Apple to overhaul Genius Bar, changing appointments and using phones as pagers

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Apple will soon make a significant change to retail store Genius Bar appointments to improve the customer experience, according to several sources briefed on the upcoming shift. During the week of March 9th, Apple’s United States stores will launch a new initiative called “The new Concierge” that replaces traditional walk-in Genius Bar appointments. Currently, a customer seeking Genius Bar assistance can walk into an Apple Retail Store, explain the issue to a check-in assistant, and get a specific time to return for an appointment…

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Apple considering dedicated Apple Watch stores as it sets up Paris booth, London Selfridges Wonder Room

Apple Watch hands on table from September

Apple Watch hands-on table from September Media Event

According to multiple reports out of France, Apple is constructing a dedicated display for the upcoming Apple Watch in some upscale Paris-based retail outlets. The reports say that the size of the display is close to the length of a few small balconies and that Apple Retail Senior Vice President Angela Ahrendts has been directing the construction of the booth at retailer Galeries Lafayette on Champs Elysees. While these claims for France are still unconfirmed, sources have told us that Apple is considering constructing dedicated Apple Watch retail stores in the future if demand deems such outlets necessary…

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Live blog: Tim Cook at Goldman Sachs Tech Conference 2015

Tim Cook

As mentioned earlier today, Tim Cook is speaking momentarily at the 2015 Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference where his remarks will be live streamed, and below we’ll update with the latest from the Apple CEO. In previous years, Cook has used the platform to share insight about product performance including the Apple TV and tease future roadmaps as the CEO often does. Today’s appearance follows Apple’s record quarter for any company with more than $74 billion reported in revenue and over 74 million iPhones sold. Apple is also positioned to release the Apple Watch in April, Cook recently mentioned, so today’s remarks should be interesting. Read more

First Apple Store coming to Queens as new Brooklyn & Manhattan stores running behind

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Apple is preparing three major new Apple Stores for New York, with two of the stores reaching major new markets for the first time. Apple is developing the first stores for the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn, while a new store for the Upper East Side of Manhattan on 74th Street and Madison is also in development, according to sources.

The first Apple Store for Queens will be located in the Queens Center Mall on the second floor. One source says this store will be the largest Apple retail outlet located in a New York mall to date, and Apple is expecting revenues for this store to even beat out some of its flagship counterparts located elsewhere in the state. The store is under construction and is expected to open later in 2015, but an official announcement may come sooner…

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Chongqing Apple Store unveiled as mural removed ahead of tomorrow’s opening

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We recently saw the mural Apple commissioned for one of its five new Apple Stores in China, and today the mural is down revealing the glass cylinder entrance of its Chongqing store, an apparent clone of its Shanghai store design. The store opens at 10am tomorrow.

The photos were posted on Taisy and appear to have originated from MacX. The interior of the store is very reminiscent of the spiral staircase in the iconic glass cube store on Fifth Avenue in New York (photo below) …

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Angela Ahrendts recruiting U.S. employees for China as new stores & initiatives revealed

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Apple Senior Vice President of Retail Angela Ahrendts is continuing to go all in on growth in China. In video messages to employees in recent days and weeks, Ahrendts has been recruiting employees from United States-based Apple Retail stores to relocate to China to help build up Apple’s retail efforts in the region. In a note to employees late last week, sources say that Ahrendts reported that approximately 200 Apple retail workers from the U.S. have already offered to make the move. Ahrendts added that the offer to move to China “has no expiration date because as the business grows, our needs will only become greater, so as your personal and professional life changes, just always keep China at the top of your mind, because we’re going to need you…”

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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

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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