Westlake Apple Store officially opens its doors in Hangzhou, China (Photos)

Westlake Apple Store, Hangzhou, China

Apple CEO Tim Cook shared the grand opening photo via Twitter

Apple’s latest massive retail store—the Westlake Apple Store in Hangzhou, China—had its opening to the public today as officially scheduled. Naturally, much attention has been paid to what is now the largest Apple Store in Asia with Apple teasing the store’s grand opening earlier this month with a magnificent mural by artist Wang Dongling. You can see more shots from the scene around the new Westlake Apple Store below: Read more

Apple hires Burberry’s VP of Digital Retail initiatives ahead of Watch launch

fashion_watch

Apple has made yet another key hire from the fashion industry: Chester Chipperfield, the Vice President of Digital and Interactive Design at Burberry. Chipperfield was “responsible for User Experience and Digital Design for all channels” and was “highly involved in digital retail initiatives” at Burberry, according to his LinkedIn profile. He confirmed the move to Apple on his profile as well as on Twitter

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Apple teases soon-to-open Apple Store in Hangzhou, China, with stunning mural

Update: Apple has posted a version of the video with English subtitles on YouTube (embedded above).

Apple is certainly not thinking small when it comes to China, with 25 new retail stores promised within a two-year period, and its latest soon-to-open store in Hangzhou features a massive mural covering the entire front of the store. The store is due to open on Saturday, January 24th, the second of five new stores Angela Ahrendts said would be opening by the Chinese New Year on February 19th.

Featuring a poem written around 2000 years ago celebrating the importance of the city—a provincial capital—the stunning calligraphy was hand-painted by Wang Dongling, a famous modern calligrapher. Apple has released a video of its creation …  Read more

Apple planning 5 new Chinese retail store openings by Feb, hiring for 15 new locations

Angela Ahrendts

Apple is committed to its promise of expanding its retail presence in China from 15 to 40 stores within two years. Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts told Chinese website Xinhua on Thursday that the iPhone maker is gearing up to open five new stores in roughly five weeks.

“We are opening five new stores before the Chinese New Year this year. Four of the stores are in brand new cities for us,” said Ahrendts in a telephone interview with Xinhua. The new locations will be opened in time for China‘s Spring Festival, a popular shopping season that commemorates the Chinese New Year, on February 19. Read more

Apple makes key biomedical & fashion industry additions ahead of Watch launch

Apple Watch at Colette

Apple Watch at Colette

Apple has picked up a few new hires and advisors to assist its growing Watch team ahead of the Apple Watch launch currently on track for March. Among them, Apple has recently hired another executive from the fashion industry, this time from Louis Vuitton, in addition to two new hires from the medical industry. Read more

Apple thanks its employees for making “amazing moments” this year with a customized Incase backpack

Near the end of each year Apple thanks its employees for their hard work with a nice souvenir. This year some employees are being given a black Incase backpack featuring a bright white Apple logo.

At least one employee has already put the gift up on eBay with a starting bid of $49.99 and a Buy It Now of $99.99. From the images we’ve received, it appears that the bag is a customized version of the Incase Staple Backpack. In past years, Apple employees have received blankets, sweatshirts, and water bottles.

The bags were accompanied by this letter:

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Some Genius Bars are being repurposed for the holidays, but other changes loom

Apple-Store-Amsterdam-genius-bar

As they’ve done in years’ past, some Apple retail stores this holiday season will repurpose the Genius Bar for additional product space, pick-ups, or other uses as Apple attempts to make the shopping experience for customers as smooth as possible, 9to5Mac has learned.

The repurposing for the holidays will only arrive in some stores depending on needs and traffic, with some stores scheduled to use the Genius Bar area to complete express sales and hold products scheduled for pick-up. Other changes, however, will go beyond the holidays as the stores under new retail chief Angela Ahrendts evolve to better deal with increased foot traffic. Read more

Apple Stores recruiting fashion/luxury experts ahead of Apple Watch debut

Apple Watch at Colette

Apple Watch at Colette

We’ve already seen how Apple is presenting the upcoming Apple Watch, which it calls its most personal device yet, as not just another technology device but also a piece of jewelry that the fashion world will be proud to embrace.

9to5Mac has now learned from internal hiring documents that Apple is recruiting retail candidates this month with “a fashion or luxury background” suggesting Apple is preparing to deliver some changes to its retail stores in time for the Apple Watch’s early 2015 debut. With former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts leading Apple’s retail efforts and the Apple Watch set to transform the Apple Store into a jewelry store, what could a potential Apple Store makeover include? Read more

10% of owners of iPhone 5 & up will buy an Apple Watch, predicts Morgan Stanley

apple-watch

Morgan Stanley is predicting in an investor note that around 10% of those who own an iPhone 5 or later will buy an Apple Watch, generating first year sales of around 30M – right at the top end of the 10-30M range suggested by other analysts.

While predicting likely sales of a new product category is always a rather shaky undertaking, and sales of competitor smartwatches may not prove a reliable guide, Morgan Stanley thinks there is one clue to how well the Apple Watch might sell: the precedent set by the iPad …  Read more

Apple retail gift cards arrive in third-party stores for the holidays, in-store Beats repairs begin tomorrow

Gift-cards-gold-Apple

Apple is making a big push with gift cards for the holidays with the most notable change being gift cards for its retail stores arriving through third-party retailers, according to sources. The company already sold iTunes/App Store gift certificates through a number of retail parters, but it has just recently started selling its Apple Store gift cards outside its own channels as well. Apple Retail will also make changes to repair procedures tomorrow including the introduction of in-store repairs for Beats products.  Read more