Staples confirms sale of Apple accessories in brick and mortar locations across U.S. and Canada in Q1

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Date: Wednesday, March 6th, 2013, 08:37
Category: News, retail

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It had to happen sometime.

Per Reuters, office supply retailer Staples began offering Apple accessories on its U.S. online store last month, and now the office supply retail chain has confirmed the merchandise will soon be available in stores as well.

The retailer Staples announced fourth quarter and full year 2012 performance earnings on Wednesday, and, during the earnings call, CEO Ronald Sargent said his company would have Apple accessories in stores in Q1.

Staples currently has 1,886 brick-and-mortar stores in North America, including Canada where it already sells Apple accessories, and it allows many businesses, large and small, with corporate accounts to easily buy products with little friction.

If you’ve seen assorted Apple products surfacing at your neighborhood Staples location, please let us know in the comments section.

Canadian thieves rob Vancouver-area Apple Store location using bear spray as weapon

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 5th, 2013, 08:15
Category: iPad, iPod, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, retail

If you’re going to steal thousands of dollars worth of Apple products north of the border, remember to bring along bear spray.


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Per the National Post, thieves armed with bear spray hit the Oakridge Mall Apple Store in Vancouver just before closing in Monday, spraying roughly 40 people and making off with an unknown number of iPods, iPads, and notebooks.

The robbery, which saw three men bearing a caustic, cayenne pepper-based chemical attack the Apple Store. There were roughly 40 customers in the store, of which five would later need treatment by paramedics for exposure to the spray. The robbers are said to have fled by car.

Most of the valuable Apple electronics are likely to have been out of reach of the robbers, as Apple Stores keep most stock in hidden storage rooms behind closed doors. Vancouver police say that the thieves made off with only “a small number of electronics.”

Apple catches up with demand, now offering 21.5-inch, 27-inch iMac models at 1-3 day ship times

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Date: Monday, March 4th, 2013, 07:06
Category: iMac, News, retail

It never hurts to catch up.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple seems to have finally caught up with demand for its latest iMac models. Both the new 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs are now shipping from Apple’s online store in 1-3 business days. Up until earlier today, Apple’s new iMacs were quoted as having a shipping time of 2-3 weeks for the 21.5-inch model and 3-4 weeks for the larger 27-inch configurations.

Apple’s redesigned iMacs models have been supply constrained since their November and December launches. Apple CEO Tim Cook noted multiple times during earnings calls and other public appearances that the iMacs are seeing significant shortages. During an internal “Town Hall” meeting with employees, Cook blamed low Q1 Mac sales on low supply of Apple’s newest Mac lines.

Apple’s new iMacs feature a much thinner chassis compared to the previous generation’s design in addition to a new screen lamination process that may contribute to the time it takes to produce each unit.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you’ve seen an improved turnaround time on a new iMac you ordered, please let us know in the comments.

Staples to begin carrying Apple products, exact start date unknown

Posted by:
Date: Friday, February 15th, 2013, 05:53
Category: News, retail

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This one’s been a long time coming…

Per 9to5Mac and MacRumors, office retailer Staples had a meeting today with corporate employees announcing that Apple products were coming to their stores. The company followed up with a tweet to confirm that a deal with Apple has been finalized and that their stores will begin selling Apple products. Staples Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources Regit Mulot confirmed the deal on Twitter, albeit this tweet has since been deleted.

While there’s no mention of what Apple products Staples would carry, it’s been overheard that Staples would carry Apple’s full lineup of Macs, iPads as well as the iPhone 5 in their stores.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iMac ship times hold for U.S., see delays in European markets

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Date: Monday, February 4th, 2013, 08:32
Category: iMac, News, retail

Look at it this way: Europe may not have the greatest of iMac ship times, but it’s still pretty damn beautiful and the food’s amazing.

Per MacGeneration, estimated shipping times for Apple’s thinner iMac continue to slip, as the 27-inch model is now advertised to arrive in Europe in 4 to 6 weeks, while the 21.5-inch model has been delayed to between 3 and 4 weeks.

The delays apply to both iMac models, as the 21.5-inch variety was previously advertised to ship in 2 to 3 weeks, while the 27-inch model was available in 3 to 4 weeks.

The delays do not yet affect Apple’s U.S. online store, though if recent trends are any indication, the new estimated shipping times will be reflected in the company’s American store in due time.

Shipping times for the smaller 21.5-inch model also began slipping late last month to between 2 and 3 weeks. The updates to Apple’s European online stores on Monday suggest that the company continues to see production problems with its redesigned iMac.

Those problems have persisted since the new iMacs first went on sale in December. In the holiday quarter, Apple’s Mac sales dropped 17 percent, a decrease the company attributed to severe constraints on the new, thinner iMacs.

Continued setbacks for the iMac also cast into doubt a recent rumor that claimed Apple’s suppliers had solved their production problems. However, some 21.5- and 27-inch iMac units did begin trickling into Apple’s reseller channels last week.

That trend has continued in the U.S., as reseller MacConnection reflects availability of all 4 standard retail configurations as of Monday with an instant US$20 discount per model. A handful of other custom configurations are also popping in and out of stock at other retailers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPad mini supply improves, shipment times now 1-3 days from online Apple Store

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Date: Monday, February 4th, 2013, 08:50
Category: iPad mini, News, retail

The iPad mini you just ordered, it should be at your doorstep a little sooner.

In an update to its U.S. online storefront on Sunday, Apple is now showing ship times of the popular iPad mini stand at 1-3 business days, down from the 3-5 days quoted late last month.

Per AppleInsider, the new ship-by times suggest Apple may finally be overcoming the severe supply constraints seen shortly after the 7.9-inch tablet launched in November and continued throughout the lucrative holiday quarter.

Apple saw high demand for the device when pre-orders went live at the end of October, with the U.S. store selling out of the White & Silver model in a matter of hours. The company later announced that the iPad mini sold three million units over its first weekend on sale.

Chief executive Tim Cook said in the company’s quarterly earnings conference call for the first fiscal quarter of 2013 that suppliers were having trouble meeting demand, but estimated a balance could be reached by the end of the March quarter. Sunday’s new shipment estimates suggest supply is catching up to demand.

At the end of January, the ship-by time for all models, including the Wi-Fi + Cellular versions, was quoted at 3-5 days, which itself was an improvement from the one-week estimates seen in December.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple to stop selling Mac Pro desktop in Europe following March 1st due to regulatory requirements

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Date: Friday, February 1st, 2013, 08:42
Category: Hardware, Mac Pro, News, retail

Well, this is a bit awkward.

Per MacRumors, sales of Apple’s Mac Pro desktop will stop in Europe on March 1 because of new regulatory requirements in the region.

Apple announced that sales will halt in a month in a letter the company sent to resellers on Thursday. The company cited Amendment 1 of Regulation IEC 60950-1, but did not explain what in particular about the Mac Pro desktop is in violation.

Halting sales of the Mac Pro won’t have much of an effect on Apple’s bottom line, as the high-end professional desktop is largely a niche product for the company.

In fact, it’s possible that the situation may have no effect at all on customers in Europe, as Apple has already revealed it’s planning to update the Mac Pro this year. It’s possible that Apple could update its aging desktop — and subsequently comply with European regulations — before sales are halted.

However, no timetable has been given for the Mac Pro update, with Apple only indicating that it will arrive sometime this year. Even analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who detailed Apple’s planned product roadmap earlier this month, offered no indication as to when the new Mac Pro may arrive.

Apple’s full letter provided to resellers on Thursday is included below:

As of March 1, 2013, Apple will no longer sell Mac Pro in EU, EU candidate and EFTA countries because these systems are not compliant with Amendment 1 of regulation IEC 60950-1, Second Edition which becomes effective on this date. Apple resellers can continue to sell any remaining inventory of Mac Pro after March 1.

Apple will take final orders for Mac Pro from resellers up until February 18th for shipment before March 1, 2013.

Countries outside of the EU are not impacted and Mac Pro will continue to be available in those areas.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPad mini supply improves, shipment times now 3-5 days from online Apple Store

Posted by:
Date: Monday, January 28th, 2013, 07:19
Category: iPad mini, News, retail

Give it time and eventually the supply channels even out.

Per AppleInsider, despite severe constraints throughout the holiday quarter, supply of Apple’s iPad mini is finally catching up with demand as the Online Apple Store is now quoting ship-by dates of 3-5 business days.

The change comes one week after Apple kicked off sales of cellular-enabled versions of the iPad mini in China, a market thought to be a major player in the company’s future growth. At the time of launch, availability stood at two weeks for the Chinese market and one week for the U.S.

Supply of the hot-selling 7.9-inch tablet has been constrained since the device went on sale in October, with brisk sales amounting to quick stockouts on Apple’s online store. The company announced that the iPad mini sold three million units over its first weekend on sale.

In early December, iPad mini availability improved as quoted Online Apple Store shipment estimates fell to one week for the first time since launch.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said in the company’s quarterly earnings conference call in October that he thought the smaller iPad, along with the fourth-gen iPad and iPad 2, would be “extremely attractive” stand-ins for PCs. During Apple’s most recent conference call for the first fiscal quarter of 2013, Cook said suppliers were having difficulty meeting high demand, but a balance could be reached by the end of the upcoming quarter.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple posts $54.5 billion in revenue, $13.1 billion profit for Q1 2013 financial returns

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Date: Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013, 21:21
Category: Apple TV, Finance, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, retail

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It was a profitable quarter, but there were setbacks compared to last year.

Per Macworld, for the company’s first fiscal quarter of 2013, Apple posted revenue of US$54.5 billion and a net profit of US$13.1 billion. Revenue rose 17.7 percent from the 2012 first quarter, while profit was flat year-over-year. Apple earned US$13.81 per share, down half-a-percentage point from the US$13.87 it earned in the year-ago quarter.

Apple’s quarterly performance was in line with Wall Street expectations. Analysts were looking for sales of around US$54.7 billion for the quarter and earnings per share of US$13.42.

iPhone sales hit a record for the quarter ended Dec. 29, 2012, up 29 percent year over year to 47.8 million phones. That was within the 46 to 47 million range analysts were looking for. Apple says it sold 3.7 million phones a week during the quarter, compared to weekly sales of 2.6 million during the 2012 quarter.

iPhone sales growth was strong in all sales regions, Oppenheimer said, but particularly in Greater China, which includes China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Sales doubled year over year in that region.

Oppenheimer credited the “tremendous popularity” of iPhone 5 for driving Apple’s phone business—a not so subtle slap at rumors of sluggish iPhone 5 sales. Breaking with Apple’s typical practice of not addressing rumors, Cook did dismiss reports of iPhone order cuts.

iPad sales also set a new high-water mark, with 22.9 million tablets sold, compared to 15.4 million last year. That translates to more than 1.7 million iPads sold per week, a 60 percent increase from the year-ago quarter, according to Oppenheimer.

As is its custom, Apple didn’t break out sales figures between iPad models—it currently offers the iPad 2, a fourth-generation model of its full-sized iPad, and the iPad mini. Oppenheimer called the smaller version of Apple’s tablet a “tremendous hit.”

For the quarter, Apple sold more than 75 million iOS devices.

The company sold 12.7 million iPods, down about 21 percent compared to the year before. The iPod touch was (as always) popular during the holidays, and still accounts for more than half of all iPods sold. The company claims that the iPod owns more then 70 percent of the market for MP3 players.

iTunes generated US$2.1 billion in revenue, and the company established new all-time quarterly sales records for music, movies, and apps. The company added music stores in 56 countries, for a total of 119 around the world. The App Store sold 2 billion downloads in December; cumulative downloads have surpassed 40 billion, generating US$7 billion in payments to developers.

Apple made brief mention of its Apple TV offering, noting that it sold more than 2 million settop boxes during the holiday season quarter. That’s a 60 percent increase from the prior year.

Revenue from Apple’s retail effort was US$6.4 billion—an all-time high and a 5 percent increase over the 2012 first quarter. The company says that revenue is largely due to iPad and iPhone sales.

Apple opened 11 new stores, including four in its Greater China region. It expects to invest a bit less than US$1 billion in its retail stores this fiscal year.

Apple once again noted that the cumulative downloads have now surpassed 40 billion for the App Store, generating US$7 billion for developers. There were 2 billion downloads in the month of December alone.

Unusually, Apple did not break out the percentage of customers who purchased Macs at Apple Stores who were new to the platform. (In the past, that company has hovered consistently around 50 percent.) That omission could be a byproduct of the dip in Mac sales during the quarter.

For the second quarter ending in March, Apple expects sales to come in between US$41 and US$43 billion. That number would be slightly ahead of the US$39.2 billion in revenue the company logged in the 2012 second quarter. Apple is no longer giving analysts a forecast on earnings per share for the quarter, instead providing its expectations for gross margin and operating expenses in addition to revenue. (Apple expects gross margin to be between 37.5 and 38.5 percent for the upcoming quarter while operating expenses will come in at US$3.8 and US$3.9 billion.)

Apple allies with Merchants Bank Co. to offer installment-based payment plans to Chinese customers

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 17th, 2013, 09:06
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, retail

If you’re buying Apple equipment in China, there’s a payment plan for you.

Per Bloomberg, Apple on Thursday introduced a new option for Chinese buyers of iPhones and MacBooks, allowing them to spread the cost of purchases ranging from from 300 yuan (US$48) to 30,000 yuan (US$4,800) over as long as two years.

The new installment payment plans require a China Merchants Bank Co. credit card, with fees ranging from zero percent for a three-month installment plan to 8.5 percent for a 24-month plan. The payment structure likely represents Apple’s attempt at making its products, typically priced at a premium, more affordable for urban Chinese workers.

The article noted that Apple fell from fourth to sixth place in China’s smartphone market in the third quarter and now trails firms such as ZTE, Samsung, and Lenovo, whose smartphone offerings are more affordable than Apple’s iPhone.

Industry observers have long held that a cheaper iPhone would give Apple control over the growing Chinese market, and the financing move may allow Apple to retain its typical profit margins and brand image while widening its base of potential buyers in what will soon become the world’s largest market.

The iPhone 5, which hit the Chinese market last month, costs 5,288 yuan on Apple’s site, or about six weeks’ pay for the average urban worker. By comparison, handsets from competitors often cost less than 1,000 yuan.

Sales of other Apple products have demonstrated demand for the Cupertino company’s devices, as the iPad mini debuted to “insatiable demand” in China last December. Apple has increased its focus on the country accordingly, with chief executive Tim Cook visiting China twice in the past 10 months, most recently meeting with China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless carrier.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.