Apple Stores pushing new table-based sales strategy, minor emphasis on third-party product support

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Apple is slowly rolling out a new customer service initiative across its retail stores called ‘table selling.’ With the new strategy, Apple Store employees are assigned a product table where they are responsible for working with groups of customers with different needs, albeit the same device, according to people familiar with the strategy. Previously, customers were individually helped on a first-come, first-serve basis and organized by an “iQueue” system that often resulted in lengthy wait times and customers walking out.

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Corning Gorilla Glass 2 to debut at CES 2012: Will latest innovation be on iPad 3 or iPhone 5?

Corning Inc., announced today its plan to unveil Gorilla Glass 2 at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week, and the company said more product details would be made available Jan. 9.

The Corning, N.Y.-based company plans to “showcase the critical role of highly engineered specialty glass in addressing emerging trends” at CES 2012. Some of the highlights include increased functionality from smaller form factors; connected devices in new applications; touch technology; and, large-format design aesthetics.

However, the main attraction to the Corning booth will be the introduction of Gorilla Glass 2, which is the next generation of the damage-resistant cover glass found on practically every consumer electronic today. CES attendees will have access to Corning experts and products featuring the latest Gorilla Glass applications.

The timely debut of Gorilla Glass 2 comes just before the rumored early-2012 launch of the iPad 3, as well as the rumored summer-to-fall launch of the iPhone 5, leaving room for Apple to include the latest technology on its upcoming devices.

Although not confirmed, it is worth speculating whether Corning supplied Apple, before today’s announcement, with Gorilla Glass 2 for iOS device production. The idea does not seem far-fetched considering the nature of both companies’ relationship…

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Apple Store Grand Central closer to opening

Apple is beginning to prepare for the upcoming holiday shopping season by putting the final touches on several retail locations and reinventing the way their visitors buy Apple gear.  Most notable is opening up a flagship store in New York’s iconic Grand Central Station.  Why is Grand Central such a big deal, especially when there are already Apple Stores in New York in affluent neighborhoods?  Here are some quick facts on Grand Central:

  1. 750,000 people pass through Grand Central daily and over 1,000,000 people during the holidays
  2. Mean household income for Grand Central Terminal commuters is $95,800; 50% of household incomes are over $100,000, and 20% are over $200,000.
  3. The captive shopping population of more than 326,000 neighborhood office workers earn a combined $11.3 billion a year.
  4. An average 7,500 people an hour pass the corner of 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue, making it one of the busiest intersections in the city.
  5. 21.6 million out-of-town tourists, with a mean income of $62,000, visit Grand Central each year.
  6. Grand Central is served by Metro-North commuter trains, 31 commuter and 15 city bus routes, 7 subway lines, buses to and from the area’s three airports, and two million taxis a year.
  7. Grand Central Terminal subway station is the busiest stop in the New York City subway system.

The future Grand Central Station Apple Store is progressing towards an end of November opening.  Future employees for the store have been going through their “Core” training for the past several weeks at a hotel in Times Square, Midtown Manhattan… Read more

W3 Innovations pays the FTC $50,000 for collecting children’s info in iOS apps

The FTC filed a lawsuit against W3 Innovations Friday, the parent company of Broken Thumbs Apps, for collecting the personal information of children in their apps. Broken Thumbs Apps have been downloaded more than 50,000 times in the iTunes App Store, and titles include  Zombie Duck HuntTruth or Dare, and Emily’s Dress Up. Monday, the company settled with the FTC for $50,000.

The FTC’s complaint includes W3 storing more than 30,000 children’s (probably parent’s) emails and personal information on their servers. In one game, the company asked for the child’s name. In the game Emily’s Girl World, it gave children the opportunities to make comments on a related blog, which were stored on a server.

The FTC says since these apps were directly marketed to children and transmitted information over the internet, the apps are in violation of the Children’s Online privacy Protection Pact (COPPA), and the FTC’s COPPA rules. Besides settling, the company agreed to delete all of the children’s personal information off of their servers. (via Ars Technica)