Category Archives: retail

Apple threatens to ban iPhone, iPad accessory makers that design based on leaks


Apple is working to step up the secrecy surrounding future iPhone and iPad models by targeting a frequent source of leaks: third-party accessory makers. 9to5Mac has learned that in fall 2014, just before the iPhone 6 launched, Apple demanded that a number of leading accessory makers sign agreements barring them from seeking out information about future Apple devices, according to four sources with first-hand knowledge of the matter.

On one hand, the agreement dangled the loss of “future business opportunities that Apple and/or its affiliates may present to you” as a potential consequence of violating or not signing the agreement. On the other hand, signing and following it could lead to months-long delays in making accessories like cases available, during the time of year when those cases were most needed and demanded by customers.

In the lead-up to new iPhone and iPad device releases, leaked enclosures and information are frequently followed by early case designs. Cases are often manufactured based on rumors posted online, and as has been shown on a number of occasions, the results vary from at least partially inaccurate to substantially correct. Regardless of their validity, however, both the rumors and early cases lead to discussions of future Apple products, which Apple executives have suggested impacts prior-model revenues before the new devices are announced.

Seeking to quell some of the rumors, Apple used the Apple Store vendor agreement to ban accessory partners from seeking, obtaining, or relying upon advance specifications for future Apple products. After consulting Apple about the agreement’s language, one developer said that it amounted to a prohibition on reading any web site or newspaper that even discussed upcoming Apple products, including The New York Times, though the agreement focuses on using “specifications from any source other than Apple” to design and make products. Apple generally only releases manufacturing specifications after it has announced devices, which gives vendors little opportunity to sell accessories during the subsequent months required to design, manufacture, and ship new products.

Vendors that balked at the agreement were told that their products would be banned from Apple’s stores in the absence of a signature. Some vendors that signed the agreement were subsequently dropped from the stores anyway, but say that they believe they remain contractually bound by its terms. The agreement read in part:

“…should Apple find that, prior to the release of a product, you have sought, obtained, or relied upon specifications of that product from sources other than Apple, Apple may choose to exercise its right to take action against you, which penalties can include, but are not limited to, Apple choosing not to stock your product in our stores.”

Sources have said that Apple recently removed between 60-70% of third-party cases from its retail stores, possibly to make room for the Apple Watch. In 2014, Apple expanded its in-house iPhone case offerings to include distinct leather and silicone models, and was subsequently one of very few companies with an iPad Air 2 case, notably sold at a relatively high price. With this reduction in selection and prohibition on making cases before Apple releases its own specifications, early adopters of future Apple devices will likely be pushed further towards Apple’s own cases when they pick up their iPhones and iPads at Apple’s retail stores.

Mark Gurman contributed to this report. 

Filed under: AAPL Company, Tech Industry Tagged: Accessories, accessory makers, agreement, cases, competition, design, iPad, iPhone, iPhone 6, leaks, retail, specifications, Stores, third party accessories, vendors

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Belgian shop selling Tetris mugs & electric razors promises Apple Watch on Valentines’ Day, “subject to availability”

The Apple Watch isn’t shipping by Valentine’s Day– a date that many speculated could make an ideal launch date– and there won’t be an event this month showcasing Apple’s new device ahead of preorders, but that’s not stopping anyone from using the Apple Watch as prime marketing material. European department store chain Cora has chosen Apple Watch […]

Westlake Apple Store set to open in Hangzhou, China next weekend


The Apple Store in Hangzhou, China that was initially believed to be opening late last year finally has an official date.

The Westlake store, as it’s being called by Apple, will open on Saturday, January 24th at 9 AM local time. While many Apple Stores are named after the city or street where they’re located, the Westlake store is named after a popular lake located in the city.

In recent months, Apple’s new retail chief has expressed her desire to push further into the Chinese market along with expanding the company’s global retail footprint.

Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: china, hangzhou, retail

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Apple transforms retail stores into art galleries for ‘Start Something New’ campaign

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Following the launch of Apple’s “Start Something New” campaign on its website featuring artwork created on Mac and iOS devices, Apple is now transforming its retail stores into temporary art galleries showcasing art from the campaign.

The images above come from customers on Twitter (via ifoAppleStore), and show off the campaign in Apple’s Regent Street, London store. The campaign, however, appears to be hitting Apple stores worldwide as other customers in New York and Toronto, Canada confirm Apple Stores there have also received the art gallery treatment.

Every piece in this gallery was created on an Apple product. Every brushstroke, every pixel, and every frame of film was brought to life by talented Apple users from around the world. As you explore their work, we hope it inspires you to create something new.

Apple’s brick and mortar stores are featuring many of the same images as its Start Something New Campaign on its website. The campaign features apps like Procreate, Brushes 3, Slow Shutter,  VSCOCam,Waterlogue and iDraw and highlights artists including Roz HallMatt Pyke and Craig & Karl.

Filed under: AAPL Company, Apps Tagged: Apple, Apple Store, retail, Start Something New

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McDonald’s increases sales by beaming offers to smartphones in iBeacon pilot


McDonald’s is testing Bluetooth beacon-based offers in at least some of its locations as it pilots beacon platform Piper that works with both iOS devices using Apple’s iBeacon framework and other mobile devices.

Piper announced today that it’s testing its beacon platform in McDonald’s franchises in Columbus, Georgia and pushing deals out to users that download its mobile app that sends location-based offers when users come in contact with its beacons.

While the initial pilot is limited to McDonald’s locations across Columbus, the companies will look to expand to additional retail locations after experiencing success with beaming offers to customers during a four week test.

Piper said it experienced 18,000 offer redemptions as “McChicken sales increased 8 percent and McNuggets increased 7.5 percent from the previous month.”

Piper is one of the many companies running a beacon network that sells both hardware and software solutions to businesses looking to deploy the Bluetooth hardware necessary for beaming location-based offers. Unlike some beacon networks, however, that are aiming to let both app developers and businesses tap into one another, Piper has its own app that acts as a central location for users to access all beacons deployed as part of its network.

McDonald’s is just one of many businesses testing or deploying Bluetooth beacon hardware for sending proximity-based offers and notifications to passing smartphone users. Data from Business Insider’s latest Intelligence report showed half of the top 100 retailers in the US are experimenting with the technology and that it expects beacons installed in one-third of stores by the end of next year. This year it expects around a total of 30,000 active beacons to be installed with 80% in retail stores.

Fast food chains have also moved to introduce other features for smartphone users recently including NFC-based payments like Apple Pay at McDonald’s and preordering via apps at Taco Bell, Burger King and elsewhere. 

Many beacon networks and businesses utilizing them have experienced an increase in app usage and ad engagement similar to Piper’s pilot with McDonald’s. In one case, beacon network InMarket experienced an almost 20x increase in the number of interactions with advertised products apps.

Filed under: iOS Devices Tagged: beacons, Bluetooth, iBeacons, McDonald's, Offers, retail, sales, Smartphones

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Apple thanks its employees for making “amazing moments” this year with a customized Incase backpack

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Near the end of each year Apple thanks its employees for their hard work with a nice souvenir. This year some employees are being given a black Incase backpack featuring a bright white Apple logo.

At least one employee has already put the gift up on eBay with a starting bid of $49.99 and a Buy It Now of $99.99. From the images we’ve received, it appears that the bag is a customized version of the Incase Staple Backpack. In past years, Apple employees have received blankets, sweatshirts, and water bottles.

The bags were accompanied by this letter:

This is our gift to you.
But it can never compare to what you’ve given.

What does it take to give a gift?
It takes thoughtfulness. Compassion.
And sometimes, sacrifice of your time,
your talent, and your heart,

These are the gifts you give:
kindness, knowledge, humor, and patience.
You give them when you cover for a teammate,
so they can go on a much-deserved break.
When you send an email recognizing a job
well done. Or when you grab an extra coffee
for a friend before you clock in.

You give these gifts whether it’s the beginning
of the season, or the end of a very long day.
You do it over, and over, and over again.

Amazing products are designed in Cupertino.
Amazing moments are made by you.
These moments are your gift this
holiday season—to your customers,
to your team, and to the world.

Thank you.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Angela Ahrendts, Apple Retail, Apple Retail Employees, Apple Stores, retail

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