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

Apple Retail SVP Angela Ahrendts: Apple Watch launching in “Spring,” after Chinese New Year

Screenshot 2014-11-02 18.38.08

The Apple Watch’s launch is scheduled to occur in the “spring,” according to Apple Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts, later in 2015 than some had originally anticipated. Ahrendts stated the timeframe to retail employees in a video message, a transcript of which was provided by a source. While explaining that employees need to conserve energy for upcoming shopping seasons, Ahrendts stated, “we’re going into the holidays, we’ll go into Chinese New Year, and then we’ve got a new watch launch coming in the spring:”

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Tim Cook visits Palo Alto Apple Store for iPhone 6 launch as Angela Ahrendts welcomes Sydney

Apple’s leadership is out in full force today for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launch across the globe.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been spotted at the company’s local Apple Store in Palo Alto, California, to be a part of the crowd and watch the new iPhone debut. Cook reportedly joked with the crowd saying he got the new iPhone several months ago. As evident by Twitter, the Apple CEO has shared in the excitement by taking selfies with the crowd.

On the other side of the world, Apple’s recently appointed SVP of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts helped kick off the new iPhones launch in Sydney, Australia, where the iPhone went on sale at 8 am local time several hours ago.

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Vogue editor delivers a fashion industry verdict on the Apple Watch [video]

fashion

Lisa Armstrong, a contributing editor to Vogue and former Fashion Writer of the Year in the UK, has provided a fashion industry verdict on the Apple Watch – and if she speaks for the rest of the fashion world, Apple should be feeling pretty happy right now. Writing in the Telegraph, she said:

The Apple Watch […] looks terrific, although most of us will deploy a fraction of its potential. Would I like one? Yes. I love watches, and I’m a sucker for a good looking gadget […] [With the Apple Watch] the company is entering the style arena. It should be one hell of a show.

Apple always knew that the watch would need to succeed as a fashion accessory every bit as much as a gadget. The above image – from the Apple website – tells its own story… Read more

Former Apple SVP of Retail Ron Johnson talks Apple and Microsoft Stores, offers surprising praise for Surface 3

Ron Johnson at Apple store opening

Former Apple Senior Vice President of Retail (then ousted JCPenney CEO) Ron Johnson made a somewhat rare public-facing appearance on Andreessen Horowitz’s podcast. The discussion comes in at just under half an hour and features the former head of Apple Retail discussing his experience with leading the Apple Store as well as the challenge for up-and-coming startup brands to afford brick-and-mortar retail channels, but more interesting from an Apple perspective is Johnson’s praise for Microsoft’s retail stores and the Surface 3 tablet that the company heavily markets against Apple’s MacBook Air.

“I think the Microsoft stores have succeeded much more than popular opinion. […] I think it’s really helped, for instance, the Surface 3. It’s a really great product and we all know that. Everyone who has tried a Surface 3 is pretty blown away with the software, the interaction, how it can be a tablet and a computer, its part of the future. Without those stores that Surface 3 wouldn’t be where it is today.”

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The eight reasons Morgan Stanley thinks it’s time to buy AAPL

iPhone-6-Concept-Martin-Hajek-2

Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty is advising investors that now is the time to buy AAPL shares – and not just because the iPhone 6 is on the way.

Huberty gives eight reasons (via BusinessInsider) for believing that the price of AAPL stock is likely to increase. None of them are new, but the combined effect is persuasive, she argues …  Read more

Apple adds key Vice Presidents, more diversity to executive leadership page

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Apple today has expanded its Executive Leadership Team to include notable Apple Vice Presidents. The team shown on Apple’s official PR Bios website now includes Vice President of Special Projects Paul Deneve, Vice President of of Environmental Initiatives Lisa Jackson, Vice President and Dean of Apple University Joel Podolny, Vice President of Hardware Technologies Johny Srouji, and Vice President of Worldwide Human Resources Denise Young Smith.

Interestingly, each of these positions is fairly new to Apple: Deneve joined from Yves Saint Laurent last year, Lisa Jackson moved over from the EPA last year, Joel Podolny went full-time on Apple University earlier this year, Young Smith was promoted to head of HR earlier this year, and Srouji became head of Hardware Technologies upon Bob Mansfield’s (second) role reduction last year

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New job listings indicate Apple’s aim to bolster retail marketing team

 

Burberry Group Plc CEO Angela Ahrendts At The London Stock Exchange

Following the recent hire of a former Burberry and Nike social marketing executive to run Apple’s new social media arm, a few job listings on Apple’s website point to an attempt to bolster the company’s retail marketing team. A few of the positions were outlined by ifo Apple Store earlier today and seem to point toward an increased focus on building and maintaining customer loyalty to the Apple brand.

We’ve heard time and again that Apple customers, particularly iPhone users, are among the most loyal, but it seems Apple believes there’s still more to be done in that department. One of these new job listings calls for a “Program Manager — Loyalty, Global Retail Marketing,” which would focus on creating “learning and services strategies” designed to inspire loyalty among Apple’s user base.

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