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

Apple Online Store frontpage redesigned ahead of Black Friday, pushing iOS devices, Macs and Beats accessories

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For Black Friday, Apple has refreshed the frontpage of its online store with a rather-drastic redesign. Each product category now dominates the webpage, with full-bleed images of their main product lines. The new iPad updates get the top spot, but interestingly Apple TV and Beats headphones also get prime placement. In fact, the product images for Beats accessories are so large, it only takes four images to dominate the screen.

The strap-line ‘From one gift come many’ headlines the page, which also links up with Apple’s upcoming retail store holiday changes. The same tagline will soon be featured in Apple Store windows around the world, highlighting the wide scope of the iPhone and iPad, as shown below.

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Flagship Apple Store and office space rumored for Broadway Trade Center in downtown Los Angeles

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Apple may be preparing to move into the historic Broadway Trade Center in downtown Los Angeles according to the latest rumor from ifo Apple Store. The company has reportedly leased the building for use as office space as well as a retail outlet.

Additionally, the report claims that some of that office space will be dedicated to the recently acquired Beats by Dre, which took up residence in a brand new Culver City facility earlier this summer.

The five-story structure was built in 1908 and boasts 1.1 million square feet of floor space. Apple would be a prime candidate for the space as the city continues a ten-year initiative to “Bring Back Broadway” by reviving the dormant theaters and other businesses in the area, including “more than a million square feet of vacant commercial space,” according to the commission’s website.

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Fitbit fitness tracking lineup dropped from Apple Online Store

Apple Watch fitness

Apple Watch will include fitness and health tracking features

Update: Fitbit statement below the fold…

If you’re in the market for a Fitbit device and you’re shopping at the Apple Store, you’ll probably have to shop elsewhere to purchase the fitness tracker. Following report from Re/Code last month that Apple planned to drop the Fitbit line of wearable devices from its Apple Store lineup, Apple has today removed the Fitbit Flex and other Fitbit products from its online store following low inventory over the past week. While its unclear why Apple is no longer selling Fitbit products through its retail channels, on the surface the move is similar to Apple’s decision to discontinue selling Bose headphones and speakers at its retail and online stores.

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