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 GÃ¼l 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.
Apple Stores to open early for iPad Air
Apple's retail stores will open early on Friday, Nov. 1 to serve customers eager to pick up the company's new iPad Air. Apple announced on its website on Thursday that Apple Stores will be opening at 8 a.m., an hour earlier than they typically open, in order to sell the new iPad. Apple has in the past opened its retail locations early for other product launches, including the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c.
Gold version of iPhone 5s shows as shipping in October
Following sales opening in Australia, Asia, and Europe, Apple has started selling the iPhone 5s through its online store in the United States, hours before its expected retail release. While the iPhone 5c has been available to pre-order through the store since the 13th of September, and is also currently available to buy, this is the first time that the iPhone 5s is being sold through Apple itself.
Rockstar Games launches GTA V app with map, virtual pet
A companion app for Grand Theft Auto V has launched alongside the game. The free "iFruit" app, currently available for iOS but heading to Android and other phone platforms in the future, allows users to customize vehicles from outside the game, as well as a second app offering a manual and digital map for the game. A virtual pet, in the form of Chop the Dog, will reward players that look after it with in-game bonuses.
Store will take up over 1,000 square feet on second floor
This weekend, Apple will be opening a new store in Italy, in the seaside resort town of Rimini. The new store, the country's 13th, will reside in the Le Befane mall alongside 130 other retail stores, on the second floor atop a retail store called Marco Polo. The mall is said to be one of the largest in the entire country. The new store is said to be part of Apple's push to emphasize the iPhone, but will also feature other Apple products as other stores do. This is the first Apple Store in this general area, a popular resort town originally founded in 268 BC.
Unusual Thursday closing brings greater back-to-school emphasis
The online Apple Store went offline worldwide for almost five hours beginning just after midnight (ET) on Friday until nearly 5AM ET. The long downtime, just slightly above average for a significant store downtime event, is sometimes indicative of a product refresh or addition, though in this case it appears to have been for minor site update to emphasize the current "Back to School" gift card and accessories promotion. No new or refreshed product turned up, though the last time the store was down for such an xtended period was for five hours on June 10, adding the latest MacBook Air models.
Nine other stores, residences in the area also affected
Heavy rains hitting the Bellevue, WA area (near Redmond) have flooded a number of stores at the Bellevue Square mall, including the local Apple Store. Video and tweets from customers who were inside the store at the time reported that water began rushing in from one of the walls, spreading over the floor during a day of heavy rains. The store was evacuated with no injuries, though it is unclear how much damage was suffered by equipment in the store. Nine other stores at the mall and some residences in the area were also hit by flooding.
Second time leaks have disrupted flagship NYC store
Rain is again seeping into the underground store of Apple's iconic Fifth Avenue NYC store, disrupting operations as staff move electronics out of harm's way and move receptacles to catch leaking water coming into the store. Recent heavy rains early in May damaged the store, flooding the below-ground level after a slow leak turned into a full-fledged pouring incursion. The problem is thought to be a drainage issue.
Expanded, multi-floor layout gives Mac maker showcase space
[Updated with video of grand opening] Europe's latest "showcase" Apple Store, the Kurfürstendamm outlet in Berlin that is set to open on Friday at 5pm local time, looks to take its place as one of the most beautiful on the continent -- comparing favorably to premiere stores in Paris and London among others. The large facility, with some 48,000 square feet, has room for luxuries like an expanded theater space and classically-appointed conference room, while still retaining a sleek and modern main sales floor at the ground level following extensive renovations to the century-old building.
Other alerts such as shipping, changes in order now available
Apple on Tuesday updated its Apple Store app for iOS, adding an ability to send notifications to users when they are eligible for upgrade pricing on a new iPhone through their carrier. The new version (2.6, free) also adds notification support for changes in orders, such as shipping or delivery notices. Previously, the program was able to track a user's order but only when the app was actually in use. Users can now opt for push notifications, as well as schedule Genius, One to One or Specialist appointments, order products for pickup or use EasyPay to buy accessories.
Apple offers free 2-3 day shipping to beat the holiday rush
The online Apple store has posted a banner at the top of the page informing customers that they can "get it in time for the holidays with free 2-3 day shipping on everything in the store." The promotion is an annual benefit Apple provides to last minute online shoppers, and has been offered for the last six years.
Coming to retail stores tomorrow, GSM only
Following our earlier report, the online US Apple Store now has gone live with unlocked GSM-only versions of the iPhone 5 in time for the holiday buying season. The unlocked version starts at $649 for the 16GB model, mirroring pricing in other countries (such as Canada) where the unlocked version has been available right from the latest iPhone's debut. As has been traditional in the US, the company delayed the introduction of an unlocked model to allow carriers an advantage.
Points-of-sale expansion cuts into store sales increases
Analyst Charlie Wolf from Needham & Company has told his clients in a new report that Apple Store revenues have not kept pace with the growth in Apple's overall business, but that this is because the company is continuing to expand its range of points-of-sale rather than any flaw in the management of the stores. With ever more places to buy Apple products, the need to specifically visit an Apple Store for purchases has been diminished. Nonetheless, the retail stores continue to show strong growth even in a dour economy.
Residents, tourists brave cold weather, overnight stays
The Wangfujing Apple Store in Beijing opened on Saturday to large crowds that began gathering the night before, enduring cold weather to be among the first to get into the city's latest, largest and third Apple retail store. The new building includes three storeys (including a basement), Asia's first all-glass staircase and is the largest Apple Store on the continent. The new shop has a strong emphasis on training and features 300 employees, two 360-degree Genius Bars and a spectacular location with a huge LED billboard for signage.
Nova Scotia store is now easternmost in North America
Apple opened three retail stores in Canada over the weekend, with celebrations in Halifax for the first Apple store in Nova Scotia, complemented with the opening of a new store in British Columbia, as well as a re-opening for an expanded store in Calgary. The new Coquitlam store, not far from Burnaby and Port Moody, is in a northeastern suburb outside the Vancouver area.
Raises up to five percent will hit three months early
As one his first public actions as Apple's head of retail, John Browett is advancing the timetable for rolling out Apple raises for its Apple Store employees by three months, with the raises now scheduled to kick in starting June 30 rather than the previously-planned September 30. The raises are in addition to new Mac and iPad discounts given to the employees earlier this year. Raises will be between one and five percent of current salary.
Company to open 40 new stores in 2012
On the heels of last week's opening of the Murcia, Spain Apple Store, various sources have reported stores underway or near opening around the world. The next most likely international store is thought to be in Paris, France in the La Defense district, which is scheduled to open on May 26. Also coming later in the year is a new story in Salt Lake City, Utah; one near Bakersfield, California; a planned expansion of the existing store in Calgary, Alberta in Canada, and Apple has allegedly taken over a lease on a store in Plymouth, England.
Retail outlets to see more space dedicated to Apple
Apple is likely to increase its footprint outside of its existing Apple Stores, according to analysts at Piper Jaffray. The iPhone and iPad maker is looking to expand on pilot projects that have seen Apple "store-within-a-store" (SWAS) popping up in select Walmart and Target stores. Taken nationally, such a move would tremendously expand Apple's retail reach, as the two big box retailers have significantly more rural distribution than does Apple.
A second store for Scandinavia
Though still unannounced, job listings, city drawings and other clues have conclusively confirmed three forthcoming Apple retail stores in locations MacNN has reported on before. The setting for the new Yonkers, New York store has been confirmed by one of our readers as being in the Westchester Ridge Hill shopping center. Meanwhile, a new Apple store is underway in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Scandinavia may be getting a second store this fall.