Apple Online Store goes down ahead of Spring Forward event

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 12.02.14The Apple Store is down, in preparation for announcements later today at Apple’s Spring Forward event. The store going down is a very strong indicator that something new will be available to buy after the event is over — but what products? The most likely answer is new MacBooks.

There is also the potential of Apple Watch preorders, although these are more likely to take place in a couple of weeks, assuming an April launch.

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Apple Watch’s retail sales pitch revealed: 3 key features, switch to iPhone, focus on bands

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With next week’s Apple Watch event fast approaching, Apple has revealed its retail selling strategies to employees, including a focus on “three key features” and a plan to encourage Watch customers to upgrade or switch to new iPhones. According to selling guidelines provided by sources within Apple Retail, Apple believes that “many customers have already decided they want an Apple Watch,” and will use the Watch to “position the benefits” of purchasing a compatible iPhone model. Retail employees have been told to ask customers about their iPhone usage habits, their favorite feature in iOS 8, and if they use health and fitness software on their iPhone…

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Tim Cook’s latest stop in whirlwind international tour: London’s Covent Garden Apple Store

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Tim Cook’s international tour continues. After visiting BILDChancellor Angela Merkel and an Apple Store in Germany, and President Reuven Rivlin in Israel, he was photographed today in the Apple Store in London’s Covent Garden.

Business Insider pulled together a few tweets in which Cook gave Apple Watch demos to surprised customers, and posed for selfies with store employees …  Read more

Apple considering dedicated Apple Watch stores as it sets up Paris booth, London Selfridges Wonder Room

Apple Watch hands on table from September

Apple Watch hands-on table from September Media Event

According to multiple reports out of France, Apple is constructing a dedicated display for the upcoming Apple Watch in some upscale Paris-based retail outlets. The reports say that the size of the display is close to the length of a few small balconies and that Apple Retail Senior Vice President Angela Ahrendts has been directing the construction of the booth at retailer Galeries Lafayette on Champs Elysees. While these claims for France are still unconfirmed, sources have told us that Apple is considering constructing dedicated Apple Watch retail stores in the future if demand deems such outlets necessary…

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Can you guess the price of the 18-karat gold Apple Watch?

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Can you guess the price of the gold Apple Watch? There has been a lot of speculation about how much the 42mm and 38mm versions of the 18-karat Apple Watch Edition will cost, but we wanted to poll the 9to5Mac community to see where everyone stands. Put your guess in the comments, vote using the polls below, and we’ll check back in April to point fingers, etc.

We do have some clues about how much it might cost: We reported recently that Apple Stores are being prepped with jewelry store-style touches for the Apple Watch launch, including safes that will store the expensive 18-karat gold Watch Edition models. That could be a hint that we’re looking at a product pricier than anything Apple currently has in stock at its stores. Read more

Paper by FiftyThree’s essential tools now free for all iPad users

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Paper by FiftyThree, the popular illustrating app for iPad, is making a significant change to its app price today. While Paper for iPad has been free to download and use since its debut, the app has also had tools for drawing and illustrating available for unlocking through in-app purchases as well.

Starting today, FiftyThree is making the all tools offered in Paper free for everyone to use. FiftyThree is now including the Draw, Sketch, Outline, Write, and Color tools for every Paper user. Previously, the essential tools were $3.99 to unlock as a package while individual tools could be have for $0.99 each. Read more

First Apple Store coming to Queens as new Brooklyn & Manhattan stores running behind

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Apple is preparing three major new Apple Stores for New York, with two of the stores reaching major new markets for the first time. Apple is developing the first stores for the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn, while a new store for the Upper East Side of Manhattan on 74th Street and Madison is also in development, according to sources.

The first Apple Store for Queens will be located in the Queens Center Mall on the second floor. One source says this store will be the largest Apple retail outlet located in a New York mall to date, and Apple is expecting revenues for this store to even beat out some of its flagship counterparts located elsewhere in the state. The store is under construction and is expected to open later in 2015, but an official announcement may come sooner…

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Apple Stores to act more like jewelry stores for upcoming gold Apple Watch

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Apple is preparing to take some pages out of the traditional jewelry store playbook. For the upcoming 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition, Apple is planning several new features for its retail stores to support the device. As we reported several months ago, Apple is planning on allowing customers to actually try on the watches and test out different band styles inside of stores. With the high-expected price tag of the gold watch models, Apple will also step up its security features for stores…

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Chongqing Apple Store unveiled as mural removed ahead of tomorrow’s opening

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We recently saw the mural Apple commissioned for one of its five new Apple Stores in China, and today the mural is down revealing the glass cylinder entrance of its Chongqing store, an apparent clone of its Shanghai store design. The store opens at 10am tomorrow.

The photos were posted on Taisy and appear to have originated from MacX. The interior of the store is very reminiscent of the spiral staircase in the iconic glass cube store on Fifth Avenue in New York (photo below) …

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Apple’s Back to School sale returns to Australia and New Zealand w/ gift card promo

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Apple’s annual Back to School sale in Australia and New Zealand has gone live with a promotion for qualifying students to receive Apple Store credit with the purchase of a Mac, iPad, or iPhone. Similar to last year, the Back to School sale includes the usual education pricing on Macs and iPads, but this year Apple is including Apple Store gift cards rather than App Store gift cards like last year. Read more

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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Angela Ahrendts recruiting U.S. employees for China as new stores & initiatives revealed

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Apple Senior Vice President of Retail Angela Ahrendts is continuing to go all in on growth in China. In video messages to employees in recent days and weeks, Ahrendts has been recruiting employees from United States-based Apple Retail stores to relocate to China to help build up Apple’s retail efforts in the region. In a note to employees late last week, sources say that Ahrendts reported that approximately 200 Apple retail workers from the U.S. have already offered to make the move. Ahrendts added that the offer to move to China “has no expiration date because as the business grows, our needs will only become greater, so as your personal and professional life changes, just always keep China at the top of your mind, because we’re going to need you…”

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