iPad to arrive at U.S. Best Buy locations on September 26th, may be sold at Walmart and Target by end of 2010

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Date: Wednesday, September 15th, 2010, 05:11
Category: iPad, News, retail

If you’re looking for additional stores to purchase an iPad in, factor in Best Buy later this month.

Per AppleInsider, the Best Buy retail chain will begin carrying Apple’s tablet on September 26th, amounting to 1,093 of the company’s U.S. retail locations selling Apple’s device.

Best Buy announced the expansion on Tuesday, the same day that the company revealed its strong quarterly earnings. Those sales were buoyed by demand for devices like the iPad, the company said.

The iPad was available at Best Buy when the device launched earlier this year, though it was limited to 673 retail stores with Apple Shop locations. Now, All 1,093 stores in the U.S. will carry both the Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G models on September 26th.

Best Buy officials indicated that stores experienced “constrained inventory” when the iPad launched earlier this year. But with supply issues apparently alleviated, Chief Executive Brian Dunn anticipates that the iPad, along with other tablet devices, will be “big for us during the holidays.

In addition to selling the iPad, Best Buy stores will also carry a range of accessories for Apple’s touchscreen tablet.

Apple is also rumored to make the iPad available for sale at Target in the coming weeks, as recent evidence has suggested the device could see a launch in stores on October 3rd. Earlier this year, Walmart, the largest retailer in the U.S., also indicated it hopes to sell the iPad by the end of 2010.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple looking to revamp Genius Bar process at retail locations

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Date: Wednesday, July 14th, 2010, 13:29
Category: retail, Rumor

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As useful as the Apple Store retail locations tend to be, there’s always a bit of a wait.

This may change as Apple is said to be prepping major changes to the Genius Bar at its brick-and-mortar retail stores, in hopes of offering customers shorter wait times and quick overnight repairs according to a story on MacRumors.

The site has stated that it has received word that Apple plans to overhaul its Genius Bars in an effort to increase customer satisfaction. The details come a day after sources close to the story reported that Apple is now drumming up excitement with its retail employees, promising something that will make a “big” impact.

Specifically, author Eric Slivka cited three new changes that will allegedly be implemented:

Active queue management: Apple’s goal is for walk-in customers headed to the Genius Bar to be served within 30 minutes. To meet this goal, the stores will reassign some employees from other areas of the store when needed.

Overnight repairs: Retail stores will reportedly place a greater focus on overnight repairs, with the goal of a faster turnaround for customers who need their Apple products fixed. however, this will come at somewhat of an expense to “While You Wait” repairs.

Multitasking: Genius Bar employees will be asked to serve multiple customers at once, rather than just focusing on one person. Employees will help another customer during downtime (such as during a computer reboot), and support staff will attempt to pair customers who have reservations for similar or identical issues.

“While Apple is pitching the changes as a significant enhancement to support services in its retail stores, others are not so sure,” the report said. “One Apple retail store employee familiar with the changes noted that the company is trying to ‘do more with less,’ pulling in less-qualified Creatives and offering less personal attention through multitasking in order to deal with customer demand rather than hiring new staff.

“The employee also expressed concern about low stocks of parts available at retail stores and how without a change in how parts are allocated and delivered many repairs will not be able to be completed overnight as planned.”

If this can happen, great. If not, well, they’ll still hand you a free bottle of water while you explain that you didn’t mean to stick your iPhone in the toaster that morning…

Apple Offers Additional Education Store Discount, Brings MacBook Prices to Below $800 in Some Cases

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Date: Wednesday, December 30th, 2009, 05:09
Category: MacBook, retail

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Sometimes there’s a decent deal to be had if you look for it.

According to MacNN, Apple has offered an educational discount on the current MacBook, dropping the price below US$899. Apple recently dropped the standard educational price by $50, on top of a previous price below the $999 retail cost via its educational store. At at least one school-specific Apple storefront however, the cost has been lowered to US$728. Shipping remains free.

The impetus for the price cuts remains unclear, though it seems likely that Apple just wants to clear out its holiday stock. Apple also sells to most of its educational customers in the run up to September, when many schools begin classes.

The company’s usual “Back to School” promotion offers money towards an iPod when buying a new Mac.

RadioShack Announces iPhone Sales Plan for 2009/2010

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Date: Tuesday, November 10th, 2009, 05:37
Category: iPhone 3GS, News, retail

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If the Droid’s coming out and looking promising, it never hurts to have another retail outlet on your side.

Late last Friday, electronics retailer RadioShack announced that it would begin selling the iPhone in a few New York city and Dallas stores in time for the holiday shopping rush, with wider availability to begin in 2010.

While the addition of another retail outlet to the mix of stores may not do a whole lot for general availability of the device, it shot RadioShock’s stock up over 14% on the first trading day since the announcement, with analysts suggesting that the presence of the iPhone may help to drive up in-store traffic for the Shack during the busy holiday season and year-round.

And still, another 5,000 chain stores never hurts sales…

Apple Legal Department Asks Microsoft to Stop Airing “Laptop Hunter” Ads

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, July 16th, 2009, 04:24
Category: retail

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In what may be considered a triumph depending on which side you’re on, Apple has apparently responded to Microsoft’s “Laptop Hunter” series of television commercials. Per Ars Technica, Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner was quoted as stating at the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference on Wednesday that “two weeks ago we got a call from the Apple legal department saying [...] ‘Hey, you need to stop running those ads, we lowered our prices.’” Turner further went on to note that “they took like $100 off or something,” before stating to applause that it “was the greatest single phone call in the history that I’ve ever taken in business.”

Turner also confirmed that Microsoft is indeed “just going to keep running them and running them and running them.”

I’m not sure if this is effective marketing or not, as no one has actually mentioned enjoying these commercials to any extent of the imagination…

Let us know what you think over in the comments.

13″ Unibody MacBook Pro Notebook May Be in Short Supply

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 8th, 2009, 04:01
Category: MacBook Pro, retail

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Apple’s recently-released 13″ MacBook Pro notebook looks to be off to a good start, albeit the company may be having difficulty keeping some of the model stocked as it enters the back-to-school shopping season.

According to AppleInsider, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster pointed out that the Apple online store is currently reflecting lead times of 7 to 10 business days for the faster of the two 13″ MacBook Pros. He notes this is the most extensive delay affecting the company’s 13″ notebook models ever.

Munster, which regularly tracks and records lead times for products on the Mac maker’s online store, said he had to look back more than two years into his records to find similar delays, and even then they spanned just 5 to 7 business days.

With the entry-level 15″ MacBook Pro using the same 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo chip also reflecting such delays, Munster put in a call to 10 Apple retail stores and found that 7 of them were short at least one of the 13″ models, but not always the speedier model.

“We see this as a sign that demand is outpacing the company’s build expectations, and it may take several weeks to reach a supply demand equilibrium,” he told clients.

Shortages of Apple’s mainstream notebook offerings comes just weeks after the company kicked off its back-to-school promotion offering students a free iPod touch with each Mac purchase and then rebranded its 13″ unibody MacBooks as more premium offerings under the MacBook Pro moniker.

For Macs, the Piper Jaffray analyst said he’s increasingly confident Apple will report sales of 2.2 million systems for the June quarter when it announces results a bit later this month. That compares to the nearly 2.5 million Macs the company sold during the same quarter one year ago.

Mild iPhone 3GS Shortage Reported Models Across Apple Retail Networks

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Date: Monday, June 29th, 2009, 04:11
Category: iPhone 3GS, retail

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Apple’s retail store chain reported shortages of some models of the company’s recently released iPhone 3GS handset on Sunday. According to Macworld UK, the company’s own inventory tracking tool showed a milder repeat of last summer, when Apple’s stores quickly exhausted supplies of the then-new iPhone 3G, a situation that persisted for several weeks until the company could refill the pipeline.

On Sunday, Apple’s stock-checking tool indicated that 13 of the 211 stores in the US, or 6% of the total, were completely out of the iPhone 3GS.

Another 31 stores, or 15%, had only one of the four models for sale.

The hardest-to-find iPhone 3GS was the US$199 white 16GB model, which was out of stock in 121 stores, or 57% of the locations. Supplies of the US$299 32GB black iPhone 3GS were also short, as 84 stores, or 40% of the total, reported it unavailable.

Customers on Sunday were most likely to find the US$199 black 16GB iPhone 3GS and the US$299 white 32GB model in stock, as only 23% of the stores reported being out of either of those configurations.

The iPhone 3GS has been available since June 19, but Apple only recently re-activated the inventory tool. Last summer, users were told to use the tool after 9 pm local time each day to check availability for the next day. This year, there is no such instruction, since the tool has been changed to offer better information.

“You can check the most up-to-date availability right here,” said Apple on the tool’s Web page. “Shipments of iPhone 3GS arrive most days and availability is updated hourly.”

All stores currently have the US$99 8GB iPhone 3G in stock, Apple added.

AT&T, which last year also ran through its inventory soon after the iPhone 3G’s July launch, and took much longer to restock, has some spot shortages in its 2,200 retail stores as well. The carrier, however, was vague about the extent of the problem.

“There are AT&T stores that do not currently carry iPhone,” AT&T said in an message accompanying its online store finder. The remainder of the text was identical to last year: “This store locator is made specifically for finding iPhone at an AT&T store. It does not, however guarantee that there will be iPhones in stock at the particular store at this time. To make sure iPhone is at the store closest to you, call that store’s number.”

Best Buy and Wal-Mart are selling the 3GS handset as well. However, neither sells the iPhone online or offers any information about availability online. Instead, customers must call or visit a brick-and-mortar store to see whether the smartphone is in stock.

Prior to the June 19 launch, AT&T and Best Buy said that they had exhausted their pre-order supplies of the iPhone 3GS.

Best Buy Customer Purchases MacBook Pro, Receives 5-Pound Paving Brick in Box

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Date: Thursday, June 4th, 2009, 09:15
Category: Fun, retail

Per TechEBlog, a Best Buy customer identified only as “Ryan” recently purchased a MacBook Pro notebook for a U.S. Best Buy location only to discover a five pound paving stone in place of the US$2164.89 notebook.


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When he tried returning the item, the store’s manager stated the following: “Apple seals the boxes, not us. Take it up with Apple.”
Sometimes words fail me.
And this is one of them.

Apple Revises One to One Support, Training Programs

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009, 09:47
Category: News, retail

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If you’ve snagged a Mac within the past couple of years, you were probably offered Apple’s ProCare, which has functioned as advanced placement in the Genius Bar’s repair queue, initial setup for new Macs and complimentary training sessions. The service, introduced in 2004, was renamed “One to One” in 2007 when more individual training was offered.
According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, One to One is now being changed to offer new features as well as new limitations. ProCare’s complete Mac setup & data transfer is now included with One to One. Previously, One to One only included a “simple” setup.
Other changes for One to One include exclusive workshops only available to One to One members as well as the new “Personal Projects” session for larger blocks of time. Members can now reserve a session for up to a three hour block of time to create, with an Apple trainer’s assistance. Similar to workshops, Personal Projects are a group activity in that several members will be present; while a workshop includes members working on the same topic, a project session includes members working on individual and unrelated tasks.
One to One is also now only available with the purchase of a new Mac at an Apple store; this is in contrast to the previous One to One and current ProCare services which could be purchased at any time. One to One memberships are also now only renewable two times for a maximum membership duration of three years. Existing memberships (beginning prior to June 2, 2009) in One to One will be renewable only one time.
Customers can purchase a new One to One membership along with a new Mac at any Apple Retail store now. Per Apple, this service’s availability will expand to Apple’s online channel in the near future.

Wal-Mart Redesigning Electronics Department, May be Looking to Carry Apple Products

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Date: Wednesday, May 20th, 2009, 08:31
Category: retail

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A recent Wal-Mart move to overhaul the chain’s electronics department in many of its retail locations with Apple-designated shopping areas is being seen as a sign that the mega-retailer is making a pitch to eventually carry Apple’s product line.
According to AppleInsider, the chain began revamping the electronics departments in approximately 3,500 of its locations last week, including 2,600 Supercenter locations. The move is being seen as a bid to capture a large portion of big-screen TV market share vacated by the closing of Circuit City, which shut down its operations after filing for bankruptcy back in November.
As part of the renovations, which should provide for a more spacious and interactive shopping experience, Wal-Mart will also be rolling out specialized in-store boutiques for popular brands such and Nintendo and Apple, similar to the Apple store-within-a-store layouts found in Best Buy retail stores.
Ben Reitzes, an analyst with Barclays Capital, offered a view that the move as a precursor to Wal-Mart extending its reach beyond iPods, iPhones, and accessories to Apple’s Mac line of computers.
“We believe Wal-Mart is actively pitching Apple to carry more products,” he said. “With Wal-Mart improving its retail displays, we believe that the mega-retailer could eventually earn the right to sell select Mac products without diluting Apple’s brand.”
Upon last check, Apple had under 10,000 distribution points for the Mac worldwide, so a move into Wal-Mart would increase Mac exposure significantly. Reitzes also noted that many of Wal-Mart’s stores are located in rural areas not near one of Apple’s own company stores.
The analyst also commented that while he doesn’t see the existing Mac line as a particularly good fit for the discount retailer outside of its US$599 Mac mini and US$999 MacBook offerings, but said he believes the company is working on more sub-US$1000 products that may eventually appeal to Wal-Mart’s customer base.
“We have recently stated that Apple could reposition the low-end of it Mac lines to be more affordable as well as eventually introduce an ultraportable touchscreen tablet device as early as this year,” Reitzes said. He’s likely referring to a couple of AppleInsider reports on those respective matters, including plans for more affordable Macs later this year and a Newton-like web tablet sometime thereafter.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen or heard anything on your end, let us know.