Opinion: Here’s how Apple can solve its 3 big, persistent pre-order problems

Apple Store Down

If you’re reading this article, you already know Apple’s pre-order drill for major new releases: Apple announces a new product, says advance online orders will start at 12:01am on a specific day, and then — when most of its customers are either exhausted or groggy — re-opens its online store to a pent-up frenzy of reservations. Virtually every time, Apple’s most dedicated customers deal with delays and web site loading problems. Sometimes, even if their orders were placed in the first hour or two of sales, they may also face uncertainty over adequate supplies for launch day deliveries.

Despite Apple CEO Tim Cook’s suggestion that the Apple Watch rollout could not be going better, his customers have widely deemed it a disaster: some unlucky people who pre-ordered Apple Watches in the first 10 minutes still haven’t received anything a full month later. Meanwhile, a group of “luckier” people — notably including scalpers — have found ways to skip Apple’s pre-order lines, walking into boutiques such as Maxfield in Los Angeles, and buying bunches of the same Watches pre-orderers are still waiting for.

Sure, overwhelming demand for new products can be hard to manage, and business gurus tend to write this off as a “good problem” for any company to have. But at some point, that good problem becomes chronic, frequently dissatisfying customers, which is when it has officially become a “bad problem.” Whether he admits it or not, that’s the situation Tim Cook faces today. The good news is that he’s well-known as a supply chain genius, so if anyone’s capable of fixing the three key problems within Apple’s screwy pre-order system, it’s him. My hope is that discussing these issues — as well as solutions — will inspire the improvements Apple’s customers have been wanting for a long time…

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Apple Store app on iOS updated w/ support for Touch ID & two-step verification

After being updated with support for Apple Watch last month, the Apple Store app on iOS has been updated today with a pair of highly requested features. With today’s update, which bumps the app to version 3.3, users can now use Touch ID to view orders, access EasyPay receipts, and make reservations at retail locations.

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Apple gets closer to opening up its first store in Belgium

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New Brussels shopping complex La Toison d’Or

Apple is getting closer to taking its retail stores to a new market: Belgium. According to sources within Apple retail, Apple today sent out a memo announcing the new market. The note also was sent to gauge interest from employees who may be inclined to relocate to Belgium to assist with opening up the new location…

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Apple Store evacuated after employees fall ill, hazmat teams investigate suspicious package

An Apple Store in Monterey, California was evacuated yesterday as employees began to fall ill reportedly due to a package delivered to the location covered with an unknown substance. CBS reports that “fire and hazmat officials determined the package was contaminated in transit when an unknown substance most likely leaked onto the package’s exterior.” Read more

Apple TV gains new content in UK, Ireland, Australia, Japan, & Scandinavia

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Apple has pushed out several new content channels across many countries to the Apple TV, as noted by several readers. Here’s the breakdown of the new channels across the world:

  • Viaplay has been added to the Apple TV in Scandinavia (which is comprised of Denmark, Sweden, Norway) and Finland. Viaplay is comprised of local sports content, films, and TV shows.
  • Stan has been added in Australia, and it contains localized TV shows, films, and content for kids.
  • The WWE Wrestling Network has been added to Apple TVs in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The network first launched in several countries, including the United States in Canada, for the Apple TV in February.
  • Bandai, a localized, subscription-based digital network, has been added to the Apple TV in Japan.

Last week, Apple rolled out CBS Sports and USA Now channels in the United States. Apple is expected to announce new Apple TV hardware in June at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, complete with an App Store and redesigned Remote.

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All Apple Stores to begin stocking 12-inch MacBook at end of May

MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015)

The recently released 12-inch MacBook will be available for purchase at all Apple Stores globally beginning the week of May 25th, according to a memo from Apple to its retail staff issued earlier today. Because of supply constraints, not unlike those for the also recently-launched Apple Watch, sales of the new MacBook have been mostly restricted to Apple’s Online Store…

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Apple Watch’s online-only launch coming to an end soon as Apple preps in-store stock & pickup option

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Apple is now preparing for the rollout of the in-store pickup option on new Apple Watch orders, which will allow users to select a retail location to pick up their wearable devices after order. This is the first time Apple has made any indication of watch stock appearing at its stores since Angela Ahrendts revealed that the company was unsure of when that might happen.

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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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A skeptic’s Apple Watch diary: Day 1, first impressions

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I’m a self-confessed smartwatch skeptic. The first one I ever tried, the original Pebble, struck me as an extremely ugly solution in search of a problem. The Apple Watch, when it was finally announced, looked like a rather attractive (if too thick) solution in search of a problem.

Which raises the question: why was I up at the crack of 8 am (time zones can be useful things on occasion …) to order one? Three reasons …  Read more