updated 12:30 am EST, Thu November 7, 2013
Dates thought to be connected to new products, but reasons could be more mundane
Apple retail stores around the world will be operating under "special hours" and closing two to three hours earlier than normal on November 17 and 18, likely to attend an "all-hands" meeting for new product updates that may or may not include the new Mac Pro or iPad mini (or both). Outside the United States, stores in a number of countries -- including much of Europe, Canada and East Asian countries -- have posted notices warning of the early closure hours.
The dates are thought to be around the time that Apple should be debuting the Retina iPad mini to stores, but it is also possible that the closures are related to ordinary quarterly meetings or a holiday-season employee rally to boost morale for the long and gruelling weeks ahead, reports AppleInsider. Apple is also expected to begin offering the new Mac Pro in its stores later in the year, and the meetings could offer employees a sneak peek of the machine.
It is, however, unusual for Apple to close stores early just for employee pep talks or quarterly meetings, but the company has recently caught some flack over its insistence that employees stay for such meetings even if they are officially "off the clock." A group of former employees have sued Apple over the issue, saying they are owed overtime for the extra hours required for meetings or employee belonging searches and other rituals.