.
“Storage space, however, is a whole different story,” she said jokingly.
Apple still has not opened an official retail store in the Middle East but recent job postings by Apple suggest that it is preparing to open one soon.