Apple Stores unify employee shirts as major customer service enhancements planned

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Apple is taking a small-step to unifying the attire of its U.S.-based Apple Store employees this upcoming week: the black shirts worn by Apple Store Business Team members for several years will be going into retirement, and all Apple Store employees will begin wearing the same, classic blue t-shirts as normally seen on the store sales floors. Is this a move from the handbook of Angela Ahrendts’ fashion background? Probably not. Sources say that the move happened in Europe a few months ago and the change-up is simply to unify the Apple Store teams as one. The business team will continue to exist in its current form (for now), so this is mostly just a visual change.

In other news, multiple sources also say that Apple is planning some significant operational changes within its stores to improve customer experience…

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Apple announces August 2nd opening of Wuxi, China retail store

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Apple has officially announced plans to open its new Wuxi, China retail store on August 2nd, according to a listing on the company’s website.

The new establishment, which will be the 12th official Apple retail store in the country, will be located in the Center 66 Mall (pictured above). However, there don’t seem to be any photos of Apple’s new space available just yet, as the company still undoubtedly has some work to do before it’s ready for the public eye.

The Wuxi store, like the Chongqing store opening next week, is a continuation of Apple’s plan to increase its presence in China over the course of 2014 and 2015 under the guidance of new VP of Retail Angela Ahrednts.

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New iTunes Pass credit refill service now available in United States and several other countries

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Yesterday Apple rolled out its new iTunes Pass service to Japan, allowing users to use a Passbook card to add credit to an iTunes account from an Apple Retail Store. Starting today, the offer is also available in the United States and Australia. Users in Canada, Germany, and the UK are also reporting seeing the feature, though it’s not officially listed on Apple’s website for those countries just yet.

To take advantage of this new program, you need to use the iTunes Store app on an iOS device to obtain an iTunes Pass. You can get one of these by tapping the “Redeem” button at the bottom of the home page within the app. To use the card, you can visit an Apple Retail Store and ask a specialist to help you add credit to your account. The specialist can then scan the barcode on the Passbook card to immediately add credit to your account.

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Apple begins hiring for another 3 new retail stores in China

Photo: mshcdn.com

Photo: mshcdn.com

We previously reported that Apple had new retail stores planned for the Chongqing region as well as upcoming locations for Shenyang and Central Hangzhou coming later this year. Today three more stores in China get added to the mix with a job listing on the company’s website hiring for positions in Tianjin, Wuxi, and Zhengzhou in addition to the three stores mentioned above that we already knew about (via Bloomberg).  Read more

Impressive new Omotesando Apple Store Tokyo set to open on June 13th

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Last month we showed you the new Apple Store in Portland as well as to soon-to-open location in Madrid, and now photos of a new, multi-level glass Apple Store are starting to surface from Japan. The gigantic retail location is located on the Omotesando avenue alongside several other flagship retailers and is set to open to the public on Friday, June 13th, as invitations to attend the day one experience have already been sent out. More photos below… Read more

Apple plans ‘enormous’ iPhone upgrade event this week to boost sales

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Apple is planning to hold an “enormous” iPhone-related event in its stores this week in order to boost sales, according to a source with knowledge of the initiative. Beginning May 8th, the source said, Apple will be contacting upgrade-eligible iPhone users with older iPhone models via email to come into their local Apple Store to update to a new iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c…

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iPhone 5 devices with sleep button issue may qualify for an extra $80 trade-in credit at Apple Retail locations

iPhone 5 - Slate/Silver
Late Friday afternoon Apple issued a press release stating that some iPhone 5 devices manufactured through March 2013 may have a defect that causes the sleep/wake button to fail. At that time, Apple positioned mail-in repairs as the only remedy for this issue, but we have learned today that there is another option that may allow affected customers to upgrade to an iPhone 5c/5s for free…

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Apple Stores launch in-store iPad trade-in program on Earth Day

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In its continued full-court Earth Day press, Apple is expanding its Reuse & Recycling program to help responsibly recycle more devices and get current generation devices into the hands of more customers.

As of this morning, the iPad is now eligible for the in-store Reuse & Recycling program at Apple Retail Store locations that allows customers to receive credit for their aging Apple devices. In the past, customers could only receive trade-in credit for iPhones. Also new, Apple will now allow iPhone or iPad trade-in credit to be used on cross products. That means you can trade-in an eligible iPhone and use that credit towards the purchase of a new iPad. Previously, iPhone trade-in credit could only be used to buy a new iPhone.

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Apple Stores discounting Apple TV w/ $25 iTunes card ahead of new hardware rumored for spring

 

Update: Apple has confirmed the promo, and according to the T&C online orders are also eligible.

According to our sources, Apple retail employees were informed this morning that beginning today, anyone who purchases an Apple TV from Apple will receive a free $25 iTunes gift card. As of right now this promotion seems to only be available at brick and mortar locations, but we will update this post if it pops up at the Apple online store. The promotion is scheduled to end on March 5th. iTunes gift cards can be used to download movies, music, apps, and more.

Here’s what we know so far about the incoming next-generation Apple TV hardware:
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SF planning commission votes to accept Union Square Apple Store called “more iconic than the glass cube in NYC”

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The San Francisco city planning commission voted today in favor of accepting the new Apple Store in Union Square, which an Apple spokesman said would be “a flagship” store that would become “more iconic than the glass cube in New York City.”

The changes announced today include moving the historic fountain outside the new location to center it in the resized plaza. According to Apple’s architect, the fountain will be moved in one piece rather than disassembled and rebuilt a few feet away from its current position. Apple’s previous plan to relocate the fountain was not satisfactory to the city’s historic preservation committee, but the new plan was accepted this week.

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Apple’s new head of retail Angela Ahrendts is Fortune’s #4 Businessperson of the Year

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Fortune is out today with its annual Businessperson of the Year list and this time around a couple notable Apple connections have made the list. Coming in at #4 behind #1Elon Musk, activist investors, and Tencent CEO ‘Pony’ Ma Huateng, is Apple’s recently hired Head of Retail, Burberry CEO Angela AhrendtsRead more

Apple iPad event spray paint spills over to this year’s holiday gift cards

apple-itunes-gift-card-9to5macMost of the attention on Apple’s retail overnight from this week was focused on the new window display, but there was another slight change that is also worth taking a look at. Apple has changed the design of its iTunes cards to closely resemble the spray pant styling from past iPad event invitations.

These updated iTunes gift cards are available in your local Apple store as of yesterday, just in time for the holidays. The changes have also been reflected on the iTunes gift page.

Speaking of iTunes, Apple’s present for retail employees this year was the opportunity to purchase a $50 card for $40. You can score this same deal right now over at 9to5Toys and can expect even more discounts as we progress towards Black Friday.