Jonathan Geller of BGR has more details on the upcoming Apple Store iOS app. He says it’s launching on Thursday and will enable in-store pickup of items you order from home and self-checkout, among other things. For me, the biggest drawback of the Apple Store is that it can be hard to attract the attention of an employee–oftentimes, they’re patiently answering the questions of clueless newbies–and so I love the idea of being able to shop there with as little human interaction as possible…
Tag Archives | Apple Store
Once again, Apple is releasing a new iPhone. Once again, I’m in line at the crack of dawn at the Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco. This time I’m here with my wife Marie, who’s excited about upgrading from an iPhone 3GS to a 4S. We’ve been here for an hour; there were around 40 folks here when we arrived, along with a few phantom lawn chairs.)
There may be Apple Stores where iLines are still festive, even circus-like affairs. Not this one, at least so far. There are no kids dressed as iPhones. And Woz isn’t here. Just a lot of rather quiet people. And some Apple employees, who have already been consulting with people about carriers, capacities, colors, and the many and varied virtues of Applecare.
I’ll let you know if any excitement breaks out…
Good advice for artists: if your art project involves installing software on the demo Macs in Apple Stores and holding the exhibit in the Apple Store, you might want to reconsider.
Let’s say you’ve arrived at your local Apple Store with intent to purchase an iPad 2, but alas, the salesperson tells you they’re out of stock. Tragic, right?
But what if they’re really in stock after all? What if the next time you’re politely turned away with one of those frowning smiles, there’s actually a stack of perfectly salable iPad 2’s nesting comfortably in the store’s back room?
Why would Apple (or anyone) hang on to iPad inventory? Well, because they’re Apple, and they work in magical-mysterious ways, but also–according to an AppleInsider tipster–because the company’s hoping to ease pressure on store inventory checkers, who’ve apparently been pretty stressed getting new iPad 2 shipments properly catalogued before they land on store shelves.
Microsofties could barely contain their glee when this video made the rounds of the Internet over the weekend. As you can see, it shows a tale of two stores: the Mission Viejo Apple store practically barren while the Microsoft Store in that mall (yes, the one with the dancing employees) is buzzing with activity.
Some of us probably brushed this off as an isolated incident, as Apple really does not have a blockbuster product this holiday season to draw the crazed Black Friday masses in. But according to Piper Jaffray Apple analyst Gene Munster, his research is showing that slowness at Apple Stores may have actually been the norm.
About 8.3 Macs per hour were sold at retail that day at stores visited by Munster’s team, well down from the 13 per hour rate last year. However, it would be fair to note that Best Buy’s Apple “store-within-a-store” has expanded significantly and a few more Apple Stores have opened since last year.
(Some of Apple’s partners were also offering much better discounts on Apple products than the company was, too…)
Before Redmond starts dancing in the streets, take this into account. Analysis of Apple’s online store performance shows 39 percent year over year growth in sales. This outperformed the entire e-commerce sector by three times. Munster says that this online jump should be more than enough to offset any losses at retail.
When Microsoft opens its retail stores this far, look no further than your local Apple store to find one. The software giant has designs to open many of its store in close proximity to its rival, according to reports.
Microsoft announced its intention to open retail stores in February. It placed David Porter, a new Microsoft corporate vice president and 25-year Wal-Mart veteran, as the executive in charge of its retail endeavors.
The notion that a Microsoft store could succeed has faced skepticism. Apple sells complete systems; whereas, Microsoft primarily remains a software company. Porter is working with Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division, but throwing an Xbox in a window doesn’t exactly replicate the shopping experience of the Apple store.
When Microsoft announced its intentions to open store, I wrote that selling software in retail stores should be about as successful as opening a video rental business in 2010 (and made a crack comparing its stores to Wasabi flavored ice cream). My colleague Harry McCracken believes that a Microsoft store makes as much sense as a Procter & Gamble store.
Without having been privy to Microsoft’s plans, I still feel that way. I recently stopped by the Apple store at Fifth Avenue in Manhattan (the one with the giant glass cube out front) to exchange a faulty iPhone, and was amazed by how psyched people were to be giving their money to Apple. That store alone clears nearly $500 million a year in sales.
What’s more, it’s located across the street from Central Park, and it was a beautiful day when I visited. People seemed to be just as happy inside of the store as they were strolling by the park. Anyone out there want to argue that Microsoft customers have the same affinity for that company’s products?
Decades from now, when I’m reflecting on a long and happy life, I may pause to take pleasure in having been the first person in line to buy an iPhone 3G S. Or, at least, the first person in line for the Apple Store at the Stonestown mall in San Francisco. When I arrived at 3:15am, I found a velvet rope and nothing else. So I parked myself on a bench. And here I am.
I may be the first person in line, but within ten minutes I had company: There are four of us now. My compatriots are a sociable group, which is a relief-last year, when I waited here for an iPhone 3G, I found the wee-hours crowd a tad feral. The second guy in line confused me by asking if I was here to buy one of the new Macs (which were released last week, and which have inspired no frenzied shopping) but also pointed out that there’s another line set up on the opposite side of the mall entrance. That one’s for an AT&T Store–which the fourth person in line explained to us wasn’t here last year–and it’s actually two lines. One’s for people who reserved a phone in advance; one’s for newcomers. Apple, by contrast, will apparently make us all queue up together. But neither has anyone in it so far.
Other notes on the wait so far:
A) There’s a security car parked here, but as far as I know, there’s nobody in it. If this year’s experience mirrors last year’s, we won’t see any sign of mall or Apple employees for quite awhile.
B) The fourth guy in line is on his third iPhone already; he had one that would get red-hot and burn his ear when he tried to use it.
C) I made the mistake of running out of the house without having had a hearty breakfast. There’s an Olive Garden here awash in neon, and it’s making me hungry.
D) The fifth guy in line (who was just joined by a sixth guy) has started an ugly rumor that the Apple Store decided to delay its planned opening from 7am to 8am.
E) The only people here besides us iLiners are truckers. One’s trying to figure out how to deliver something to the Starbucks inside the mall.
F) Update: A couple of skateboarders have just shown up.
G) It’s cold.
More reports as events warrant…
Apple certainly made it through this past quarter in great shape. Nobody is complaining about the company’s results, which by all accounts were stellar. However, Cupertino does have a retail arm, and like any other it’s beginning to struggle.
Average revenue per store is down 17 percent – falling from $7.1 million in the year ago quarter to $5.9 million. It could be argued that the only reason overall sales numbers were up slightly (1 percent) was the fact that 46 new locations have been added since then.
(Imagine the Wall Street carnage if Apple hadn’t opened a single store — eek.)
Thus, the company’s gotta do what its gotta do. That means layoffs — 1,600 full time employees will be cut across its 250+ stores. That would amount to about 10% off its current total workforce of around 15,600.
One thing is for sure however: the frantic pace at which Apple had been opening new retail locations appears to be a thing of the past. Sign of the times, ain’t?
More about Apple’s plans can be found in this SEC filing.