Apple Online Store Down with New Look

Once in a while, the Apple Store does go offline for updates to introduce new products, but it also goes down for maintenance.

Tonight’s downtime may also be related to maintenance or other non-product related announcements, but what seems to be significant is that the “We’ll be back soon” sticky note that should be quite familiar to long time Apple followers has been changed. The sticky note was used for many years.

Apple Store Sticky NoteEvery time the store would go down, this sticky note would be displayed to visitors for many years. However, tonight Apple has posted a new graphic overlaying a linen background that has been popularized in iOS. It looks fantastic!

Apple Store down graphic

Apple does have several product lines that are due for a refresh soon including the Mac Pro MacBook Pro, but going by the “We’ll be back” graphic change, it may suggest other graphical tweaks to the online store.

World’s Largest Apple Store Yet Coming to Dalian, China?

M.I.C. gadget reports that Apple seems to be working on plans to open its largest retail store yet. The company has already started to advertise a forthcoming store in the main Century City shopping district of Dalian, China. The city has a population of 3.5 million people with over 6 million people in the region. A photo attached below shows a promotional sign in a shopping center saying that the forthcoming store will be the “world’s biggest”.

Apple Store D China sign

However, details regarding the upcoming Apple store remain unknown. For example, the exact size of its store. Surprisingly, some of the banners caused complaints from nearby shop owners. A security team was sent to knock over the displays that Apple has set up outside of Parkland Mall.

Currently, Apple’s largest retail store in the world, by square feet, is the Grand Central Terminal Store located in New York City. The store is 23,000 square feet and has an estimated 700,000 people passing by every day.

Houston Retail Store Grand Opening Suggest 8:00 AM iPad Launch on Friday

Earlier this month, just before the iPad was announced, we reported that the March 16th opening of a new Houston Apple Store may signal the iPad launch. Normally store openings occur on Saturday, but this store was reported to open on Friday. This led to the speculation that the iPad launch might be on that date, and Apple did indeed announce last week that the device will be available beginning March 16th.

However, the company has yet to announce what time the launch will begin in-store sales of the iPad on Friday. Sometimes, Apple has held major product launches first thing in the morning, but that was different with the iPad 2 last year. Last year, the company held the iPad 2 launch in the late afternoon.

Now, as noted by the Houston Chronicle, Apple has now publicly announced that the new Highland Village store will be opening at 8:00 AM on Friday. The demand for Apple’s new iPad has been “off the charts“, with the company’s online stores in all launch countries now quoting shipping estimates of 2-3 weeks for new orders.

March 16 Opening of New Houston Apple Store May Signal iPad 3 Launch

Apple is expected to announced the iPad 3 next week, but a mystery that still remains is the launch date for it. Also, the week before a major Apple event gets crazy for the rumor mill. Now, The Houston Chronicle reports that Apple’s upcoming  Highland Village retail store will be opening on Friday, March 16.

Apple Houston Highland Village Store

According to the report, the store was originally scheduled to open in January, but due to delays caused by construction, the opening was pushed back to Saturday, March 17th. However, just weeks ago the opening was moved up by a day to March 16, which leads to speculate that the company maybe looking to have the store open for an iPad 3 launch on that day.

This date would be similar to the company’s launch of the iPad 2 a year ago. Last year, Apple announced the iPad 2 on March 2nd, and the device was made available in the U.S. just over a week later, on March 11th. An international launch occurred a few weeks later, on March 25th.

Apple’s new Highland Village store is among the first of the retail stores to be based on a prototype design from the company’s s Upper West Side store in Manhattan.

This is What Apple’s New Amsterdam Retail Store Looks Like

Apple Amsterdam Store

Last week, we reported that Apple’s first Amsterdam Retail Store will open on March 3rd, which will make it the thirteenth country where Apple has retail presence. The new location in Amsterdam will be on the ground floor and lower floor of the city’s historic Hirsch Building in Leidseplein Square. Press previews for the new store occurred this morning, and a number of sources have posted photo sets of the interior of the store.

Apple Amsterdam Store Interior

One More Thing has posted an extensive gallery [Google translation] showing the gorgeous interior details Apple has used in the historic building. Also, has some additional shots [Google translation], including one of the massive Genius Bar in the store. Apple reportedly says that it is the longest in its chain of retail stores. It was reported that The Genius Bar had 20 seats for customers, but from the picture it seems there are a lot more stools than that. Wow, what a masterpiece this store is!

Apple Amsterdam Store Interior 2

Apple Amsterdam Store Genius Bar

Yesterday, Thomas Schlijper also posted a mind blowing photo of the glass staircase at Apple’s new Amsterdam retail store. Looks gorgeous, doesn’t it?

Apple Amsterdam Store Staircase

Apple Store App for iOS Updated

Today, Apple has updated its Apple Store app [App Store] for iOS to version 2.1. This new update adds several new features and makes the app available in Netherlands for the first time to support the Amsterdam store opening this week.

Apple Store update 2.1

The most interesting addition brought via the update is the new “Account” section where users can update their billing information and addresses as well as shipping addresses right from the app. Before this update, users had to log into their accounts through the Apple website in order to update payment methods.

What’s New in Version 2.1

– Choose iPhone plans from all three U.S. carriers — AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint (U.S. Only)
– Make your shopping experience even more convenient with new account management editing and billing options.
– The Apple Store app is now available in the Netherlands.
– Requires iOS 4.3.3 or higher.

This is interesting because the previous update introduced “EasyPay”, which allows users of the app to scan product barcodes in-store, read reviews on their iPhone and then charge the items directly to the credit card associated with their iTunes account. I guess this is even more evidence that Apple is testing the waters with mobile payments.

Apple’s First Amsterdam Retail Store Set to Open March 3

Last year, Apple rapidly expanded its stores. Last August, it was reported that the company is working on a store that will consist of a gorgeous glass roof in Santa Monica, CA. Just a month or two after, rumors of a store in Manhattan’s Grand Central started to appear, which finally became a reality earlier this month. It is gorgeous! Apple also redesigned its iconic Fifth Avenue store’s glass cube last year. In December, it was reported that Apple is working on a “prototype” store in Palo Alto, CA. Then in January, it was reported that Apple had started to work on new retail stores in France and Switzerland.

Apple Amsterdam Store

Today, reports that the grand opening of the new Apple Store in the Netherlands will occur next Saturday, March 3 at 10 a.m., which will make it the thirteenth country where Apple has retail presence. The new location in Amsterdam will be on the ground floor and lower floor of the city’s historic Hirsch Building in Leidseplein Square. Also, both the levels will be connected by a glass spiral staircase, which can be found at many of Apple’s retail locations. In addition, the second floor will be covered by a glass pyramid. Apple’s new store looks stunning!

Earlier this month, the company began hyping that the store was opening “soon”, but did not give a specific date.

Apple’s Grand Central Store Neighbor Seeing Increase In Sales

Last year, Apple opened its gorgeous looking store in New York’s Grand Central Station and the grand opening attracted a massive crowd. The store is expected to occupy 23,000 feet and it is also  to generate  half-a-billion in sales a year, which is probably more than all Microsoft stores combined. Today, one restaurant across the terminal reports that it is seeing a 7 percent increase in sales since Apple’s store opened in December.

Michael Jordan’s The Steak House is located across Apple’s Grand Central store, and its co-owner Pete Glazier says that his restaurant has seen a 7 percent increase in sales in the seven weeks that the Apple Store has been open, reports Crains New York. He also says that increase isn’t because the Apple Store replaced another restaurant, but it is because of Apple opening a store near Glazier’s restaurant. “The Jump only happened after Apple opened,” said Glazier, not in the several months  that the space was being renovated as the store was built. Seems to me that a lot of Apple’s customers come to store hungry. :-P

When was the last time you ever heard of a Microsoft store increasing sales for its neighbors?

Tim Cook on New Retail Chief John Browett: ‘The Best by Far’

Just yesterday, it was announced that Apple had appointed John Browett as the new Senior Vice President of Retail. Browett left his position as CEO of Dixons Retail. That night, while I was reading my Twitter timeline, I noticed that people were expressing concerns among those familiar with Dixons, which operates stores under a number of names including Currys and PC World. Turns out, it wasn’t just people on Twitter who were expressing signs of concern.

John Browett

Now, in response to the criticism MacRumors reader Tony Hart reports on his blog that after emailing Apple CEO Tim Cook with his thoughts on the company’s selection of Dixons CEO John Browett as the head of retail, he received a personal response in which Cook said that Browett was “the best by far” among the candidates he talked with about the position. Geez, took a genius to figure that one out didn’t it? I mean come on, did folks really think Apple didn’t know what it was doing?


I talked to many people and John was the best by far. I think you will be as pleased as I am. His role isn’t to bring Dixons to Apple, [it’s] to bring Apple to an even higher level of customer service and satisfaction.


Prior to the role of CEO of  Dixons Retail, Browett held excecutive positions at Tesco PLC including CEO of Also, he had previously adviced retail and consumer goods clients at Boston Consulting Group. Speaking of Tim Cook, which other company’s CEO replies to emails so promptly?

Apple Appoints John Browett as New Senior Vice President of Retail

John Browett

Last year, it was reported that Ron Johnson (the man behind the Apple Stores) had decided to become J.C. Penney’s new CEO. Then a few months after, it was reported that Apple was looking overseas for a replacement. Now, today morning, Apple announced this morning that John Browett has joined Apple as their new Senior Vice President of Retail. Browett is leaving his position as CEO of Dixons Retail.

Apple® today announced that John Browett will join the company as senior vice president of Retail, reporting to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Browett comes to Apple from European technology retailer Dixons Retail, where he has been CEO since 2007. Beginning in April, he will be responsible for Apple’s retail strategy and the continued expansion of Apple retail stores around the world.

“Our retail stores are all about customer service, and John shares that commitment like no one else we’ve met,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We are thrilled to have him join our team and bring his incredible retail experience to Apple.”

Prior to the role of CEO of  Dixons Retail, Browett held excecutive positions at Tesco PLC including CEO of Also, he had previously adviced retail and consumer goods clients at Boston Consulting Group. John Browett has a degree in Natural Science from Cambridge University and an MBA from Wharton Business School. Apple choosing someone from overseas may come as a surprise, but it should be noted that Steve Jobs wanted to recruit someone from abroad.

In Europe, Dixon Retail is one of the largest consumer retailers with over 40,000 employees.