FreedomPop, Ting, Virgin Mobile, more preparing to offer iPhone 6, latest Androids
New reports indicate that Sprint has dropped a previous requirement that resellers of its network -- FreedomPop, Straight Talk, Boost Mobile, Virgin, and some others -- wait more than a year before offering support for the latest models of Android and iOS devices. The change allows the mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) to immediately begin offering the current iPhone 6 line from Apple, the top-selling smartphone worldwide.
All three making deals to lure customers in
While the major (and smaller) official carriers of the iPhone 5 in the US have already announced that pre-orders will begin at 3:01AM ET (12:01AM PT) on Friday, September 14, several resellers are angling to get customers into their stores on the iPhone's official debut of September 21. In AT&T's case, it is making an offer to some customers who are just outside the upgrade window so they can -- for a price -- get an iPhone 5. Walmart is (slightly) discounting the contract price, and RadioShack offers a discount based on the trade-in of buyers' previous phones.
Apple pushing expensive store upgrades, says chain
French reseller eBizcuss is getting some support in its lawsuit against Apple, says ChannelWeb. The website recently received a 4,400-word letter from an anonymous European Apple Premium Reseller, likewise complaining about product shortages. The APR also alleges, however, that resellers are suffering cash flow problems due to Apple cutting credit lines, and that Apple partners are stepping into APR territory and forcing down margins through SMB (small-to-medium business) and education deals.
Favors its own stores on inventory, more
The largest independent Apple retailer in France has sued the company, alleging that Apple actively engages in practices that undermine and undercut resellers while favoring its own retail stores. The complaint, which was originally reported in the French newspaper Le Figaro (and picked up by ifoAppleStore) is similar to other court cases filed against Apple be resellers in the US and other countries.
ASMC Presidents Day sale
A number of Apple resellers are staging a Presidents Day sale, a collective announcement reveals. The Apple Specialist Marketing Co-op notes that 2009 will mark the first year the group has held a sale during the holiday weekend, when it is normally impossible to find any discounts on any Apple products. Apple itself typically schedules only one sale period per year, centered around Thanksgiving.
New Zealand store moves
A New Zealand-based Apple reseller, MagnumMac, has recently purchased a new building for occupation. Construction has already begun on the new storefront, which will be located in the center of Auckland's Newmarket shopping district, on the corner of Broadway and Khyber Pass. The location will serve as a replacement to a previous site in Newton, for which the lease expires in December. Existing customers have raised some concerns about the area's bad parking, but are claimed to understand the appeal of such a high-profile location. MagnumMac says it hopes to model the Newmarket shop after Apple's successful US-based stores, where the customer experience is highest priority.
4GB fourth-gen Nano?
Select resellers are stocking a 4GB version of the new iPod nano, in spite of Apple's announced capacities, a report claims. Although the Nano is officially available only in 8 and 16GB versions, Dutch resellers HTR are said to be carrying a smaller model. A Belgian reseller, Lab9, suggests that Apple has released a limited number of 4GB players to resellers, which are generally being priced at €119.
Italian resellers & iPhone
Italian iPhone shoppers may be allowed to buy the device through Apple resellers, a local news site reports. Macity cites a source "informed on the facts," who claims that stores with the Apple Premium Reseller designation will be able to sell the device alongside Vodafone and Telecom Italia's locations, and Apple's one official store in the country, situated in Rome. The distribution deal is said to have been arranged between the carriers and the resellers, rather than directly through Apple.
3G iPhone at Apple retail?
Apple retail stores around the world are beginning to receive mysterious boxes (one box per store) with strict instructions not to be opened until next week, along with new unidentified signage. It's unknown at this time what exactly is in these boxes but a couple false reports have come in stating they contain a version 2.0 iPhone display unit. An AppleInsider report is posting similar information taking place in Apple retails stores across Australia.
Apple resellers growing
Dedicated Apple resellers experienced a substantial growth during 2007, suggests an annual survey conducted by the Apple Specialist Marketing Co-Op. The group polled 35 "key" dealers and service providers, in both the US and Canada. "Our survey results," notes ASMC president Richard Haddock, "show that Apple Specialists grew their Apple sales business more than 20 percent in 2007." The survey further breaks figures down by saying that while over 60 percent of resellers grew sales over 20 percent, another 30 percent of vendors surpassed the 30 percent growth level. Only 5 percent of those polled did not experience any increase.