One of several annual 'gifts' Apple gives retail and other workers
Again this holiday season, Apple has indicated it will be offering its retail and other workers steep discounts on selected accessories, in addition to a modest break on the price of iTunes Gift Cards. The company annually changes up its holiday-season offers to employees, but usually reveals price breaks on certain store items on top of the normal discount employees routinely receive on hardware and software purchases. Discounts can be as high as 65 percent off the retail price on third-party items sold at Apple Stores.
Tech already supported in Apple Store iPhone app
Apple is today deploying iBeacons at all 254 of its US retail stores, according to the Associated Press. At the Fifth Avenue store in New York City alone, the company has 20 iBeacons; some of these are reportedly just iPhones and iPads, but, like regular iBeacons, can communicate with a visitor's iPhone as they walk around the store. To receive notifications a person needs to have Bluetooth enabled, and the latest version of the Apple Store iPhone app, which must be allowed access to location data and push notifications.
Discounts limited to 10 percent
Some US Apple Stores have quietly begun price matching for the iPad Air and iPhone 5c, sources say. The option arrived earlier this week, although not all stores and regions are participating. Even when a store is willing to match a competitor, the ceiling is a 10 percent discount off Apple's usual sticker price. A 16GB Wi-Fi iPad, for instance, would drop to $449, and a 16GB 5c would dip to $89.
Hague outlet still in development
Apple will launch its second store in the Netherlands on December 7th, the company has announced. The Haarlem outlet will debut at 9AM local time, and typically operate until 6PM, closing an hour early on Sundays while staying open until 9PM on Thursdays. On Mondays and Sundays, doors will only be opened at 11AM and 12PM, respectively.
Best online deals still available from MacMall, Best Buy, B&H
Though Black Friday has officially passed by, the rest of the weekend still has deals in store--especially since Cyber Monday is only a couple of days away for online shoppers. Online retailers still have MacBooks, iMacs, and iPads on sale, so we have collected the best deals still in stock.
Real-world usage again shows iOS far ahead of Android, other rivals
Yet another real-world usage statistic has surfaced showing that users with iOS devices are far more engaged with them than those of any other platform. Among Black Friday buyers who used mobile devices to shop online, 82 percent were on the iOS platform doing so, with the remaining 18 percent using Android. Using mobile devices to shop on Black Friday was up 9.8 percent overall from last year, with mobile devices accounting for 38 percent of all Black Friday shopping traffic and 21 percent of online sales.
Black Friday sales on tablets, laptops, desktops and more from OfficeMax
Officemax, a office supply retailer, currently has its own Black Friday sale promoting a variety of office-related products, but with a focus on technology. Tablets, laptops, desktops, monitors, printers, scanners, and portable file storage systems are included in the promotion.
European Black Friday deals offer straight discounts, no gift cards
Black Friday sales have already begun in Australia, revealing Apple offers on the buying holiday. As expected, this year the company is offering rebate Apple Retail gift cards rather than discounting items directly, with the idea that customers will use the card to purchase accessories or apply it to other Apple purchases. Mac purchases earn a $150 gift card, iPad purchases receive a $75 card, and iPod buyers get a $50 card. However, the European Black Friday deals are quite different.
May be meant to spur accessory sales
Apple's planned Black Friday event will likely focus on gift cards, rather than actual discounts, sources say. A person buying an eligible product at an Apple Store is expected to get a gift card valid only at retail, and only after the date it was issued. Buying a Mac at a US store, for instance, might get shoppers a $100 card, while an iPad might come with a $50 card. Accessories and peripherals may come with $25 or $50 cards, depending on how much the product costs.
Deal limited to 16GB Wi-Fi models
US retailer Fry's has launched a special Black Friday promotion for the iPad Air. Under the deal, people buying the tablet can get a $100 Fry's gift card; shoppers must, however, specifically pick up a 16GB Wi-Fi model. The promotion is also on a first-come-first-served basis, and not all locations are participating.
Supplies finally catching up to demand
Roughly 90 percent of iPhone 5s models are back in stock at US Apple Stores, according to data collected by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. Breaking figures down by carrier, the two biggest US providers -- AT&T and Verizon -- are showing 99 and 98 percent availability, respectively. The ratio shrinks to 72 percent for Sprint; unmentioned are figures for T-Mobile or SIM-free models.
Technology seems directed at Apple retail stores
Apple is searching for a "payments software engineer" who will "help build a next generation payment platform," according to a new job listing. The platform is said to integrate payment devices, middleware, and acquirers that will "push the boundaries in new markets for Apple Retail." Candidates will ideally have experience in fields like banking, e-commerce, card industries, and/or retail, and familiarity with technologies such as chip-and-PIN systems, bank messaging, and regional payment standards like Interac (Canada) and EFTPOS (Australia).
Canadian stores typically opening later than in US
Only some Apple Stores in the US and Canada will be opening early on Black Friday, reports note. In the US a portion, generally ones inside malls, will be open at 6AM. Others will be open at their regular times, and/or between 7 and 9AM. Canadian outlets will be open no earlier than 7AM, but otherwise follow a similar pattern. Apple's retail website provides details for individual store hours.
Apple Stores now selling Mini to walk-in shoppers
Apple's US online storefront has begun selling SIM-free unlocked models of the iPhone 5s. Units are currently shipping in 1 to 2 weeks. T-Mobile models are also unlocked, and shipping in just 3 to 5 days, but going with the SIM-free option may save some hassle for people choosing AT&T or a pre-paid GSM carrier.
Angela Ahrendts, former Burberry CEO, will take over retail operations
Apple's new Head of Retail, former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, has been named the fourth-highest finisher in the "Businessperson of the Year" competition by Fortune magazine. Ahrendts received the award for taking Burberry to a higher level of visibility in worldwide fashion markets - including a widely-publicized fashion show photographed entirely with the new iPhone 5s days ahead of its public unveiling. She places significantly ahead of her new boss, Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Distribution problems could hurt crucial holiday sales figures
With supplies of the iPhone 5s now seen to be on its way to meeting demand, Apple and its carrier partners are now facing a new issue - a potentially crippling shortage of the new Retina iPad mini, expected to be one of the top-selling Apple products this holiday season. While the Wi-Fi only version is not nearly as scarce, carriers expected to sell plenty of the cellular-capable versions - but are reporting minimal stock and long backorders already, suggesting Apple may have a hard time meeting Christmas demand.
Will trigger alerts based on locations within a store
Macy's and Shopkick have announced plans to deploy the first retail use of iBeacons, an Apple technology supported through iOS 7. Within a few weeks at Macy's stores in Herald Square, New York and Union Square, San Francisco, users of the Shopkick app will occasionally receive alerts while visiting different departments. On first entering a store, for instance, the app may suggest a variety of deals and recommendations, but narrow down those alerts after wandering into the Shoes department.
Tablet long ignored in support
Having long only supported the iPhone, Apple has introduced a native iPad version of the Apple Store app. The iPad interface sports unique features, above all a menu bar-based layout better suited to the extra screen space; whenever the bar is hidden, a quick swipe down can bring it back. Another addition is high-resolution images, which let users pinch to zoom in on product shots.
Availability at retail improving just as holiday season gets underway
The iPhone 5s, initially constrained by severe shortages on its debut, is now much more readily available at retail (though the "gold" option is still more scarce than the other colors), and Apple on Monday reduced the ship time to "3-5 business days" across all models and capacities. The move indicates that the company is feeling more confident about having the stock levels necessary to meet demand over the holidays - where Apple is expected to break its own and industry records for sales.
iBeacon tech will allow for virtual 'signs'
Apple is working on two display initiatives for its retail stores, sources say. The first is the addition of special holiday decorations, in the form of LED snowflakes, which will surround window displays for the iPad Air and iPhone 5c. The decorations are expected to go up in many countries later this week, and stay in place through early January.
High prices of Apple phones a barrier
Apple is planning to launch a special trade-in program in India that would allow people to put non-Apple smartphones toward the cost of an iPhone 5c or 4S, according to local publication Business Today. A specific list of phones will be eligible, including the Nokia Lumia 925; the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10; the HTC Desire 500, Desire 600, One Mini, and One Dual-SIM; the Samsung Galaxy Mega, S4 Mini, Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 2, and Galaxy Note 3; and finally, the Sony Xperia C, Xperia ZR, Xperia Z, Xperia Z1, and Xperia Ultra. Apple's own iPhone 4 will of course also be an option.
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.
Intel pop-up stores launching first in New York
Intel is opening its own retail stores in the US, in an effort to market devices using its processors. The pop-up "Intel Experience" stores will follow the lead of other producers, such as Microsoft and Samsung, in creating the promotional retail locations, with the first to be opened in NoLita in New York on November 23rd.
Company tries to seize extra holiday sales
An additional nine US Apple Stores will be open during the Thanksgiving holiday, a report indicates. Typically, only three locations stay active during Thanksgiving: Fifth Avenue in New York, Forum Shops in Las Vegas, and Royal Hawaiian in Honolulu. For 2013, though, worker schedules point to West 14th (New York), Lincoln Road (Miami Beach), San Francisco, Pioneer Place (Portland, Oregon), The Grove (Los Angeles), Third Street Promenade (Santa Monica), Fashion Valley (San Diego), and Ala Moana (Honolulu) keeping sales going.
Hiring already underway for retail jobs
Apple has started hiring for the first Apple Store in Columbia, South Carolina, notes local TV station WLTX. 13 job openings have appeared, although Apple has refused to confirm or deny any plans for a store. The company typically avoids announcing Apple Stores until construction facades are in place, but there have been exceptions in the past.
Suggests stocks may be extremely minimal
(Updated with news on better Pickup availability) The Retina iPad mini -- which launched earlier today -- is only available through Personal Pickup at US retail stores if it isn't a delivery order, according to an Apple press release. That indicates that US Apple Stores have no walk-in stock, and indeed Personal Pickup orders can't be claimed today. Some shops in other countries, like Italy, do reportedly have Pickup units on shelves.
Plan should save time, money for Apple
Apple will soon start offering in-store repairs for the iPhone 5s and 5c, sources say. The people explain that clerks will soon be able to replace several individual parts of the phones, instead of having to simply hand someone a new unit. To deal with the complexity of replacing a touchscreen, Apple Stores will reportedly get special machines needed to calibrate displays. Clerks will also be able to replace parts like volume buttons, vibration motors, speakers, and even the rear camera; only the 5c's button is expected to be replaceable, however, since it's believed that the 5s' Touch ID sensor may be too complicated.
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.
A DMCA (Digital Milllennium Copyright Act) complaint has forced the creator of Apple-Tracker.com to disable it, a notice states. The website previously allowed people to check availability of different iPhone 5s and iPad Air models at nearby Apple Stores. This was extremely useful for some shoppers, since Apple doesn't make the information readily accessible on its own website.
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.
Location expected to become new Brisbane flagship
Apple has started posting job listings for its third store in Brisbane, Australia, reports note. The outlet will be based in the MacArthur Chambers building, a 10-story structure dating back to 1934. Previously-submitted plans indicate that within its space, Apple is expected to make some architectural changes affecting windows, a stairway, and a wall in the mezzanine.
Dual-width AMD graphics card offers speed, affordability
AMD has officially detailed the high-end cards in its new GPU lineup, as it continues to compete against offerings from Nvidia. Following on from its launches at the start of last month, the R9 290 and 290x are said to be heading to retail soon, with both greatly exceeding the performance of the previous leader, the R9 280x.
Deal especially valuable for first-gen iPad owners
Between November 3rd and the 9th, Target will offering "at least" $200 for a used iPad in decent condition, the retailer has announced. To qualify, an iPad must both power on and lack any display scratches. Trades must be conducted at Target Mobility kiosks, and payment is being issued only in the form of gift cards.
64, 128GB cellular models most heavily impacted
Within less than a day after launch, iPad Air stocks are already beginning to run low in a variety of countries, reports observe. Shortages at Apple's online and retail stores so far appear to be affecting 64 and 128GB models the most, particularly their cellular versions. The run on cellular units is also hurting 16 and 32GB models to a lesser extent.
iPad Air availability spreads to more countries
Following earlier launches in Australia and Asia, the Apple iPad Air has gone on sale in the UK and Europe, as well in the US online store, as it moves to launch in 42 countries by the end of today. The new tablet has been released in Apple retail stores across Europe, some of which have opened earlier than normal in order to sell the iPad Air to waiting customers.
Most Apple stores expecting additional shipments on Saturday, Sunday
Reports are surfacing that despite what is expected to be low stock at retail of Apple's new iPad Air, some Apple stores have been given directions by Cupertino to retain a small amount of iPads for "Personal Pickup" service. The quantity reserved for the online ordering process will vary per store and market size, and units of each model will be set aside for purchases before noon.
Company's physical footprint sprawls to 19.1 million square feet
More information has been gleaned from Apple's 10K filing with the SEC. In addition to research budgets, the document also reveals that Apple's workforce is now up to 80,300 full-time employees, a jump from 72,800 at the end of FY2012. Most of the growth came from outside Apple Stores, which added only 400 full-time jobs for a total of 42,800. Apple typically prefers cheaper part-time workers at retail.
May force people to wake up early to secure a purchase
Apple will offer Personal Pickup for the iPad Air starting on November 1st, multiple reports claim. The option lets people place an order for a product online, but pick it up at a local Apple Store. If Pickup does apply to the Air at launch, it should become available at the same time as regular online orders, which are due to go live at midnight Pacific time, or 3AM Eastern.
Timing dependent on construction, hiring
Apple is hoping to open its Rio de Janeiro store by February or March of 2014, a source claims. Late last year, the company publicly revealed plans to open a Rio location, which would also be its first in Brazil. Since then, however, the company has kept quiet. Rumors have put the outlet in the Village Mall.
Shade likely easier for Apple suppliers to produce
Apple Stores are beginning to receive "space gray" models of the first-generation iPad mini, according to AppleInsider. Although Apple is preparing to launch a second-gen Mini next month, the first-gen tablet is being kept on sale at a lower price. Like some other Apple products, though, the company has chosen to swap out black options with space gray.
Continues trend of undercutting normal Apple prices
From November 1st, Walmart will be selling the iPad Air starting at $479 for a 16GB Wi-Fi model, the retailer has announced. That price is $20 below Apple's list cost. Walmart has yet to say what discounts might apply to other Air models, or if it will be cutting the cost of the Retina iPad mini as well.
IAPM outlet to stay open late
Apple's newest Chinese store will open inside Shanghai's IAPM mall at 9AM this Saturday, according to an official webpage. The outlet will span two stories, and during normal functions operate from 10AM to 11PM all week. IAPM hosts a number of luxury stores, including Prada and Dolce & Gabbana.
Angela Ahrendts to join Apple senior executive team
Apple has announced the hiring of Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts as its new Senior Vice President of Retail and Online stores. The position was specially created for Ahrendts, who will report directly to CEO Tim Cook when she takes up her post in the spring of 2014. Ahrendts will remain at Burberry for the time being while that company undertakes a search for a replacement.
Expansion to rest of Europe still uncertain
Earlier than anticipated, Apple has launched a UK version of its iPhone Reuse and Recycling program. The initiative lets people trade in older iPhone models for cash towards the purchase of a new one. In the UK, a Dataserv web calculator estimates the value of the older device based on factors like capacity, screen and shell damage, and whether or not a phone is locked or unlocked; a carrier-locked but otherwise perfect 16GB iPhone 4S, for example, comes out to GBP 52.50. Dataserv says however that it will only decide the real cash value of a phone once it has received it.
Several US retailers now offering discounts
Target is joining the list of US retailers cutting the price of the iPhone 5c. Beginning October 13, the phone will slide from $80 to $50 at the company's stores. People with a REDcard will be eligible for an extra five percent discount.
Less than half of Apple Stores have at least one model in stock
Stocks of the iPhone 5s at US Apple Stores have declined substantially in the past two weeks, says Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. The data was compiled using Apple's Personal Pickup availability tracker. "Supply of the iPhone 5S has declined in the US from 27% of total SKU's available two weeks ago to 6% over the past week, based on our checks of 60 Apple stores. Separately, the percent of stores that had at least one SKU declined from 90% two weeks ago to 40% over the past week," Munster writes.
Istanbul outlet expected to top 20,000 square feet
The first Turkish Apple Store will indeed open in January, says the Turkish edition of the Wall Street Journal. The outlet, still under construction, is situated between Burberry and Louis Vutton outlets on the grounds of Istanbul's new Zorlu Center. Apple's space is said to measure over 21,000 square feet, and include a cubic glass ceiling.
Upcoming promotion could yield iPhone 5c for nothing down
Best Buy retail locations are launching another promotion on the iPhone 5c and 5s. A screenshot of an internal Best Buy document shows that the retailer will allow customers to trade in selected -- and completely functional -- smartphones for a minimum of $100 in credit towards purchase of a new device on a two-year contract between October 13 and 19.
UK to serve as pilot country
Apple is planning to bring its iPhone trade-in initiative -- officially known as the Reuse and Recycling Program -- to European Apple Stores, a source claims. The company is reportedly already preparing training materials for UK staff, with the intent of launching the program locally in the next few months. A small group of stores in the region have actually started training, but it's expected to take a few weeks for the process to reach every UK shop.
Company turns to franchise model to help expand retail presence
According to sources present at a confidential meeting between Apple India executives and the CEOs of 20 top retailers, the iPhone maker has bold plans to create 100 standalone franchise stores in the top 50 second- and third-tier markets in the country, and will also create "store within a store" (SWAS) experiences for smaller markets in a new partnership with India's top smartphone and consumer electronics chains, since Apple does not yet have any official stores there.