Stores to offer workshop on Apple Watch starting April 24, despite shortages
Although the unexpected sellout of the Apple Watch will put a crimp of unavailability in the works, Apple is going ahead with new "Apple Watch Basics" workshops at some of its retail stores beginning April 24. The lucky relative few who will receive their pre-orders on or near launch day, along with those who are still waiting, are likely to be the chief participants in the workshops, which will run through May 8 in the US only. The classes will run approximately 60 minutes in order to cover all of the many key features of the new device.
Demand for the 'highly personal' product steep, retail sales impossible now
A letter by Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts has informed the Apple retail chain that the Apple Watch won't be available in store at all on launch date. Additionally, "high global interest combined with our initial supply" is preventing retail availability until June, at the earliest.
Report claims Jawbone wearable will perform American Express payments in future
Yet another wearable device will be offering alternative payments in the future, according to a report. According to the Wall Street Journal, American Express and Jawbone are planning to announce a new system that will allow AmEx card owners to use the manufacturer's fitness bands to make payments at a number of retailers in the United States.
Apple to open three new stores in time for Apple Watch retail debut
Apple plans to open at least three new stores in time for the retail debut of the Apple Watch -- though it is unclear if any of the stores will actually have Watches to sell, as the company has switched to an online pre-order system only ahead of the debut date. The stores will open in Hangzhou, China; Miami Beach, Florida; and Sao Paolo, Brazil. The latter two have already been officially announced for April 24 by Apple. Of these, Brazil is the only new store not to be part of the first wave of countries receiving the Apple Watch.
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.
CEO offers employees a half-off discount on sport, steel editions
Following a suggestion from a retail employee during a meeting in Germany, Apple CEO Tim Cook has met the suggestion half way: he has decided to offer all Apple employees, including retail workers, a 50 percent discount off the cost of either aluminum "sport" version or the stainless steel version of the Apple Watch, or $550 off the cost of the 18kt gold Edition versions. The discount is only available for 90 days, starting April 10.
Amazon expands Prime Now one-hour deliveries to Dallas
Amazon Prime Now, the retailer's high-speed delivery service, is opening up in Dallas. Just as with its other Prime Now locations, Prime subscribers in the fourth location will be able to use a mobile app on iOS and Android to place orders for groceries and household goods, between 8am and 10pm seven days a week, with TechCrunch reporting it still costs $8 for one-hour deliveries, while two-hour deliveries are free.
Leading reseller B&H gets Apple mini-store at brick-and-mortar Manhattan HQ
Although many MacNN readers will be familiar with B&H Photo Video through the company's online site via its frequent mention in our various deals posts, the firm is actually the largest non-chain electronics retailer in the United States, having a midtown Manhattan location since 1973 and being a widely-recognized photo, video, and Apple specialist. Earlier this week, the store opened its Apple-authorized "store within a store" focusing on Apple products.
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.
Company building facility devoted to Apple Watch inside Tokyo department store
In a previously-unannounced move, Apple is creating a store dedicated to just selling the Apple Watch (and accessories) as part of an existing upscale department store in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The "store-within-a-store," borrowing from previous Apple retail concepts, could be come a permanent display for the fashionable Apple Watch if sales merit it. The department store, Isetan, is placing the mini-shop near its main entrance.
Report claims non-Apple device trade-in program starting in coming weeks
Owners of Android smartphones may soon be able to earn some money by trading in their old devices, this time via Apple. A report claims Apple is looking to start accepting non-Apple devices in an upcoming refresh of its recycling and trade-in program, with the program providing Android switchers with gift cards that can then be used to purchase iPhones.
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.
Currys PC World hosts first Google-branded store in UK
Google has taken inspiration from the retail efforts of other tech companies, including Microsoft and Samsung, in opening its first "store within a store" under the Google brand. Called "The Google Shop," the store is located inside a branch of national retailer Currys PC World on Tottenham Court Road in London, and will be used to showcase a selection of Android devices, Chromebooks, and the Chromecast.
Apple Watch, abilities will expand over time, replace car keys as well
In a new interview with the UK newspaper the Telegraph, Apple CEO Tim Cook has revealed a few new tidbits about the forthcoming Apple Watch, as well as some of the larger vision behind such innovations as the watch, and Apple Pay, and Touch ID -- an all-out attempt to reduce the ephemera people need to carry with them, from wallets to car keys. In the same report, Cook also confirmed that Apple will "tweak" its retail look to accommodate Apple Watch buyers, who are likely to be even more upscale than average Apple customers.
Customers can walk in, provide phone number, and be summoned to the store
According to multiple sources familiar with the matter, the latest changes to Apple retail by Angela Ahrendts is coming to stores soon. Most Apple retail stores will shift walk-in Genius Bar appointment notifications to one using customers' mobile phones as de facto pagers, not only giving time estimates for a service window, but also informing customers that an availability is opening up allowing users to shop elsewhere in a mall, rather than waiting for sometimes hours in the store.
Google adds medical details to Knowledge Graph
Google has updated its Knowledge Graph, used to provide extra details in search results for common subjects, with health-related information. Vetted by a team of doctors at Google and the Mayo Clinic for accuracy, the new cards will bring up details for common health conditions, including symptoms, treatments, commonality, if it is contagious, and other relevant points, along with illustrations for some conditions.
Asian version of US ad plays to Chinese market, gift-giving season
Apple has created a new version of its holiday ad "The Song" for the Chinese market in time for the Lunar New Year celebrations, which commence later this month. The wholly-reimagined ad is prominently featured on the company's China website, and is the first such ad made directly for China. Senior VP of Retail Dame Angela Ahrendts has made China a priority over the next two years as it emerges as Apple's third-largest market.
Executive instrumental to expansion of Apple retail chain
Apple's VP of Retail Real Estate, Bob Bridger, will soon be retiring from the company, sources say. Bridger reportedly revealed the information at a meeting last Thursday, without mentioning any special reasons for leaving. The executive is noted to be the last major Retail division executive from the era when Ron Johnson led the group, and Steve Jobs was still company CEO.
Brooklyn and Manhattan locations running behind schedule
Apple is preparing to open two stores in previously-untapped urban markets. The first is in the Chinese city of Tianjin, and will be debuting this Saturday at 10AM local time. The other is in the New York City borough of Queens; sources say the shop will open later this year on the second floor of the Queens Center Mall. One of the sources claims that the outlet will be Apple's biggest inside a New York mall, and that the company expects revenues to top high-profile locations elsewhere in the state.
To be used for gold models only
Some Apple Stores are already being equipped with custom safes in order to store the gold Edition models of the forthcomng Apple Watch, sources say. It's thought that the safes will be used to protect both for-sale inventory and any demo units, the latter of which will have to be removed from the showfloor overnight. Because demo hardware will have to stay fully charged, the safes are said to have MagSafe chargers mounted inside.
Flagship product gets pushed beyond rumored window
The Apple Watch will ultimately ship in April, the company has confirmed through a quarterly results call hosted by CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri. The company didn't go into any other details, such as a specific release date. April, however, is even later than the March timeframe mentioned in recent rumors, which themselves suggested a delay from February. Until now Apple has only ever promised an "early 2015" date.
Second in city will be standalone, offer Shanghai-like cylinder shape
Following in the footsteps of recent murals that "drape" under-construction standalone stores (such as the one that covered the recently-opened Hangzhou store), Apple has created another mural to cover the cylinder-shaped forthcoming Chongqing store, which is set to open this Saturday. The new location, the second for the city, will be the third of five store openings in China promised by the company before the arrival of the New Year on February 19.
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.
Chipperfield was VP of Digital and Interactive Design, now on 'Special Projects'
Apple has once again lured a top executive from UK fashion retailer Burberry: following the hiring a year ago of former CEO Dame Angela Ahrendts, the company has brought in former Vice President of Digital and Interactive Design Chester Chipperfield from Burberry to work with the "Special Projects" group at Apple, which is likely to involve the forthcoming Apple Watch. The company also recently hired one of Burberry's social media executives, Musa Tariq, as it continues to build a team of expert fashion merchandisers.
Outlet arriving January 24th
Apple has posted a new video on its Chinese retail site, highlighting a mural covering the company's yet-to-be-opened Hangzhou outlet. The mural features a poem written about the city some 2,000 years ago. For Apple, the text was repainted by modern calligrapher Wang Dongling. The shop is due to open this Saturday, January 24.
Entered into 'definitive agreements to provide additional near-term liquidity'
Venerable tech retailer RadioShack released its fiscal Q3 numbers to the US Securities and Exchange Commission this month. The report includes information about what RadioShack describes as a "prolonged downturn in our business" and predictions about its liquidity if efforts to restructure its debt don't go through by February 2, the last day of Q4 for RadioShack's current fiscal year.
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.
Should trigger alerts via companies' iOS apps
Marsh Supermarkets and inMarket have announced a new iBeacon platform, the first to emphasize the Apple Watch. The plan is to use iBeacons at Marsh's 75 locations to push ads, shopping lists, and other content to both Watches and iPhones. Initially, the platform will support the official Marsh app and inMarket's List Ease, but other apps should follow as long as they support inMarket's Proximity SDK. All apps will have to update with Watch support, but the platform itself is Watch-ready.
Workers take wraps off of long-hidden location
As reported last summer, Apple's next store in Chongqing, China, will feature a smaller glass cylinder nevertheless mimicking the design of the company's flagship outlet in Shanghai, photos show. Construction workers this week dismantled a steel structure that was concealing the 30-foot-tall cylinder, which in turn tops a staircase leading to the actual store. Another similarity with Shanghai is that the Chongqing store is based in a plaza, and surrounded by taller structures.
'Extensive' retail training lined up for February
The Apple Watch will miss a previously-rumored launch date and instead ship by the end of March, sources say. Although Apple has only ever officially stated an "early 2015" window, some rumors had suggested Apple was aiming for a February date, possibly by Valentine's Day. Even then, it was often believed that Apple was likely to overshoot its goal.
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.
Bag contents at least twice value of initial cost
Apple has sold out of the 2015 edition of its annual "Lucky Bag" promotion, in which its Japanese stores sell bags containing surprise goods worth more than their initial price tag. This year's bags cost 36,000 yen (about $300) each, but held products worth anywhere between $640 and $1,280. Each one had a "big" surprise, along with an Apple TV, Beats Powerbeats2 wireless earbuds, a New Year's edition of a Mophie power station, and a 1,000-yen iTunes gift card. All of the items were secured in Incase Icon Slim Pack backpacks.
Restaurant chain will eat losses if banks do not compensate customers for any breach
A rash of credit and debit card fraud cases have been tracked back to accounts that were all used at various Chick-Fil-A locations around the US. The fast food restaurant joins the ranks of retailers with point of sale security issues. This particular breach appears to have run from December of 2013 to September of 2014.
Cites Supreme Court decision that security screenings are not part of job
Apple has won in a pair of lawsuits lodged in the summer of 2013 by disgruntled employees that charged the company with a form of "wage theft" by not paying workers while they were being checked during mandatory security and loss-prevention screenings. Citing a Supreme Court decision in a similar case, Federal Court Judge William Alsop ruled that such screenings are not "integral and indispensable" parts of the retail workers' jobs, therefore the plaintiffs were not entitled to compensation for the time spent in such activities.
Stores to open early, offer paid 'grab bags' that could be worth thousands
Apple Japan will begin its traditional promotion for Japanese retail buyers, known as Fukubukuro or "Lucky Bags," starting on January 2, the company has announced. The promotion involves customers buying one of several "grab bag" gift boxes for a set price -- last year it was about 36,000 yen, or roughly $300 in current US dollars -- that could contain very valuable gifts, and usually at least top the value of the list price. Some of the boxes contained iPads or MacBook Airs, for example.
'Let peace begin with me' offered as a resonant theme to current turmoil
A new post from Apple Retail Senior Vice President (SVP) Dame Angela Ahrendts on her LinkedIn blog offers a simple holiday message and song with a theme of peace, saying her message for the season was simply "let peace begin with me." Ahrendts said she was inspired by a recent re-hearing of a song she used to play on piano, a rendition of "Let There Be Peace on Earth" by B.J. Thomas. The song, originally written by Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller in 1955, offers an inspirational message of unity.
Malware on point of sale systems mirrors earlier Home Depot, Target attacks
An intrusion into Staples' point-of-sales systems earlier this year put 1.16 million credit and debit cards at risk, the retailer admitted on Friday. Approximately 115 of the company's 1,400 retail stores across the United States were affected by malware on its systems, though the store apparently managed to eradicate the malware and improve system security in mid-September.
May complicate troubleshooting in affected locations
As they have in the past, some Apple Stores are repurposing their Genius Bars to accommodate holiday sales, a report notes. The spaces may be used for things such as pick-up service, or extra room for products. Conversions are only happening as dictated by individual stores' needs and shopping traffic, and Geniuses should still be around, whether walking the floor or at tables in front of the Bars.
Options still missing from Apple online orders
People wanting to take advantage of Sprint's Easy Pay or iPhone for Life financing and leasing options should soon be able to do it at an Apple Store, a report says. Training is currently said to be underway, and some stores may in fact be ready to process the plans today. Neither option is available through Apple's website, but previously shoppers angling for an iPhone or iPad purchase under one of the two plans had to order from a Sprint company store or reseller.
Reason behind disappearance still uncertain
Bose products have returned to Apple's online store and retail chain, reports say. These include products like the SoundLink III and SoundLink Mini speakers, and the QuietComfort 20i earbuds. Bose hardware vanished from the online store on October 17, and went missing from retail around the same time or shortly thereafter.
Williamsburg Apple Store expected to debut in April
Apple is in the process of establishing a research and development facility in Japan, according to the country's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe. The disclosure was made in a campaign speech ahead of Sunday's general election. Abe didn't offer any more details except to say it should be "formally announced soon," and rank with Apple's largest R&D centers in Asia. The company has been establishing new offices across the world in the past couple of years, growing R&D beyond the confines of its Cupertino-area headquarters.
Brussels outlet may find home on Gulden-Vlieslaan
Apple has started hiring for its first store in Belgium, reports note. The company has opened up six job listings, all for an outlet in Brussels. These include experts, Geniuses, and various business-facing staff.
iPhone still a minor brand in region
Although no first-party stores are expected anytime soon, Apple is nevertheless engaging in a major retail expansion in India, according to a Times of India source. In coming months, the company is expected to help establish 500 new resellers, particularly in smaller cities such as Amritsar, Pathankot, Moga, Coimbatore, Trichy, Nagpur, and Nasik. At the moment, Apple's strength is in bigger cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, and Chennai -- but even then it's a relatively marginal brand in the country, albeit one that has recently experienced significant growth.
Berlin, London, Tokyo getting related events same week
Apple has announced a series of hour-long US programming workshops meant to support Code.org's Hour of Code, and Computer Science Education Week, which runs from December 8-14. The workshops themselves are being held at Apple Stores on December 11, aimed at teaching children the basics of writing code. Parents must registerfor a spot through Apple's website.
Low stock could be contributing to looming financial collapse
RadioShack outlets across the US are suffering from extremely low iPhone stock, despite the critical holiday shopping season, according to Seeking Alpha. Most models aren't on shelves, and in many cases stores lack any iPhones to speak of, forcing people to use a "Ship to Store" option that takes several days. RadioShack doesn't sell the iPhone on its website, which simply directs iPhone shoppers to physical outlets.
Apple CEO may still be in DC area, sources say
[Updated with Portland store revamp] As a part of the company's World AIDS Day promotions yesterday, Apple CEO Tim Cook made a surprise visit to the Georgetown Apple Store in Washington, DC. He posted photos of the event on Twitter, which also show him meeting with Deborah Dugan, the CEO of the Global Fund. In a tweet of her own, Dugan thanks Apple for feeding over $75 million to The Global Fund since 2006, through specially-branded accessories and iPods. Apple doesn't offer Product (RED)-branded Macs, iPhones, or iPads, though it did produce a one-off (RED) Mac Pro in 2013.
Raises awareness alongside 'Apps for (RED)' promotion
Following a promotional push to raise money for the Global Fund, using the "Apps for (RED)" even on the App Store to offer discounted prices or in-app purchases to help fund the fight against AIDs and other diseases, Apple on Monday tinted many of its iconic signs at its retail locations red to commemorate World AIDS Day, which is held every year on December 1. The tradition began in 2012 after Tim Cook became the CEO of the company, and follows precedents established by others since at least 1991.
Proceeds from participating apps being donated to Global Fund
To mark the upcoming World AIDS Day on December 1, Apple has launched a trio of initiatives. On the 1st itself, Apple says it will donate "a portion" of its Black Friday sales at its online and retail stores to the Global Fund, which is mainly dedicated to combating AIDS but also tackles diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. On November 28, some random product purchases will include a Product (RED) iTunes gift card; any purchases made with the card in future will go to the Fund. From today through December 7, a program called "Apps for (RED)" will donate the sales from 24 iOS apps - and in some cases, special in-app purchases -- to the same cause.
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.
Clerks expected to ditch lanyards
Apple is planning some minor changes at its retail stores in preparation for the holiday season, sources say. One of these includes dressing clerks in red holiday shirts. A permanent adjustment, though, will involve removing neck lanyards from the standard uniform; to compensate for the lack of ID, clerks will reportedly be asked to introduce themselves more often.