Modi urges Cook to set up manufacturing facility, Apple Pay in India
Following a meeting with the President of China, Apple CEO Tim Cook has also met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as we reported previously. According to a report in the Times of India, the two discussed the possibility of Apple setting up manufacturing facilities in the country, as well as how Apple Pay might be implemented there. Cook is said to have "responded positively" to both proposals, which could open the door to official Apple Stores in the country.
Joswiak in New York, Ahrendts in London, Wozniak in California
[Updated with Tim Cook spotting] At least three of Apple's executive team, and its co-founder, have been spotted at various Apple Stores as part of the celebrations surrounding the launch of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus around the world on Friday. Apple's retail chief, Dame Angela Ahrendts was at the Covent Garden store in London, while CEO Tim Cook was spotted in Georgetown, and VP of iPhone Marketing Greg Joswiak appeared at the icon "glass cube" Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City. The day also marked the debut of new gray t-shirts for the worldwide retail team. Steve Wozniak, as is his custom, stood in line with fans in Santa Clara to get his new iPhone.
Apple India pushing HQ for new iPhone to arrive early ahead of Diwali holiday
Apple CEO Tim Cook will meet with the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, when Modi is visiting the US west coast in late September. The Indian PM may be meeting with Cook to help persuade Apple to invest in building or investing in manufacturing or R&D facilities in the country, which has a large and capable pool of tech workers and is an important developing market for the iPhone maker. Cook, for his part, may also be interested in bringing directly-owned Apple Stores to the country for the first time.
Voice activation, photo pre-recording stays local, not transmitted anywhere
Ahead of tonight's appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Apple CEO Tim Cook has made a number of appearances at Apple Stores around Manhattan, all of them unannounced, meeting customers and employees. In addition, he and the company have been doing some groundwork on promoting Apple's latest technologies, including clarifying the privacy situation regarding the optional "Hey Siri" always-on feature, or the camera recording in Live Photos, both new features coming with the latest iPhones.
Apple CEO to meet up with new Apple Watch fan Stephen Colbert Tuesday night
New The Late Show show host Stephen Colbert has announced that Apple CEO Tim Cook will be a guest on the Tuesday, September 15 episode of the program through a humorous tweet, showing an image of a delighted Colbert with his Apple Watch saying "Siri, put Apple CEO Tim Cook on my calendar for Tuesday, Sept. 15. Oh, and come up with some questions to ask him."
Apple now selling third-party Apple Watch accessories in Apple Stores
Apple Stores around the US are now selling third-party Apple Watch accessories at the stores, often featuring packaging co-designed with Apple in an effort to give accessories a more uniform look. The first of these new products is the NightStand for Apple Watch, created by ElevationLabs. The new unit is only available in retail stores, and has not yet appeared online.
Classes and workshops more popular, also being revamped
As previously reported, Apple is retiring the $99 per year "One to One" training program in favor of an upgraded and free workshops program as of September 28. The company, in a leaked memo to employees, cited lower attendance as the primary reason for the sunsetting of the paid program, and has reorganized its workshop scheduling pages on its website to make it easier for users to schedule classes.
Wall will stock units for direct sale rather than pulling stock from backroom
As part of a minor reorganization of the company's stores, Apple will make some changes to its signage, display, and layout in its Apple Stores over the next week that will see the iconic iPod line "demoted" to being a stockable product on the accessories wall rather than having its own section. Currently, a small iPod section has been used to sell both the music player and demonstrate Beats headphones, but this will be cannibalized to create space.
Company granted exception to foreign ownership rules
Apple has reportedly been granted a special exception to the United Arab Emirates' foreign ownership laws that will allow it to retain complete control of its operations in the country, and in exchange will finally move forward with two planned stores, the first in the Middle East. Reports say that the iPhone maker will now go ahead with construction of stores in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with the Dubai store possibly opening later this year.
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.
Apple CEO greets visitors to celebrate debut of Apple Watch in Turkey
Over the weekend, Apple CEO Tim Cook took a surprise visit to Turkey on Saturday to be present at the two Apple Stores in the country's largest city, Istanbul, to celebrate the arrival of the Apple Watch to the country. The Apple Watch Sport starts at 1,249 Turkish Lira (TRY), which translates to about $450 US at the current exchange rate. The company now has two stores in Istanbul, a flagship store at the Zorlu Center mall, and another at the Akasya Shopping Center.
Buyers must purchase online, but can pick up in stores; UK stores follow suit
Apple Stores in Australia and the UK are now preparing for in-store Apple Watch sales, which is likely foreshadowing the arrival of such sales in the US as well. Not all models are yet available, but Sport and regular (stainless steel) Watch models are showing as being in stock at most stores, while other models are still only available for online ordering. Customers must make a reservation online and then schedule an in-store pickup time.
Some US stores following Euro trend of 'blending in' to area style
The latest Apple Store to open in New York City -- the Upper East Side location, the seventh in greater NYC -- is somewhat hard to spot, particularly compared to some other area Apple stores, such as the iconic glass cube that marks the entrance to the Fifth Avenue store. The Upper East Side store, inside the Beaux Arts building from the 1920s that used to house US Mortgage and Trust bank, has no outward appearance of its current function, save for a small black flag with the Apple logo on the outside.
Apple plans store in Cologne, Germany, hangs mural for new Miami store
Apple appears to be constructing a second, but thus far unannounced, Apple Store in Cologne, Germany, report enthusiast sites Macerkopf and Apfelpage. Photos taken from a building opposite the proposed site on Schildergasse appear to show the company's trademark long wooden tables and some remaining renovation work for the forthcoming glass staircase. The store would not be expected to open until this fall.
Supplies expected to be scarce, particularly for rose gold variant, on launch
As we reported earlier today, the super-expensive 18kt gold Edition version of the Apple Watch will be very constrained on launch, with the online store showing that shipments are already -- hours before pre-orders even begin -- pushed back until next month, with no specific window for those ordering online beyond "May." Buyers in stores will have similar issues actually going home with one, as only a total of 53 Apple Stores worldwide will be selling the high-end model, at least for now.
Program expected to encourage more switchers, add to iPhone 6 sales
As reported previously, Apple has now expanded its "reuse and recycling" program in the US and Europe to include now taking selected models of non-iPhone smartphones as trade-in towards a new iPhone. The program is now operating throughout the US, Canada, the UK, France, and Italy, and may be operating in other countries as well. Only specific recent models are eligible, but customers can being the process either online or in person at an Apple Store.
New device will be available for try-ons, reservations at Apple Stores on April 10
As Apple has previously stated, the Apple Watch will get its first large-scale public debut beginning April 10, when potential buyers or the idly curious can visit their nearest Apple Store to check out the new device in person, and perhaps to place a reservation for a unit that will be available beginning April 24. Employees will take up to 15 minutes per customer to help those interested try on, learn to use, and educate buyers about the new device.
Apple hints that Apple Watch has received FCC approval
Apple on Tuesday removed disclaimer language from its Apple Watch web page, signalling that it has obtained approval for sale of the device in at least the US, if not all the major countries where Apple is currently planning to launch the Apple Watch at retail beginning April 24. The Watch will be available for preview and pre-ordering -- but not for sale -- at Apple Stores beginning April 10 in select countries.
Pad & Quill, Twelve South, others announce Watch-related gear
The race to get Apple Watch accessories to market in time for the arrival of the forthcoming device is in full swing, with a number of iOS accessory companies offering charging stands and other options for owners of the device. In addition, Apple Stores have started posting banners of the Apple Watch a month before it will make its retail debut, and testers combing through iOS 8.3's Apple Watch elements have discovered details on the Activity app, including a dark mode.
Visual trickery designed to catch attention, increase interest in iPads
A good magic trick, even in the 21st century, will still get people to stop and watch and try to figure out how it is done. Over the weekend, Apple retail stores around the US debuted a new window display showcasing the company's iPad line and Smart Cover accessory on a thin tabletop that features a line of the products, with the Smart Cover opening and closing itself to demonstrate the magnetic latch feature that wakes or sleeps the machine automatically.
Gallery of Mac- and iOS-created photos, drawings expands from online to retail stores
Less than a week after having expanded its "Start Something New" campaign from its Japanese site to the US and most other global Apple sites, the company has begun adding some of the pictures from its curated collection of artwork made on Macs or iOS devices to selected retail stores. The campaign focuses once again on how users use the products to enhance their own lives, but this time focuses on active productivity in the form of artwork creation. Photographs, drawings and videos dominate the collection.
Mysterious dispute resulted in Bose products taken off store shelves
A French enthusiast site has reported, citing anonymous sources, that Apple will soon return Bose products back to the shelves of the iPhone maker's brick-and-mortar Apple Stores following a two-month fallout in which Bose products were removed. The move was originally thought to be in response to a lawsuit Bose filed against Beats, its rival in headphones, or possibly a unilateral move by Apple to reduce competing products in its stores now that it owns Beats, but the truth of the matter has yet to emerge.
Offer open to current subscribers as well as new customers
Until the end of the year, AT&T is offering a $50 bill credit when current subscribers upgrade to a new iPhone under Next program. Buyers who get a new iPhone from either the online or retail Apple Stores under AT&T's Next installment payment plan (and keep the line active for at least 45 days after doing so) will see a $50 bill credit"within three billing cycles," according to the terms of the deal. The carrier is reserving the right to end the promotion prematurely, though its expected to stay in place through 2014.
Larger iPhone model in short supply; 'thousands' line up at all flagship stores
In some locations on Friday, it seemed like the whole world took off work Friday to stand in line for an iPhone 6. Mass reports of "thousands" of customers standing in line for hours at flagship Apple stores around the globe have been received since MacNN reported on the queue in Australia, the first country to begin selling the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The latter has proven extremely hard to get, but we have heard from a few readers who were successful.
Protest accommodated until doors to store blocked
A group of corporate and retail security guards for Apple stores staged a peaceful protest of what they consider to be low pay relative to other employees at the company's flagship San Francisco store on Thursday. The issue the guards were drawing attention to is not one specific to Apple, but endemic among tech firms in Silicon Valley -- who collectively tend to pay cleaning, support, maintenance and security staff lower wages on average than regular employees.
Program expected to be operational in time for next iPhone arrival
Traditionally, iPhones bought from Apple Stores come in two varieties: locked to an individual carrier with a two-year contract, or completely unlocked but at full retail price. Last month, the company began allowing sales of iPhones on pre-paid plans, and now appears to be poised to allow Apple Store sales of iPhones to existing (and eligible) AT&T Next, Verizon Edge, T-Mobile Jump, and possibly Sprint EasyPay customers, who have the freedom to upgrade their phones more often in exchange for a slightly higher monthly charge.
Older iPhone and iPads can be traded in for credit up to A$250
Australians can now trade-in their older iOS devices for up to A$250 ($235 US) towards the purchase of a new device, Apple announced on Monday. The higher reward is available to for iPhones, while buyers can get up to $202 (A$215) in credit for iPad trade-ins at Apple Stores across the country. The new program arrives just shy of a year after the US debut, which offers up to $225. Since then, the initiative has expanded to Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the UK.
Latest Tokyo store draws unusual large crowd, features metal-and-glass spiral staircase
Tokyo, Japan's latest Apple Store opened on Friday (local time) in much the same way most other Apple Stores debut -- free commemorative T-shirts, a large lineup of eager buyers waiting to get in (a rarer sight in Japan than in North America), extensive press coverage. The store in Omotesando, however, was a little different: the T-shirts featured a new, leafy Apple logo that may or may not be used again, and Apple's new Senior Vice President of Retail, Dame Angela Ahrendts, was among the attendees.
Replacing modified iPod touch units used since 2009, more
Apple is currently in the process of replacing the long-serving, modified iPod touch units that have served as mobile Point-of-Sale (POS) units since 2009, now giving employees iPhone 5s units equipped to do the same job and more, according to reports. The iPod touch or iPhone 5s has a custom-fitting sled, not dissimilar to a battery case, that adds magnetic stripe and barcode scanning, and now includes RFID and chip card readers.
Apple stores adding green to 'leaf' in Apple logo for Earth Day
Continuing with the various environmentally-themed disclosures on Monday, Apple has begun decorating its Apple Stores for Earth Day on Tuesday by adding green gels to the "leaf" portion of the Apple logo on some stores. The changeover is happening worldwide, with pictures of the modified logo appearing from China and Australia that also include employees in green-colored work shirts.
Non-functioning units will be recycled, recent working units can be exchanged for gift cards
Continuing its multi-pronged and environmentally-minded publicity push on Monday, Apple has also initiated a new program that will turn all Apple Stores into recycling centers, accepting all used Apple devices either for free (in the case of non-functional and older devices) or in exchange for a gift card (for newer, functional units). The new plan is part of an effort to reduce the company's "footprint" in terms of manufacturing pollution, and keep more of its electronics out of landfills.
Repair requires special equipment, costs $149 to fix rather than replace whole unit
As previously reported, Apple has now made available a service to repair damaged iPhone 5c screens rather than replacing the units outright in a number of its US stores. The new service prevents users having to change over to another phone, or send the device away to a remote repair facility. The service, which costs $149 for customers who do not have AppleCare+ on their iPhones, can take as little as one hour thanks to new, specialized equipment.
Company will fix or replace broken displays starting Monday, report says
At least some Apple stores will begin repairing or replacing displays on iPhone 5c units if nothing else is wrong with the device, according to reports. The service is expected to start on Monday, January 20. Up to this point, iPhone 5c units with broken screens were simply replaced with refurbished replacement phones -- repairing or replacing the displays separately is seen as more convenient to the customer and less expensive for the company.
Apple Japan expected to launch 'Lucky Bag' sale starting January 2
Apple may be planning to celebrate the Japanese New Year with offerings of fukubukoro, or "lucky bags" beginning at 8AM local time on Thursday, January 2, two hours earlier than the usual opening time, according to an item on Japanese Mac fan site Otakara. Along with most other retailers, Japan's Apple Stores will offer a "lucky bag" at a present price that contains mystery items worth more than the asking price. In some cases, buyers have received a MacBook Air or an iPad.
Brings 2013 store total to 448, 30 more planned for 2014
What are probably the last two Apple Store openings for 2013 will take place this Saturday, December 14 with openings of the expanded and remodelled Stonestown store in San Francisco, and an all-new store in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Stonestown location has more than doubled its original square footage by moving to a location near the original store, which opened in 2004. The Düsseldorf store is said to be located in the upscale Kö-Bogen mall in the Königsallee shopping district.
December 1 will see Apple Stores with (RED) logo
Apple will turn its iconic white Apple retail store logos red for a day on Sunday in order to mark World Aids Day. The color change is the latest in a string of signs of support from the iPhone maker for the Product (RED) initiative, which works to combat AIDS worldwide. As 9to5Mac notes, the change over to the red logo has already begun at Apple's Regent Street Store in London, and other locations are expected to follow soon after.
Cook initiative to sell more iPhones in-house making progress
A new study has revealed the startling statistic that Apple's retail stores are one of the biggest sellers of cell phones outside carrier-direct and carrier-store sales. The Apple Store chain now sells about 11 percent of all cell phones bought in the US, and is responsible for roughly 25 percent of all US iPhone sales. The study, by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, puts Apple's retail stores just behind Best Buy (with 13 percent of US cellphone sales).
Apparently nationwide, reports vary on length, systems now restored
Apple retail stores around the US suffered an unusual outage of the company's point-of-sale (POS) systems that lasted for up to two hours at some locations earlier today, affecting the ability to make purchases and pick up items ordered online for in-store delivery. Quick checks of stores in Albequerque New Mexico, New York City and northern Virginia along with other reports indicate that outage times varied, with the disruption described as "no big deal" at some stores while others had longer downtimes.
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.
Jawbone's Big Jambox, Bose QuietComfort, Beats by Dre tipped for sales
Apple Stores have begun a significant sale on audio accessories during August, with two offers already underway and a third one coming later. Currently, the stores are offering 10 percent off on select Beats by Dre headphones and speakers, along with a $50 discount on the price of the Jawbone Big Jambox Bluetooth speaker, the latter offering being matched by Jawbone through its own site and resellers. A reader has alerted Electronista that the stores will also be offering two Bose QuietComfort headphones for 10 percent off beginning on Sunday.
Claim that searches, bag checks are done off-the-clock
A group of former retail employees of Apple Stores in Los Angeles and New York have filed a class-action suit against Apple, saying that the company demands employees submit to extensive anti-theft searches and other security measures, but doesn't pay them for the time involved. The security checks, which happen whenever an employee leaves the store, take 10 or 15 minutes according to the claim filed, adding up to millions of dollars in uncompensated employee time -- possibly as much as $1,400 per employee per year.
Sweeping change in iPhone marketing to feature trade-ins, price-matching
Apple CEO Tim Cook is said to have told top retail managers in a secret meeting that the company would like to "equalize" the difference between the percentage of customers that come to Apple retail stores for iPhone repairs versus iPhone sales. The move, reported by unnamed sources, would encourage more customers to use the Apple retail presence to buy iPhones (where currently only 20 percent of buyers do) through the use of direct trade-in offers and other incentives. The recent addition of the iPhone to Apple's "Back to School" promotion was allegedly the first step in the plan.
Long-rumored store in Basel coming, fashion shoot at Causeway Bay
A proposed Apple Store we first reported on 18 months ago has finally been confirmed through architectural plans and job postings to be the fourth Apple Store in the country of Switzerland. The store, which was first mooted elsewhere three years ago, will be in the city of Basel and required an extensive amount of demolition and reconstruction in order to better blend in with surrounding buildings.
Shows focus on customer experience over profit
A previously-unaired internal Apple video from 2011 led by former SVP of Retail Ron Johnson and featuring rare appearances by Apple Store architects and VP of Retail Development Bob Bridger was posted to YouTube for a while on Monday (and has since been pulled). The video, about 10 minutes in length, showcases how Apple approaches creating both its in-mall and standalone Apple Stores -- revealing that Apple's customer-centric philosophy is not just for show, but a key element in its retail success.
Logical progression of Apple Store app abilities
Apple, which launched the "EasyPay" system of allowing users to buy accessories and self-checkout at Apple Stores by scanning a bar code with the Apple Store app on their iOS device late last year, plans to add Passbook functionality that could allow users to buy (and eventually even reload) Apple Store gift cards, possibly book Genius Bar appointments or provide reservations on top-selling items, or allow users to buy more expensive hardware and other items using Passbook's pay codes.
Thieves often forget that devices are easily traceable
The latest in a series of "smash-and-grab" robberies of Apple Stores happened in Leawood, Kansas this week -- the second time this particular store has been victimized in the same manner in the last two years. The thieves used a stolen car as a battering ram, but were unable to use the car to escape, and only had time to take a small amount of merchandise before police arrived, forcing them to flee on foot. Though the story had a security fence, it was unable to stop the vehicle from allowing the robbers entry to the store.
Shifts some training, pre-buying questions to web site
Amid reports that Apple is looking at new ways to make the retail Apple Stores more profitable, the company has added a new "online training" feature to its store website, bringing "live chat" abilities along with a guided tour of the online store, Genius scheduling, or the ability to request a phone call from a product specialist. The program launched today in the UK, Germany, Spain and Brazil, but has not yet been rolled out in the US.
LA authority conducts 'price accuracy' inspections
Following an investigation by the LA consumer protection agency, one of the Glendale Apple stores has been fined a $200 civil penalty for overcharging on an item. The Americana at Brand store apparently sold an unnamed item (likely to be a Mac system) for $70 more than the lowest advertised store price at the time. Apple normally sells all new items at normal retail price, and any price fluctuation -- either lower or higher -- is uncommon. The incident occurred last August.
Publishes two-page newspaper mission statement
Kicking off with a two-page newspaper ad (seen below) that serves as a new "mission statement" for the company that says it is "rethinking and reimagining" its store experience, J.C. Penney Company kicked off celebrations for its 110th anniversary with new CEO Ron Johnson at the helm. Johnson spent 11 years as Apple's Senior VP of Retail and was the key person responsible for the Apple Stores and other concepts, reports his colleague and industry observer Ken Segall.
Revenue, visitor counts both jump over 40 percent
Apple CEO Tim Cook has credited the company's recent retail innovations, which include the online option of in-store pickup of purchases as well as a new self-checkout option that incorporates into the stores' EasyPay system with an eponymous iOS app, with helping Apple Stores see significant jumps in visitors and revenue across 2011. Average revenues per store grew 43 percent to $17.4 million, while visitors grew 45 percent to an average 22,000 per week.