Angela Ahrendts finally readies employees for June Apple Watch retail launch in new video

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Apple is finally preparing to start selling the Apple Watch in its retail stores after solely offering the Watch via its online store due to constrained supplies. In a private video message to retail employees today, Apple Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts and Vice President of Retail Operations Jim Bean informed retail staff that training materials for the retail launch are once again being distributed to employees…

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Apple Stores drop AT&T iPhone subsidies this month as Verizon changes coming

Apple Inc Starts To Sell New iPhone 5S And iPhone 5C

Apple today has informed employees of significant changes to how iPhones are sold via AT&T and Verizon Wireless, according to sources. As we reported last month, Apple has indicated that iPhones sold via AT&T at both physical Apple Retail Stores and on the Apple Online Store will move exclusively to Next financing plans this month, in June. This means that a customer who wants to buy a new iPhone on AT&T will no longer be able to do so on a subsidy…

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Apple Stores boost trade-in values for older iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S this month

A man holds a new Apple iPhone 5S next to his iPhone 5 at an Apple Store at Tokyo's Ginza shopping district

For the month of June, Apple is giving a small boost to its trade-in price values for the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and iPhone 5S, according to Apple Store sources. Using the Reuse and Recycle program, a customer can bring in an older iPhone model and receive gift card credit toward the purchase of a newer iPhone. Likely in order to spur some new iPhone sales this month, Apple is offering the following improvements to its trade-in pricing:

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Apple Store app on iOS updated with support for Apple Watch

As we reported would happen earlier this week, Apple this evening has updated its Apple Store app with support for Watch. From the app, users can get real-time order status updates, initiate the process of picking up an order, make and search for Genius Bar appointments, and discover events and workshops taking place in nearby Apple Stores.

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Apple to expand iPhone trade-in program to China next week, Foxconn to resell devices on secondary markets

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Apple will begin rolling out an iPhone trade-in program in China in the near future. The option may become available in stores as soon as March 31st, allowing Chinese users to take advantage of the program that has helped boost iPhone sales in several countries already, including the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

Chinese retail employees will determine the condition of the phone being traded in, and offer Apple Store credit to customers, Bloomberg reports. Devices that are traded in will be sold to Foxconn by Apple. The manufacturing partner will then make any necessary repairs and resell them through its own online outlets:

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Apple Retail looks to get a better understanding of its customers to sell Watches

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In order to further personalize the Apple Watch sales experience, Apple is positioning its retail employees to learn more about its customers in order to help them make an even better Apple Watch purchasing decision. Apple today sent a memo to retail employees that summarizes feedback from 16 retail store employees who helped show off the Watch during Paris Fashion Week at Parisian boutique Colette in September 2014. The most notable piece of advice:

 Helping customers buy a watch means you need to understand them more. You need to know about their life, their activities, and [needs]… Be prepared to ask permission to interact closely with people.

While this statement may seem like Apple wants its employees to get overly personal with potential Apple Watch customers, some of these questions are appropriate in light of the Apple Watch’s feature set. Depending on these answers, employees will be able to better steer customers toward different Apple Watch collections. For example, a person focused on outdoor activities may want the Sport version, while someone constantly at high-profile events may want a stainless steel or gold model…

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Apple commissions another artistic mural for upcoming Chongqing, China retail store

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Last week Apple posted a video showing how the calligraphy mural painted at one of its upcoming Chinese retail outlets was created just days before that store opened to the public.

Today the company has posted a new video of a second mural, this time at its new Chongqing location. The store features a unique cylindrical entrance, and Apple commissioned two artists—a China-based painter and US-based photographer—to collaborate on the artwork.

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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 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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Confirmed: Bose speakers returning to Apple Stores after removal earlier this year

Bose Apple Store

It looks like Apple will indeed be cashing in on Bose speakers and headphones sales in time for the remainder of the holiday shopping season. Yesterday rumors surfaced that Apple was readying its retail stores to carry Bose products once again, and today 9to5Mac has confirmed that Bose products, including the very popular SoundLink III/ Mini Bluetooth speakers, will once again be sold by Apple alongside its Beats-branded speakers and headphones that it acquired for $3 billion earlier this year… Read more

Brooklyn finally getting an Apple Store, expected to open in April 2015

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After many years of speculation, the NY Post reports that Brooklyn is finally getting its first Apple Store, expected to open in April of next year. The above render shows what the building is expected to look like once renovations are complete.

The tech-products powerhouse has signed a long-term lease for a 20,000-square-foot store at 247 Bedford Ave. at the corner of North 3rd Street, brokerage community sources definitively revealed.

This will make the opening around five years since then Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz made a video plea direct to Steve Jobs …  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