Angela Ahrendts’ plan for the future of Apple Retail: China emphasis, mobile payments, revamped experience

Ahrendts succeeds Jobs, Johnson, and Browett (Graphic by Michael Steeber)

When Ron Johnson finalized his decision to move from leading Apple’s retail strategy to become the Chief Executive Officer of J.C. Penney, the executive jumped in his car to drive to Steve Jobs’ home and notify the Apple co-founder in his living room of the decision. During his short car ride to Jobs’ Palo Alto home in the summer of 2011, Johnson likely thought about how he would explain his choice. But what Johnson likely did not imagine is that it would take nearly three years for Apple to find a true new leader for the stores the duo created.

In one of current Apple CEO Tim Cook’s first major missteps, the long-time operations maestro hired John Browett, formerly of Dixons, to run retail. Browett’s hire was immediately met with skepticism from Apple customers and retail employees, but Cook defended the hire and called the British executive the “best [choice] by far” to run Apple’s retail division. In the six months that he ran retail, Browett cut back on employee hours, initiated layoffs, and fell out culturally with the rest of the Apple executive team.

John Browett visiting Apple Store

Alongside Scott Forstall, Browett was ejected from the Cupertino-based company, leaving Tim Cook and head-hunting firm Egon Zehnder, again, with the tall task of finding a suitable replacement for Ron Johnson. As the man who ran Dixons, the United Kingdom equivalent to Best Buy, Browett was in many ways built in the image of Johnson. Johnson ran Apple Retail for nearly a decade, and before that he was an executive at both Target and Mervyns. But unlike Browett, Johnson fit into Apple’s culture and was close with both Jobs and Cook throughout his tenure.

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Apple’s ‘Spaceship’ designer discusses Steve Jobs’ involvement and Stanford campus influence

Image via Cupertino.org

As Apple’s Campus 2 site steadily progresses closer toward someday being complete, Architectural Record (via Mac Rumors) has shared a recent Q&A with architect Norman Foster, the designer responsible for the structure and appearance of the future campus. In the interview, Foster describes the evolution of the project and working with Steve Jobs on Apple’s Campus 2, which is currently in the midst of construction after being approved by the city of Cupertino just last fall

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The spaceship is on the way: aerial photo shows demolition work on Apple’s Campus 2 site

campus

Apple’s new ‘spaceship’ headquarters has been a long time in the coming, with Steve Jobs presenting the plans to the Cupertino city council back in 2011, but work has finally begun. KCBS eye-in-the-sky reporter Ron Cervi took the above Instagram photo, showing that demolition work on the site is now underway.

While we heard last month that the demolition phase was starting, this is the first visible evidence we’ve seen. Apple also recently constructed a full-size mockup of one small section of the building in order to test construction methods and enable the company to see how the concrete elements would look in real life …  Read more

Opinion: What “three revolutionary devices” will the iWatch be?

Concept image: Stephen Olmstead

Concept image: Stephen Olmstead

When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone seven years ago last week, he described it as “three revolutionary devices” in one: touchscreen iPod, mobile phone and Internet communicator.

The iPhone wasn’t the first touchscreen smartphone. It wasn’t even close: Handspring launched the Treo 180 a full five years earlier (I know this because I owned one). Same with the iPod before it, launched three years after the MPMan (yep, I owned one of those too).

Apple has never been interested in being first to market, so no-one should be remotely surprised that others launched the smartwatch first. The company’s USP is its ability to take a relatively crude piece of technology being used exclusively by geeks and turn it into something so slick, beautiful and cool that mass-market consumers will find irresistible …  Read more

New renders of Apple’s Spaceship HQ provide the most detailed view yet

space

New renders released by the City of Cupertino from Apple’s planning documents provide the most detailed view yet of what life inside the company’s new spaceship headquarters will be like.

inside

Illustrating everything from cafes to car-parks, the renders are intended to provide a feel for what the building will be like to work in, rather than just its appearance as a structure. They also include additional renders of the upper level of the 1,000-seat auditorium.

auditorium

Full gallery below …

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Apple shows off its Campus 2 project video to Cupertino

(full video below)

Yesterday, we saw Apple’s models for the new Campus 2 project. Today, Cupertino released this video of the council meeting where Apple presented. The Campus 2 video Apple produced looks like an Apple product video. I really like it, especially the Steve Jobs bits.

Apple also released an updated project plan including more solar roofing (below).  Read more

Apple publishes report detailing its economic impact on Cupertino

Apple today published a report on its website detailing the “Economic and Fiscal Impacts Generated by Apple in Cupertino – Current Facilities and Apple Campus 2.” 

Apple-Campus-2-economic-impact-report-May-2013Apple notes that the report, which details a number of topics from job creation to construction of its new spaceship campus, was put together by Keyser Marston Associates, Inc. (KMA) for the City of Cupertino under contract with Apple Inc.

With net annual sales in excess of $156 billion, 16,000 employees currently based in the Cupertino area, and annual purchases from local Silicon Valley-based businesses of $4.6 billion, Apple is a cornerstone of the Silicon Valley economy and of the fiscal resources of the City of Cupertino.

Much of the report focuses on the economic impacts and future contributions of Apple’s currently under construction Apple Campus 2. In the report, Apple details how its new campus will “add an estimated 7,400 new high-quality jobs,” increase revenues for the local economy, and enhance tax revenues for the city and surrounding areas. Apple says it will support 24,000 jobs in Cupertino alone when the campus is ready in 2016.

It also detailed investments being made in public improvements surrounding its new campus including infrastructure and utility improvements and its transportation program: Read more

Apple is again sending around updated brochures to Cupertino residents on upcoming Campus 2 project

Last May, after some residents voiced concern about Apple’s planned Spaceship Campus 2 project, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer sent out a brochure/mailer to local residents, hoping to alleviate concerns about the huge new office building and surrounding Campus 2.

apple_campus_2_apr13_mailer_2
Click to enlarge, via Macrumors

Apple last week updated its Campus 2 plans with the inclusion of walk and bike trails and other specifics on the land use. As Macrumors notes, Cupertino residents have begun receiving updated mailers with the new updated information and focused on the positive environmental impact the buildings will have.

At Apple, the environment is a top priority, and we’ve designed Apple Campus 2 with cutting-edge features to make it energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable. Several of these green technologies are highlighted in this update.

As at our existing campus on Infinite Loop, we are committed to 100% renewable energy to power Apple Campus 2. This will include onsite generation from photovoltaics and fuel cells. As part of this effort, approximately 8 megawatts of photovoltaics will be installed, creating one the largest installations of its kind on a corporate campus anywhere in the world.

Apple started in Cupertino, and we are excited to continue to grow here. As we build the new campus, we also plan to invest in new roadways and intersection improvements, add new sidewalks and better bike lanes, and plant new trees in newly created medians in the surrounding neighborhood.

Find Steve Jobs’ original Campus 2 submission to the Cupertino City Council video below: Read more

Apple revises plans for its Campus 2 building, adding bicycle access improvements, additional parking, and more

campus

Apple has just revised its plans for its massive upcoming new headquarters, scheduled to be completed by 2016. The revised plans, known as Submittal 6, focus less on the structure of the building itself, instead highlighting the surrounding land and facilities, showing off new bike paths, larger parking areas, and photos of street renderings.

The parking areas have been increased in capacity from 9,000 to 9,240 in the main lot, and 1,500 to 1,740 in an additional location, the report states. Updated bike access plans include new features such as enhanced bike lanes called “buffered bike lanes,” as well as bike boxes and two-stage turn boxes (images below).

Although there will be an incremental increase in gross office and research and development floor area of approximately 20%, the efficient use of the main site will result in almost tripling the landscaped area. Underground and structured parking will replace 9,220 surface parking spaces – creating almost three times more open space.

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$50,000 buys you a cup of coffee…with Tim Cook at Apple HQ

Tim-Cook-Charity-Buzz-auction

Apple CEO Tim Cook appears to be offering up his services to charity auction site Charitybuzz in hopes of raising an estimated $50,000 to support the The RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights. By services we mean the winning bidder will get the opportunity to have coffee with Apple’s top exec at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California.

The auction listing notes that it was “Donated by: Tim Cook” and after opening earlier this morning currently has two bids of just over $5,000.

The estimated value for the auction is set at $50,000, and the winning bid will get two lucky individuals the chance to sit down with the CEO for 30min to 1 hour. However, bids don’t include travel or accommodations and Cook’s guests will also be “subject to security screening” before hand to weed out the crazies. (via @Ihnatko)

If you can’t afford Tim Cook, former U.S. President Bill Clinton is available for less than half the price (via). Read more

Job postings suggest Apple to begin chip development in Orlando, Florida, near chip partners AMD and Qualcomm

Several job postings looking for both hardware and software engineers reveal that Apple is looking to begin its own chip development in Orlando, Florida.

Last week we learned that Apple is hiring software engineers to work on fingerprint technology at Authentec in Melbourne, Florida, which is about one hour south of the future site of the company’s development labs.

The job posting are interesting as Samsung, which works with Apple to develop the custom chips used in iPhones and iPads, continues to compete with Apple in the smartphone and tablet space.

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Tim Cook congratulates employees on another record quarter, to hold Town Hall Q&A

Tim-Cook-07Following reporting what CEO Tim Cook referred to as another record-setting quarter, today the Apple executive sent out an email to employees congratulating the team. Within the email, Cook thanked employees for their “incredible hard work and focus” and highlighted that the company sold over 75 million iOS devices during the quarter.

Like last year, when Apple held a Town Hall meeting following its Q1 results near a windshield repair Sugar Land TX company, Cook is asking employees to attend an employee communications meeting scheduled for today at 10 a.m. Pacific time. The email sent out last night following Apple’s earnings results conference call, and it noted that employees would be able to submit questions via AppleWeb in advance.

Apple will also broadcast the meeting live throughout Cupertino and other Apple locations. Cook’s full email is below:

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