Westminster gives approval for makeover of London's first Apple Store
Calling the current Regent Street Apple Store's interior "tired and outdated," the City of Westminster has granted Apple authorization to make significant changes to the store, including a rare granting of permission to make some exterior modifications. The renovations are thought to be intended to bring the London store more in line with the latest design template, which has recently been showcased with a new Apple Store in Brussels. The company expects, according to plans put forth last May to remove double the size of the entrance, remove the front portion of the mezzanine, and change the current staircase from one into two, among other changes.
Updates to Apple Store highly likely to include new products
The online version of the Apple Store has gone offline, just under six hours before the Special Event scheduled to take place later today. The store is now displaying its multilingual "We'll be back" message, a usual sign that the company is in the process of adding new hardware or making changes to the product listings within the store itself, with the store likely to come back online shortly after today's stream finishes.
Company to rely more on natural light, stone facades in new design
The new design for standalone, non-flagship Apple Stores as mentioned in our recent story on the approval process happening in Tennessee has been revealed in filings with the Germantown Design Review Commission. The new design, which will also be used in stores opening overseas this fall, is not a radical departure from existing designs, but replaces the stainless steel facade with a granite paneling, and increases the use of natural light, plants, and other environmental elements.
Apple Stores said to be eliminating Apple Watch appointments this week
Apple will reportedly make changes to the way it allows potential buyers of the Apple Watch to try on the device, by removing previously-required appointments from the process. Said to be taking place sometime this week, Apple Stores will apparently start allowing anyone that enters the store the opportunity to try on an Apple Watch without booking in advance, reducing the time it takes for a customer to test out the device.
Apple offers $200 off Macs, free Beats Solo 2 headphone in promotion
Apple's online store has now officially kicked off the Back to School promotion begun in Apple Stores last month, offering up to $200 off Macs and throwing in a free pair of Beats Solo 2 headphones, which normally sell for $200. Buyers taking advantage of the promotion can, if they choose, upgrade the headphones to a wireless Bluetooth version for $100 more. The company is also offering up to $20 off on iPads.
Canton Road Apple Store continues aggressive Apple China expansion
Apple has opened up its latest Apple Store in China, with the Canton Road location in Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui district being the fourth outlet for the city. CEO Tim Cook took to Twitter to thank the "thousands of Hong Kong customers" visiting the new location and joining in the celebration of the store launch, with the 23rd Apple Store constructed in China being part of a major retail expansion in the country for the company.
Mastercard, MLB team up to offer Apple Pay for food, merch, tickets
Mastercard and Major League Baseball have announced that the July 14 All-Star Game and the ongoing All-Star Fanfest, both taking place in Cincinnati, will accept Apple Pay for tickets, food, and merchandise at the two events. The Fanfest, which opened today and will run through to the day of the game, is being held at the Duke Energy Convention Center.
Stolen computer prompts Dominican rapper to seek help from Apple Store
A struggling artist with a run of bad luck turned to the SoHo Apple Store in Manhattan to complete, in a piecemeal fashion, a full-length album on the store's Macs -- with some help from some employees. Following a computer that broke down and another that was stolen, Dominican immigrant and rapper Prince Harvey told his story to some sympathetic Apple Store employees, who assisted the young artist in completing his album.
Apple moves to require co-designed packaging for third-party accessories
Both in an interest to make the Apple Store experience more "premium" and possibly as a reaction to some poorly-regarded products, Apple is planning to encourage certain third-party manufacturers to accept new packaging for their products that is co-designed by Apple. Ironically, Apple is generally reluctant to display its own -- frequently award-winning -- packaging in its stories, and is allegedly working to improve its own product packaging as well.
All new Mini models now Retina display only, first-gen still available as refurb
Despite being on the list of devices that will be compatible with the forthcoming iOS 9, Apple on Friday quietly removed the original iPad mini from its online store, leaving only the second- and third-generation devices for sale as new. The company is still offering the original 7.9-inch device, but only as a refurbished unit now (starting at $209, $40 off its most recent retail price). The first-gen iPad mini was introduced in 2012.
Apple Stores to carry UP2 and UP3, other models in near future
Although Apple retail stores cleared out most fitness bands and similar health-related accessories in April in anticipation of the release of the Apple Watch, the company did continue to stock some basic bands such Jawbone's Up Move clip-on unit. On Thursday, a Jawbone senior executive revealed in Japan that the company's other models would be returning to the Apple Store in Japan and other regions, including the US, this summer.
First HomeKit accessories said to ship just prior to Worldwide Developers Conference
Just ahead of Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, which kicks off June 8, a number of manufacturers are set to announce the first HomeKit-compatible products arriving at retail, according to sources. The home-automation technology allows common household products such as lighting systems, environment systems, alarms, doors, and other items to be controlled through iOS app and Siri.
First UAE store will be 50,000 square feet, planned for August opening
A new report from Dubai indicates that Apple will build the world's largest Apple Store in the country's Mall of the Emirates that should open this summer. The facility will be some 50,000 square feet in total, and will be the first Apple retail store in the United Arab Emirates and Middle East, though a second one is said to be in the planning stages. The country has had an online Apple store since 2011, but the new brick-and-mortar store is expected to open in August of this year.
No foul play suspected; organic peroxide spill at FedEx facility ruined package
Four Apple retail workers at the Del Monte store in Monterey, California were hospitalized on Wednesday after a package intended for delivery to the store was contaminated at a FedEx depot with a high level of organic peroxide in what appears to be an accidental spill. The odor, rather than any direct contact, caused the workers to become ill, and forced the evacuation of the Apple Store and several nearby areas. A dozen people in total, mostly Apple workers, were nauseated by the chemical.
Apple Watch shipping times already blown out
Apple Watch pre-orders are now live in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK and the US, but only after a delay of several minutes past the scheduled go-live time. Despite renewed warnings that shipments would be constrained, some users may be disappointed, even shocked, to learn that some models may not be available until as late as August, according to live shipping information from the Apple Store. Users who seek an aluminum or one of the steel models might be getting theirs in a reasonable time frame -- but those hankering for a gold Edition could be waiting until August.
Apple Watch launches in store in select markets world-wide
Apple has officially launched the Apple Watch in stores, with Australian and New Zealand customers among the lucky first around the globe to finally get their hands on the smartwatch. MacNN and Electronista were on hand at the Penrith Store launch, about a hour west of Sydney, Australia. There were a small number of eager Apple fans keen to try on the device from a wide cross-section of age groups, but the throng of Apple Store employees on hand to mark the occasion easily outnumbered them. It certainly helped to create a buzz around the event. Pre-orders are now being accepted in the US and other countries, starting at 12:01AM Friday local time.
Apple to open another store in Hangzhou, China on day of Apple Watch launch
As if April 24 won't be a busy enough day for Apple with the retail debut of the Apple Watch in a wave of nine countries, the company will also open a brand new second Apple Store in Hangzhou, China on that Friday as well. The new location will be a more typical mall-type store in the MixC mall in Vietiane City, and comes just three months after the first Hangzhou store in West Lake, which was a two-story standalone store.
Store goes down hours ahead of Apple Spring Forward event
Apple has brought down the online Apple Store, ahead of its Spring Forward event later today. Expected as part of any major Apple event, the store went down at 8am ET/12pm GMT, hours before the event is due to take place, allowing the company time to make changes to product listings and to add new items, ready for when the store becomes available again shortly after the event ends.
Crowds gather for latest flagship China Apple Store event
Apple is opening its latest Chinese Apple Store -- this time a new, standalone store in Chongqing, the second Apple store for the city. Local media were allowed access to the interior as the previously-reported cityscape mural was removed to reveal an all-glass cylinder shape, similar to the store in Shanghai, with a glass staircase leading below ground to the actual store. This will be the third of five stores Apple has promised to open in China by the start of the Lunar New Year.
First of five new Chinese Apple Stores to open before Lunar New Year
A new Apple store based on its latest two-story designs (as seen in San Francisco and elsewhere) has opened in Hangzhou, China. As is typical for such openings, lines of enthusiasts trailed around the block to experience Asia's largest and latest Apple Store, the second in a series of five that will open around China by the start of the official Chinese New Year on Thursday, February 19. The first new store was opened in Zhengzhou earlier this month to similar acclaim and excitement.
Now available as a Fusion Drive, offering near-SSD performance
A 2TB capacity version of the Mac mini has reappeared in the online Apple Store, following the latest revision to the budget Mac that had removed the option, among other changes. In its most recent update, Apple removed the Mac mini "server edition" (though regular Minis can easily be made into servers still) and with it the 2TB hard drive storage option. The new 2TB model is limited to only the high-end, $999 configuration, but now uses an Apple Fusion Drive rather than a conventional hard drive.
Larger iPhone 6 Plus at 16GB now listing 7-10 day shipping for US models
The US online Apple Store has recently revised the wait time for an online-ordered iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, just in time for the holiday buying season. The units are still very constrained, but are slowly catching up with demand, based on changes to ship times on Apple's website. The two higher-end iPhone 6 models now have a US ship time of seven to 10 days, while the 16GB model now has a five-to-seven day wait time. The larger iPhone 6 Plus has dropped to a seven-to-10 day shipping window for the 16GB model, but still has longer times on larger-capacity units.
Personal hydrogen fuel cell from Intelligent Energy recharges smartphones, USB devices
A hydrogen fuel cell has gone on sale in the United Kingdom via Apple Stores. The Upp from Intelligent Energy, a company previously said to be in discussions with Apple over fuel cell technology, is a portable unit for providing extra power to mobile devices, and though it has a battery to store energy for future use, additional cartridges which provide extra power can be attached, ones which can be replaced once exhausted.
Pre-ordering breakfast, early Xmas shopping included in 'magical' checkout experiences
Rich DeMuro, a tech reporter for Los Angeles TV station KTLA, met up with Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue for a televised segment that aired Monday night, showing the two men shopping around town for various items and paying for them with Apple Pay. The spree, which took place in Santa Monica, included pre-ordering and paying for breakfast from Panera Bread using the app before the men even arrived at the restaurant, and later buying items from various retailers, including the Apple Store.
Apple Store app adds support for iPhone 6
Apple's Store app has been updated to reflect its updated iOS and latest iPhone release. Users of the Apple Store app can now start their Retail Store order on their own device, featuring a Browse function that displays trending products, as well as reviews for accessories. Apple Store v3.0.1 offers compatibility with the latest Apple mobile devices, including support for iPhone 6. Free to download, the Apple Store app is available on iTunes.
Hannover, Germany Apple Store to open Saturday
Apple's 14th store in Germany is set to open in Hannover this weekend. As has been previously reported, the planned location has been subject to delays due to building defects, with bad ventilation requiring additional attention. The grand opening is scheduled to begin the morning of Saturday, September 27.
New Zealanders must wait an extra week for first shipments
While buyers in North America must wait until tomorrow for the launch of Apple's new iPhone 6 lineup, Australia -- by dint of being on the other side of the international date line -- becomes the first country in the world to launch the new iPhones. A MacNN staffer visiting the Penrith Apple Store in New South Wales near Sydney has reported a "massive" lineup, consisting of hundreds of buyers outside the store.
Now syncs shopping sessions between devices using iCloud
Apple has released an update to its Apple Store retail app for iOS that takes cues from the iPad, with better image quality and improved navigations. The app now features a fresh interface design, and introduces a feature that automatically syncs activity on the app to other devices through iCloud, allowing shoppers to start a session on one device and pick it up on another, including desktop and notebook using a browser.
Dubai picked as location
The upcoming United Arab Emirates Apple Store will be the "biggest Apple has ever built," according to men's luxury magazine Edgar, citing an anonymous source. The person also says that Apple has picked Dubai's Mall of the Emirates as the site for the shop, and that it was originally planned to replace a current cinema complex. Based on the timing of Apple's job listings, it's thought that the store could open in the first quarter of next year. Currently, there are no Apple Stores anywhere in the Middle East.
Apple looking into receipt claim, but questions raised in victim's story
An Apple customer at a store in Portland, Oregon is claiming that his receipt contained a homophobic slur. Adam Catanzarite, an LBTGQ activist and HIV prevention specialist, received a receipt for a pair of Earpods that listed his email address (which he had declined to give) as "email@example.com." More than a month after the incident -- and following a claim that a promised refund didn't occur -- Catanzarite published a photo of the receipt on Facebook and called for a boycott.
200MHz faster i7 chips, 16GB RAM standard, Iris Pro graphics among improvements
A sign spotted by a Mac user at the new Paradise Walk Apple Store in Chongqing , China may have leaked the changes coming to the next lineup of 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, with the most dramatic being the bump up to 16GB of RAM as standard on all models, even the low-end unit. Assuming the sign is correct, all three models of Retina MacBook Pro will bump around 200MHz in speed, with the line jumping to 2.2GHz, 2.5GHz and 2.8GHz, respectively. It is assumed that the RAM in the Retina models remains non-upgradeable.
Edinburgh store now predicted to open August 2
Despite the country's relatively small population, support for Apple in Switzerland seems to be very healthy: the company just opened its fourth outlet, this time in the town of Basel, earlier this weekend. The new store adheres to the standard new layout, but because of the shopping district it is located in, the store sports somewhat unusual operating hours. The next Apple Store unveiling will again be outside the US -- this time in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is thought to be opening on August 2.
Chongqing store to borrow iconic look from Shanghai store, be located below ground
As part of Apple's effort to dramatically increase its retail presence in China over the next two years, a new store intended for the mega-municipality of Chongqing may copy an iconic design from its sister store in Shanghai: a large glass cylinder that serves as a landmark and entrance while the actual store is located below ground. A rendering of the proposed store shows plans for a glass cylinder kiosk entryway, though the store will also have a second entrance nearby.
Brushed aluminum staircase, 'green curtain' of foliage among highlights
A new video posted to its official YouTube channel has given interested viewers a sneak peak at one of the company's latest stores, ahead of its opening in Omotesando, a suburb of Tokyo, Japan. The store, which shares the latest Apple layout "design language" with other recent stores such as the Stanford 2 in California, is roughly twice as tall as the Stanford store, using giant glass panes to hold a thin aluminum roof, and also offers a second floor which until now has been under wraps.
Will feature a 'green curtain' of vines to help cool store
In preparation for its June 13 grand opening, the newest Apple Store in Japan -- and the first since 2006 -- has taken the wraps off its frontage, revealing all-glass walls on three sides of the building, an all-glass staircase leading below ground, and the general design language first seen in the "Stanford 2" Apple Store in California. The back side of the building, made of concrete, has been used to grow a "green curtain" of vines that will help naturally cool the building, as that wall get most of the direct sunlight exposure during the day.
'Green curtain' will take up one side of latest retail store, save energy
Apple's latest Japanese Apple Store, the Omotesando location in Tokyo, may feature a "green curtain" of vines covering one side of the building in an effort to reduce cooling costs. The foliage will cover a majority of an all-glass wall, and block sunlight from heating the interior of the building -- which will reduce the cost and need for air conditioning to keep the space cool, according to Mac Otakara.
Cuboid above-ground uses huge panes of glass, hides two full floors
The cover has come off the new Istanbul Apple store in Turkey a few days ahead of its official opening on April 5, and revealed a stunning new above-ground glass opening that leads down to a full two-storey Apple Store. The cuboid canopy, which acts as a skylight for the store, uses exceptionally large glass panes surrounded by a shallow pond, and is bound to be as iconic a piece of retail architecture as the company's showcase stores in New York City and Shanghai.
New Flagship store in San Francisco gains final approval
All obstacles have been cleared, and the long-planned Union Square flagship Apple Store has finally received final clearance from the San Francisco City Council to demolish the current standing building and begin renovations and construction on the new store. The new building will be a two-story structure with an all-glass frontage facing Union Square, utilizing a cantilevered design that features a patio and waterfall behind the store.
Crowds larger than the 1,500 anticipated
Apple opened its first store in Brazil on Saturday to an estimated crowd of 1,700, according to the Brazilian newspaper Globo. Eager shoppers began showing up as early as Friday morning, 163 of which ended up staying overnight in anticipation of the 11AM opening times on Saturday.
Performance artist begins queuing before release announcement
A Japanese blogger decided to line up for the iPhone 6, after being spurned of his chance to be the first person in line for an iPhone 5. Apple fan and performance artist Yoppy donned his iPhone cosplay, and started queuing for the new phone outside of the flagship Apple store in Tokyo, Japan, likely to wait for months before an official announcement will be made about its release by the company.
Store to become 'even more iconic' than New York Fifth Avenue showcase
Following a hearing on Thursday, San Francisco's Planning Commission has issued a preliminary approval "with conditions" of the final plans for Apple's new Union Square Apple Store. The design, which has undergone a number of revisions and tweaks to accommodate city concerns, now embraces a historic folk art fountain it once planned to shunt aside, and creates a seating area and plaza along its back wall, as well as a front facade featuring giant glass doors.
Follows visits to Ireland, UAE, mostly on educational tech topics
Apple CEO Tim Cook, already on something of a world tour following recent visits to China, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates, will meet once again with Turkey's President Abdullah Gül on Tuesday, presumably to further discuss a potential $4 billion iPad educational initiative as well as open the country's first-ever Apple Store, located in Istanbul. The store is a 21,500-foot facility in the city's Zorlu Center, and follows the opening of the online Apple Store for Turkey back in October.
Changes include new shape, height reduction and full-height bay windows
A revised filing scheduled for hearing with the San Francisco Planning Department on February 5 reveals changes to the proposed storefront and construction details on the new Union Square Apple store location in the Bay Area city. The 258-page filing for the 300 Post Street store outlines the 23,470 square foot store and outer areas where a Levi's store now exists.
Features 'top Valentine's gifts' and deadlines for holiday delivery
Taking a page from its own Christmas promotions, and coming on the heels of the asian stores' Lunar New Year celebrations, the online Apple Store has "redecorated" somewhat in preparation for the upcoming Valentine's Day holiday. It has added love-themed taglines, red graphical images and a new "Top Valentine's Gifts" section. The company also updated its Apple Store app for iOS to include the "Top Valentine's Gifts" section.
First total redesign since 2006 piles on new technologies
[Update: the US online store has now returned with pre-orders for the new Mac Pro; offering a Sharp 4K display as an option] The Apple online store worldwide has put up its familiar "We'll be right back" message in preparation for today's debut of the new Mac Pro. The redesign, the first complete overhaul since 2006, radically reimagines the entire concept of the professional workstation into a mini-tower design featuring all-external expansion and up to 1TB of PCI-e SSD storage (some 10x faster than conventional HDD storage), dual workstation-class graphics cards and a six-core Xeon E5.
Apple's new iPhone finally catches up to demand
Apple appears to have finally caught up to demand for its iPhone 5s, as nearly all models of the device are now available in Apple's US retail stores. This according to a new report from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster -- who surveyed 60 Apple retail locations -- and found that those stores had full availability of all color and capacity variations on each of the major carriers. Additional research done by others appears to support Munster's assertion.
Production finally catching up with demand in time for holidays
At one of the best possible times, Apple's production of the iPhone 5s appears to be catching up with demand, allowing worldwide online Apple Stores to offer the highly-prized smartphone -- even in the prized gold color -- with a shipping estimate of just 1-3 days for all carriers and capacities, the first time this has happened since its debut in September. The 64-bit smartphone, which has seen delays so severe that on occasion Apple's website offered no specific timetable for delivery, is now much more widely available.
Apple logo taken off glass front, new plaza planned, other changes made
A new Apple Store planned for the Union Square area of San Francisco has been in the planning stages for some time, but a new revision to the company's plans that specifically addresses some prior concerns may finally win approval. The iPhone maker submitted new renderings and a new 3D architectural model redesigning a planned plaza with a new water feature, preserving but moving (slightly) an existing fountain, and breaking up an originally monolithic steel wall along Stockton Street.
Internal document with possible typo points to November 12
[Update: now confirmed, Retina iPad mini now available] Earlier on Monday, an internal memo on Apple's own GSX website for repair providers advised that the Retina iPad mini was to launch in seven countries on Tuesday, November 12. Shortly afterwards, online Apple Stores around the world went down for unspecified maintenance, leading many to think that the date may be correct.
Limited countries only, redeemed through Passbook
Apple Store application users in the United States have had the ability to purchase virtual gift cards through the application for just over a year, but on Tuesday Apple expanded the program to a limited number of international countries through an Apple Store app update. The virtual gift cards, which can be shared to others for use in either the retail or online Apple Store, are redeemed through the Passbook application and now available in four other countries.