Retail section of Apple.com updated with new design inspired by iOS 7

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Apple quietly updated the retail section of its website today with a new look that more closely resembles iOS 7. Where the previous version of these pages used content boxes, borders, textured backgrounds, and gradients, the new page instead utilizes ample whitespace and thinner typefaces.

The change is probably best illustrated on the section’s home page, where images previously constrained by content boxes now fill the entire page. On the “Learn” page, buttons with heavy gradients have been replaced by thinly-outlined, lighter versions of the previous design. Gradient-filled headers have disappeared from every page, now replaced by unadorned text.

Oddly, the “Make a Reservation” button that allowed users to quickly create a Genius Bar appointment has been removed from the site’s navigation. Appointments can only be made by navigating to the Genius Bar page and clicking a link in the first paragraph of that page’s content. The Concierge page has not been updated to the new design yet.

You’ll find a bunch of before-and-after comparisons and take our poll on the new design below:

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Apple Online Stores begin going down ahead of iPad Air launch

Update 2: Shipping times in at least Hong Kong started at 1-2 weeks then quickly to changed to “currently unavailable”.

Update: The Australian Apple Online store and others are back up and listing all iPad Air models as shipping in 24 hours.

Lines have started to form at Apple stores around the world. Send pics of your Apple Store line to tips@9to5mac.com. Images below.

With Apple’s iPad Air launch about to kick off on the morning of Nov. 1 local time in over 40 countries, Apple has now started taking online stores down around the world to prepare for the launch. That includes Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Netherlands, Thailand, China, and others, which will be the first regions to get their hands on the device as we roll into tomorrow morning local time in those countries.

Screen+Shot+2013-10-31+at+11.30.46+AMYesterday we reported that iPad Airs had started arriving at Apple Stores and other retailers and that supplies were likely to be plentiful as large stores received as much as 500-1000 units of the device. We also heard that business discounts will be available for the new device on day one, which wasn’t the case in previous years.

Apple will begin selling the iPad Air at 8 a.m. local time Nov. 1 through its Apple retail stores in the following countries: Read more

Vudu avoids Apple’s revenue sharing model with iPad compatible web app

Walmart has just announced their Vudu movie streaming service is now available to iPad users via a web app (opposed to an iOS app), which effectively allows the company to go behind Apple’s back rather than partake in their App Store revenue sharing model. The app also works on other iOS devices, but hasn’t yet been optimized for the smaller screen. They’ve also announced their iTunes competitor, mp3.walmart.com, will be closing indefinitely starting August 28, 2011. However, the announcement notes the Walmart Soundcheck music streaming service will remain available, making us wonder if they have plans on implementing an iPad-specific version much like they’ve done with Vudu…

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen content providers trying to avoid sharing profits with Apple. In fact, just yesterday we told you about the new Kindle Cloud Reader app that is accessible via the web, much the same as Vudu. While not sharing revenue is an obvious benefit of bypassing the App Store, TechCrunch points out there are many other advantages as well.

For instance, by avoiding the App Store’s restrictions, Vudu will be able to push out new updates whenever they see fit, rather than having to wait for Apple’s approval. It seems like more and more developers have been pushed away from the traditional iOS app model due to stringent approval policies and the unpredictability of Apple’s ever-changing process.

The real question is.. do these web apps compare to the experience offered by native apps?

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