Best Buy announced today in a press release that it will become the first national retailer, aside from Apple, to sell Apple Watch in stores. The company says that the device will hit more than 100 of its stores on August 7th and will be available online from that date, as well. Best Buy will expand Apple Watch availability to another 200 locations in time for the holiday shopping season.
After its initial launch in nine countries in April, followed by seven more late last month and a handful of other countries launching later this week, Apple Watch will arrive for customers in New Zealand for the first time on July 31st. Apple has quietly made the announcement on an updated product page within its Apple Store iOS app, as pictured above. Read more
Apple today has opened enrollment for its annual Apple Camp program. For those unfamiliar, Apple Camp is a series of three-day workshops that Apple holds in its retail stores for kids ages 8 through 12. Apple Camp is designed to encourage the kids to explore technology and learn how to use it to be successful and creative.
Apple this evening has launched a new Reserve & Pickup system for Apple Watch customers in the UK, Australia, and other countries as they change to June 17th. Earlier today it was reported that Apple Watch would soon be available in retail stores and this development is a step towards that for customers. Apple’s webpage for Reserve & Pickup says that Apple Watch models are available by reservation in retail stores, although availability will still be sparse and limited to select variants of Apple Watch.
At WWDC earlier today, Apple revealed Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan with a handful of new features, including improvements to Safari, new Spotlight capabilities, side-by-side window functionality, performance improvements, and more. Apple released a developer beta of El Capitan today via its developer portal, while also noting that a public beta will come in July. We have learned this evening, however, that Apple has also seeded a beta version of El Capitan to retail employees for testing.
Apple has invested a lot into its Apple Pay mobile payments solution since its launch last fall. Since launching in October, the payment method is already accepted at more than 700,000 retail locations, according to the company. Reuters today has published a new report in which Apple says that Apple Pay will be accepted by half of the top 100 merchants in the United States by the end of this year, with more planned in 2016. Currently, a fourth of the top 100 retailers support Apple Pay.
According to a retailer that Reuters contacted, Apple has been pushing its mobile payment service aggressively to retailers. The retailer, which remained anonymous and has no plans to accept Apple Pay, said this:
“They have been pushing hard and it’s been that way for months. They have called and tried to persuade us even after we communicated our decision to them.”
That same retailer has no plans to accept Apple Pay because not even a “small percentage” of its customers have requested it. Nevertheless, the research found that retailers accepting Apple Pay are generally happy with the service, and its customers are too…
We’ve confirmed that AT&T’s plans to stop offering two-year contracts through third-party retailers will also extend to Apple. Read more
Apple’s in-store “magical” Apple Watch displays have brought about a variety of questions since they first appeared back on April 10th. Thanks to new documents from the Brazilian regulatory process, shared by BlogDoiPhone, we now know a bit more about how the Apple Watch display units are set up. The documents and accompanying images show how a special, proprietary band is connected to the Watch that incorporates a built-in Lightning cable and charges the device.
Tim Cook, who is in China this week to discuss Apple’s new environmental initiatives, spoke to Chinese media regarding his plans to further expand Apple services in the country. Speaking to news outlet Xinhua, Cook discussed a variety of topics, including his hope to launch Apple Pay in China and get a smartphone in the hand of every resident.
Update: Confusing the situation further, HDBlog has received news from Italian Apple PR that Milan will not have Apple Watch stock to buy.
Amidst all the craziness, it now transpires that Apple Watch will in fact be available to be buy at some retail locations on Friday. The New York Times reports that select boutique locations will have stock in the brick-and-mortar locations of Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch.
This includes Dover Street Market in Tokyo and London, Maxfield in Los Angeles, Collette in Paris, the Corner in Berlin and Corso Como in Milan.
Apple had previously announced these locations in a press release but it was unclear whether the plans had changed as Apple had since said that there would be no in-store stock until June at the earliest. although now it appears this only applies to Apple’s own retail stores.
While most are still waiting for the clock to strike April 10th, Apple Stores in the eastern part of the world have started opening their doors to Apple Watch appointments and potential buyers. Images posted to Twitter and Instagram show lines of customers waiting outside of stores to get their hands on the Apple Watch.