Apple looks to boost iPhone sales in stores with new pre-paid & month-to-month plans

New iPhone on sale

Apple is preparing to enhance its Apple Store-based iPhone sales operations in the United States around pre-paid and month-to-month plans in order boost sales, according to a source briefed on the upcoming initiatives. For the first time in U.S. Apple Stores, customers will be able to purchase an iPhone at full-price and then connect the phone to a pre-paid plan or a month-to-month plan within the store. Previously, iPhone customers could only buy full-priced iPhones as unlocked devices then connect the devices to pre-paid plans or month-to-month plans via a previously purchased SIM-card or through a carrier store…

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Tim Cook among tech CEOs German committee may want to testify in NSA investigation

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Apple’s association with the United States National Security Agency may once again put the company in the spotlight as Germany begins to investigate the agency’s recent activity. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, members of a German parliamentary commission want the heads of a number of US-based tech companies, including Apple, to participate in their investigation of the NSA’s involvement in monitoring German officials.

Apple, for its part, has denied direct involvement with PRISM program and repeatedly said it has not allowed the government to have direct access to its servers. Read more

Apple VP Lisa Jackson talks environmental initiatives, plans to get renewable energy in retail to 100% (Video)

Apple’s Lisa Jackson, who joined Apple in June last year to oversee environmental issues from her previous position as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, sat down for an interview this week with Fortune. As you’d expect, the topic of conversation was all things environmental issues at Apple and Jackson talks about many of the accomplishments the company recently announced for Earth Day. In addition to just stats and Apple’s renewable energy initiatives— Apple’s supply chain is responsible for 60% of its footprint— she also gives some hints at what Apple plans to improve in the future.

Jackson noted that Apple has more work to do getting renewable energy to all of its retail stores, but said its working hard to overcome some of the challenges and reach 100% renewable energy: Read more

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 plans ‘enormous’ iPhone upgrade event this week to boost sales

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Apple is planning to hold an “enormous” iPhone-related event in its stores this week in order to boost sales, according to a source with knowledge of the initiative. Beginning May 8th, the source said, Apple will be contacting upgrade-eligible iPhone users with older iPhone models via email to come into their local Apple Store to update to a new iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c…

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By the numbers: a breakdown of Apple’s Q2 2014 earnings call

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Apple went over its Q2 2014 earnings today on its quarterly conference call with CEO Tim Cook and incoming CFO Luca Maestri. The company announced that former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts will finally be joining the executive team as SVP of Retail. Cook also addressed the recent debut of Microsoft’s Office productivity suite on the iPad.

But, as with any earnings call, the numbers that define Apple’s success or failure in the market took center stage. Here are some of the big ones you might have missed:

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