Apple Stores discounting Apple TV w/ $25 iTunes card ahead of new hardware rumored for spring.

Apple-TV-boxBeginning today, Apple Stores in the US are giving anyone that purchases an Apple TV in-store a free $25 iTunes gift card, reports 9to5Mac. At the moment, it seems that this promotion is only available in Apple’s brick and mortar retail stores.

The promotion is said to end on March 5, 2014, and reinforces recent rumors of an upcoming Apple TV hardware refresh in the spring as Apple tries to clear out its current inventory to make room for the new device.

Apple’s next generation Apple TV is said to have a number of internal hardware upgrades including the potential inclusion of built-in AirPort Express 802.11ac router functionality and TV tuner to control existing cable boxes, although it is unclear how much truth is in these rumors. The new Apple TV is also said to feature a revamped operating system and game support.

So, if you’re in the market for an Apple TV, check out your local Apple Store and see if you can snag one with a free $25 gift card. If you’re not in desperate need, the current promotion might suggest to you that it is worth waiting to see if a device refresh is looming.

Apple’s rumored iPhone trade-in program launching as soon as next month.

Apple's rumored iPhone trade-in program launching as soon as next month

The smartphone aftermarket is red hot these days, with U.S. carriers already diving in with greedy hands open, and Apple Retail rumored to be getting into the game as well. With new iPhones hitting the shelves every year – including rumored iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C this year – and some segment always looking to upgrade early, getting value from those trade-ins in more price-sensitive and emerging markets is just too attractive a proposition for anyone to pass up. iMore’s been able to independently confirm that information about the trade-in program is making its way into retail, but Mark Gurman has a ton of details up already:

Apple is beginning final preparations to launch an iPhone trade-in program in its retail stores as soon as next month, according to sources with knowledge of the initiative. This trade-in program will allow customers that own earlier versions of the iPhone, such as the iPhone 4S, to bring the phone into an Apple Store and exchange it for a new iPhone model, like the iPhone 5, at a discounted price…

iPhone is Apple’s single biggest money maker, and it makes a ton of sense that they’d want to pull as much profit out of it as possible, both by making the Apple Store the best possible place to buy (and not having to split with other retailers), and the best possible place to trade-in (and not leave any money on the table for other after-market resellers).

This is operations, it’s Tim Cook’s forte. Once you have the supply chain as tight as possible, the retail chain is the next most obvious goal post to move.

Source: iMore.

Apple Retail Stores making a play to sell Macs to Windows based business customers.

Apple is to make a play for the currently Windows based business users in a new sales initiative according to reports. Retail Stores will now display a 27-inch iMac in their business section prepared with Parallels and Windows 8.

Select Apple Retail employees will also be trained on the Parallels and Windows software, and special Parallels demos have been created for Apple Stores. The goal of this new initiative is to push employees to be able to show businesses that currently work on Windows that all purposes of Windows could either be replaced or used (with Parallels) on a Mac computer.

There’s no denying that Windows still overwhelmingly controls the business market, and for many companies moving away completely and going to OS X would be expensive and impractical. Parallels isn’t quite the same as running native Windows, but it’s close enough for most purposes, and who wouldn’t like to be staring at something like a 27-inch iMac all day at work instead of a generic looking Windows box? And, let’s not forget that the MacBook Pro was judged to be the best performing Windows machine.

It’s also a far cry from the Mac vs PC days, instead focusing on how Apple’s hardware can work in tandem with Microsoft’s operating system. Parallels isn’t the only method of running Windows 8 on a Mac of course. More recent updates to Mountain Lion added better driver support for Boot Camp to install Windows 8 on a separate partition, but Parallels is possibly more consumer friendly.

Source:  iMore.

Apple Retail employees reportedly getting free iBooks ahead of iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks launch.

According to a new report, ahead of the launch of iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks, Apple Retail employees will be receiving free iBooks. Announced at a quarterly meeting, the move is known internally as “iBooks Discovery” and will be a way to ensure staff familiarity with the iBooks app and store ahead of this fall. With iBooks hitting the Mac for the first time with Mavericks, there are potentially new customers to Apple’s bookstore that will need to be introduced by the Apple Retail employees.

Also in the meetings, the first hints of an upcoming iOS redesign for iBooks were indicated, with the display of the all new, iOS 7 style app icon. Since iOS 7 is such a massive visual overhaul from previous versions, it’s not at all surprising to hear that Apple’s non-baked in apps will be redesigned ahead of the fall.

With the move to the Mac finally happening, it’s clear Apple has no intentions of slowing up on iBooks, and the added functionality with the Mavericks app will add a new level to the reading experience, particularly for Textbooks. Likewise, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard of in-store initiatives taking place to prepare Retail Store staff for upcoming launches. With a healthy quarter behind them, the Apple Retail Stores will be seeing a lot more attention, from Apple and from customers, as we approach the new product launches.

Source: iMore.

Apple Store iOS app reportedly being re-designed to offer free iTunes content.

The Apple Store app for iOS is set to receive a revamp as soon as next week, with a slight interface change and for the first time, free iTunes content will be offered in this app. The update is reportedly in line with Tim Cook’s plans to try and push more iPhone sales through Apple Retail, and is also set to be part of a new initiative in retail stores.

Sources say that the new app update is also designed to go hand-in-hand with a new initiative in Apple Stores. When a new iOS Device is sold, Apple employees will be encouraged to install the new Apple Store app on the newly purchased device. According to comments from Tim Cook at last month’s secretive summit for Retail Leadership, only 20% of Apple customers are aware of the Apple Store app’s existence. This new plan will certainly increase that percentage.

The report is accompanied by a leaked image, which clearly displays promotional iTunes content being offered from the front page of the new look Apple Store app. The redesign will bring it more into line with Apple’s content providing apps in iOS 6, and according to the same sources will land on July 23.

Source: iMore.