Westlake Apple Store officially opens its doors in Hangzhou, China (Photos)

Westlake Apple Store, Hangzhou, China

Apple CEO Tim Cook shared the grand opening photo via Twitter

Apple’s latest massive retail store—the Westlake Apple Store in Hangzhou, China—had its opening to the public today as officially scheduled. Naturally, much attention has been paid to what is now the largest Apple Store in Asia with Apple teasing the store’s grand opening earlier this month with a magnificent mural by artist Wang Dongling. You can see more shots from the scene around the new Westlake Apple Store below: Read more

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 teases soon-to-open Apple Store in Hangzhou, China, with stunning mural

Update: Apple has posted a version of the video with English subtitles on YouTube (embedded above).

Apple is certainly not thinking small when it comes to China, with 25 new retail stores promised within a two-year period, and its latest soon-to-open store in Hangzhou features a massive mural covering the entire front of the store. The store is due to open on Saturday, January 24th, the second of five new stores Angela Ahrendts said would be opening by the Chinese New Year on February 19th.

Featuring a poem written around 2000 years ago celebrating the importance of the city—a provincial capital—the stunning calligraphy was hand-painted by Wang Dongling, a famous modern calligrapher. Apple has released a video of its creation …  Read more

Apple planning 5 new Chinese retail store openings by Feb, hiring for 15 new locations

Angela Ahrendts

Apple is committed to its promise of expanding its retail presence in China from 15 to 40 stores within two years. Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts told Chinese website Xinhua on Thursday that the iPhone maker is gearing up to open five new stores in roughly five weeks.

“We are opening five new stores before the Chinese New Year this year. Four of the stores are in brand new cities for us,” said Ahrendts in a telephone interview with Xinhua. The new locations will be opened in time for China‘s Spring Festival, a popular shopping season that commemorates the Chinese New Year, on February 19. Read more

Apple creating a smaller version of iconic Shanghai store as promised Chinese retail expansion continues

Pudong, Shanghai, store left;

Pudong, Shanghai, store left; latest Chongqing store right

Apple is creating in Chongqing, China, what appears to be a smaller version of its iconic glass cylinder Apple Store in Shanghai. ifo Apple Store shared a series of photos as the wraps came off what is set to be Apple’s third retail store in the Chongqing region, which has a total population of more than 28 million people.

Workers dismantled the huge steel structure that has been covering the entrance for nearly the past year, revealing a 30-foot tall glass structure that will lead to the underground store. The entrance is set in a plaza and surrounded by tall buildings, a setting similar to the [Shanghai] store, but on a smaller scale.

The first Apple Store in Chongqing opened in July of last year, and a second one is under construction. More photos of the latest store can be seen below …  Read more

iPhone 6 owners reporting that cards cannot be added back into Apple Pay after a restore [Update: resolved]

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Update: Users in the thread are now reporting that the problem has been resolved.

Multiple iPhone 6 owners are reporting in an Apple Support Communities thread that they are unable to add cards back into Apple Pay after their phone has been restored – whether as a new phone or from a backup. According to reports there, Apple has been able to resolve the issue only by replacing the phone.

I just left the Apple Store. They couldn’t diagnose the issue and we did a restore there in store and the problem persisted. The solution was to swap the hardware […]

I ended up going to the Apple Store and going to the genius bar. They proceeded to do all the thing I already tried. After they did a restore and set up as a new phone and saw they it didn’t work they went in the back and brought out a new phone. I fired up the phone and went thru steps to add my cards to Apple pay and everything worked. So getting a new phone fixed the issue.

The symptoms seem to suggest that the secure enclave is not being completely cleared, despite notifications from banks that cards have been removed at the point when the phone was restored …  Read more

Russian Apple Online Store returns … with iPhone 6 prices now 35% higher compared to a week ago

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After a week of being inactive, the Russian Apple Online Store is now back online with customers freely able to purchase products from the site once again. Apple abruptly stopped trading in the region last week due to significant currency exchange rate fluctuations that meant the company had to readjust prices.

Apple has indeed raised prices significantly. The iPhone 6 now costs 53,990 Rubles for a 16 GB base model. This is a 35% increase in the Russian sales price; the model cost 39 990 Rubles last week. 53,990 Rubles is approximately worth $980 dollars. The 16 GB iPhone 6 lists for $649, excluding taxes.

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Some Genius Bars are being repurposed for the holidays, but other changes loom

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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

Sprint ‘iPhone for Life’ & ‘Easy Pay’ leasing/financing options coming to Apple Retail Stores

With the introduction of new iPhone financing options from wireless carriers, Apple has steadily been adding support in its stores for the latest payment options allowing customers to get an iPhone without paying the full price or even the $199 and up contract price.

Apple already supports financing plans from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile either online, in its retail stores, or both, and 9to5Mac has learned that Apple is preparing to soon offer Sprint’s iPhone financing and leasing plans as well with support rolling out at some stores as soon as today. Read more

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