Apple Offering 32-Inch 4K Sharp Displays in European Online Apple Stores

In its European Apple Online Stores, Apple has begun offering a 32-inch Sharp “4K” Ultra HD LED monitor. Retailing for £3,499.00 or approximately $5,700, the monitor has been available in the U.K. and other European countries since on or before November 30. 

The 32-inch IGZO display, which has a resolution of 3840 x 2160, is not available in the United States and it is not clear why Apple has decided to offer it solely in Europe for the time being...

Read the full story here... Source: Mac Rumours

Apple Launching 'Apple Store' App for iPad

Nearly three and a half years after the debut of a dedicated Apple Store app for iPhone, Apple is launching a new iPad version of the application today, reports TechCrunch. The new app, which appears to be U.S.-only for the time being, offers a "sparse" iOS 7 design aesthetic and makes use of high-quality images and context-aware panels to offer an exceptional user experience...

Read the full story here... Source: Mac Rumours

Apple Updates 'Apple Store' iOS App for iOS 7

In what is undoubtedly the first of many Apple iOS apps to receive updates for iOS 7 today, the company Apple Store app has been updated with iOS 7 compatibility, a new icon, and a "refined user interface" more in line with the iOS 7 design aesthetic. 

The updated app appears to carry identical functionality to the previous version, although the company has been reported to be planning to push out a new tool within the app next week that will allow customers to check stock levels of the new iPhone models at their local Apple retail stores. 

Source: Mac Rumours

Apple Updates 'Apple Store' iOS App, Possibly Laying Groundwork for Future Free Content Releases

Apple has released an updated version of its Apple Store app for the iPhone, which is said to include both performance enhancements and improved product search capabilities. The Apple Store app allows users to purchase Apple products quickly and efficiently on their iPhones. 

News of an upgrade first came to light last week, with a report that suggested Apple would begin offering free downloads within the App, including content from Apple’s iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore. 

While the app appears to be the same on the surface, it is entirely possible that Apple has included the framework that will support the addition of new deals and offerings within the app in the near future. 9to5Mac suggests the possibility that free content may only be shown when a customer is inside a brick-and-mortar Apple Store. 

Apple is said to be overhauling the app as part of its incentivization efforts designed to increase its number of in-store iPhone sales. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, iPhones are an important "gateway product" that lead customers to purchase other Apple products. 

At the current point in time, only a small percentage of iPhones are sold in Apple Stores, with the majority of sales coming from third party locations like carrier stores and electronics retailers. By offering free content in its Apple Store app, Apple can draw customers in to view and purchase additional Apple devices. 

In an effort to increase iPhone sales Apple has begun including the iPhone in its annual Back to School program, allowing eligible education customers to receive a $50 gift card that can be used to purchase music, books, or apps. 

Apple is also planning to implement a new iPhone trade-in program, which is designed to encourage users to upgrade to the latest models by offering a credit for used devices. 

Source: Mac Rumours


Apple to Relocate Flagship San Francisco Retail Store to Union Square

Apple's San Francisco flagship retail store has been a particularly high-profile location for the company since it opened nine years ago, but the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Apple has submitted plans to move the store to a new location three blocks away. The new location at Stockton and Post streets will be directly adjacent to Union Square, the focal point of San Francisco's high-end shopping district.

Apple says that the new location will increase its staff from the current 350 to 400 at the new location, but no timeline for construction and the move has been announced. 

The current flagship store at 1 Stockton Street is located directly adjacent to an entrance for a subway station serving both San Francisco's Muni Metro and the broader BART rail system. The new location is several blocks from the main Market Street transit corridor, but remains well served by transit and city officials hope that the new location will help draw more customers into the Union Square shopping district. San Francisco is also in the early stages of work on a new Central Subway line that will include a station directly at Union Square. 

Source: Mac Rumours


Apple's First Berlin Store to Open Friday, May 3

Last week, we noted that workers had begun removing barricades and scaffolding surrounding Apple's first store in Berlin, Germany amid rumors that the store would open during the first weekend of May.


In an unusually early reveal, Apple has already confirmed the opening with a new page for the store listing the public opening as taking place at 5:00 PM on Friday, May 3. The new page also includes a unique grand opening notice that slowly shifts colors. Signage on the construction barriers surrounding the store had briefly used a similar effect.
[Source: MacRumors]


New Apple Stores set to open in UK and Germany

We heard earlier this year that Apple was planning to expand its retail business "disproportionately outside the US," and it looks like that plan is being put into motion starting now. In addition to a new Apple Store opening up this Thursday in Leeds, UK, the company has posted job listings for stores opening soon in both Munich and Dusseldorf, in Germany. So there are three stores starting up in Europe, and Apple's expanding in other countries as well -- it now has retail locations in 13 countries around the world, after opening up a store in Turkey last year.

And Apple's also expanding inside the US, bringing 20 of its local stores to larger spaces. I live right near the Santa Monica, Calif., Apple Store, and it seems that store was one of those that moved: Apple found a new location right down the street from the original, with a much larger space that's reminiscent of the company's flagship Grand Central Terminal store. The new space features high ceilings and lots of space above tables of course filled with various Apple goodies to buy. Most of the innovation we talk about from Apple comes with its new product releases, but it's clear the company is working hard on innovating in the retail space as well.

[Source: TUAW]

Mac Pro Now Unavailable for Purchase from European Apple Online Stores

As noted by 9to5Mac, the Mac Pro is no longer available for purchase from Apple's European Online Stores. 

In late January, Apple informed its European distributors that sales of the Mac Pro would cease as of March 1st due to new regulatory requirements that go into effect on that date. At the time, Apple told resellers that it would accept orders up until February 18, a deadline that appears to apply to general consumers as well.

The Mac Pro is no longer able to be sold in Europe because it is not compliant with Amendment 1 of regulation IEC 60950–1. According to information from Apple, the issue has to do with the Mac Pro's unprotected fan blades. Compliance with the new regulation would require fan guards and increased protection of the ports on the electrical system. 

Apple's Mac Pro is now unavailable in European Union countries, EU candidate countries, and the European Free Trade Association countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. 

Though the Mac Pro has been discontinued in Europe, resellers are still able to sell remaining product after the March 1st deadline. Apple plans to continue to support existing Mac Pro machines and will supply replacement parts. 

Apple has also announced plans to offer a redesigned Mac Pro in 2013, following a minor update in 2012.

[Source: MacRumors]

BMW Takes Page From Apple Stores, Hires Geniuses

Looks like libraries aren’t the only ones taking a cue from Apple Stores. Turns out, BMW is taking a page from Cupertino’s retail playbook by mandating that its dealerships equip their locations with their very own “geniuses.”

The mostly college-age workers will wear clearly designated shirts emblazoned with “BMW Genius,” and unlike sales personnel, they won’t haggle, put together sales contracts or get commissions. They are salaried employees, and they’re there to help salespeople by roaming the showroom (with iPads in hand) to address customer questions about the vehicles. The company figures that car-savvy college students would be ideal for this opportunity, especially since they’re more likely to be open to evening and weekend hours, which are the peak times at these dealerships. Each one will be required to hire one genius per location.

The company held trials of the program in the U.K. last year, and was so impressed with the results that it is launching this model all over Europe and plans to implement a pilot program in the U.S. later this year. The company hopes to launch nationwide by early 2014 in time for the arrival of its i3 electric car.

BMW isn’t alone. Cadillac and Lexus also have non-sales service employees manning the floor, and both have seen customer satisfaction levels rise as a result of the initiatives.

But BMW isn’t relying on that alone. It also plans to offer video and audio information for North American customers, including vehicle and feature descriptions on the website, specialized iPad and iPhone apps and through the on-board BMW Assist call button.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Apple's New Causeway Bay Retail Store in Hong Kong Unveiled

Earlier this week, we noted that this weekend's group of Apple retail store grand openings would be headlined by the company's Causeway Bay flagship location in Hong Kong. The store features three levels, with a 30-foot tall glass curtain wall making a significant impact on the shopping center. 

With the store set to open to the public tomorrow, Apple has been putting the finishing touches on it and has unveiled the store for passersby to see. ifoAppleStore's Gary Allen pointed to an image posted to Flickr showing showing the full scale of the store's glass facade.

[Source: MacRumors]

Redesigned and Expanded Third Street Promenade Apple Store Opens in Santa Monica, CA

Apple's old Third Street Promenade location was one of the early Apple Stores and was an extremely popular location that was almost always crowded to capacity. The new store should allow considerably more foot traffic.

Apple proposed the new store to the Santa Monica planning commission more than a year ago, with the new building gaining approval without so much as a discussion.

[Source: MacRumors]

Internal Apple video documents Apple Store philosophy

Washington Square Films (NYC) gives us a rare look at one of the internal videos that Apple has shown its Store employees. This one is obviously over a year old with Ron Johnson at the helm (the date says 7/7/2011). The video is a pretty impressive piece of work from director Peter Sillen for something that never aired publicly. Among other interesting tidbits, the video shows store mock-up inside Covent Garden (London) space in 2008 before construction with Apple execs examining design elements.

The video seems to be the type you might see on TV and – just guessing here – with the departure of Ron Johnson may have been scrapped without stable store leadership to fill in. Bob Bridger, Apple VP for Retail Development, gets significant ‘face time’ as well.

To watch the video, click here.

[Source: 9to5Mac]