Apple Stores sent back in time during yesterday’s DNS outage.

Anyone want to work out what yesterday's mishap cost Apple? Photo: The Dark Knight

Yesterday’s Apple outages brought digital sales for services like iTunes to a standstill, but it also caused things to grind to a halt in some brick-and-mortar Apple Stores. The down time sent retail back to the days before, well, Apple was there to shake it up.

For a window of approximately two hours, Apple Store employees in certain places were unable to check in to work, stores were unable to make sales and Genius Bar appointments were unable to be kept. Employees were apparently unable to check email for even longer.

The result, was furious customers, many of whom had traveled to their local Apple Store only to discover they couldn’t buy anything. Problems varied from country to country, but repercussions were felt across the board as Apple Pay and a bunch of other services went down.

In an official statement, Apple blamed the problem on a DNS error, commenting that, “We apologize to our customers experiencing problems with iTunes and other services this morning. The cause was an internal DNS error at Apple. We’re working to make all of the services available to customers as soon as possible, and we thank everyone for their patience.”

Given how much money Apple Stores rake in on a daily basis, we wonder how much yesterday’s little mishap cost the company. Just as interesting would be to find out the cause: Was it a supremely successful hack or (maybe more likely) too many people browsing Apple’s services after Monday’s “Spring Forward” keynote.

Did you experience yesterday’s Apple outage? Drop us a line in the comments box.

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.

Physical Activity Monitor ‘Shine’ Launching in Apple Stores.

Startup organization Misfit, a company co-founded by former Apple CEO John Sculley, has released Shine, a physical activity monitor for use with iOS devices. Shine includes features such as the ability to wear the monitor anywhere on the body with additional accessories, as well as mobile syncing that is done by placing Shine on top of an iOS device and using an official app that can be downloaded from the App Store [Direct Link].

Shine is an elegant new activity tracker that helps you live a more active life. Wear Shine anywhere on your body with our range of accessories that are designed for any occasion. Then sync with the Shine app to set your activity goal, check your daily progress, and see your movement trends.

Shine was originally funded through an Indiegogo campaign that raised over $845,000 in 2012. The device retails for $99.95 and is available on Misfit’s official online store.

Shine will also be coming shortly to Apple’s retail and online stores. The device briefly appeared in Apple’s online store yesterday in a $119.95 package that also includes Shine’s sport band bracelet strap, although it has now been removed from the store for unknown reasons.

Source: Mac Rumors.

Recent Apple Retail screw-ups rumored not to be solved, emblematic of larger, post-Jobs problem.

by Rene Ritchie from imore.

Recent Apple Retail gaffs rumored not to be solved, emblematic of larger, post-Jobs problem

While new Apple Retail head John Browett reportedly apologized and reversed recent staffing decisions that threatened the phenomenal experience of Apple Stores, it’s now being rumored that the apologies weren’t exactly sincere, weren’t actually given to the staff, and may reflect a new, more profit-oriented, less customer-centric, direction instigated by Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer.InfoAppleStore rounds up what they’ve heard:

After Browett’s reversal, insiders say that everyone who had been dismissed was indeed rehired, and inter-store transfers were again approved. However, the number of in-store workshops at some stores has been reduced, sources say, overtime is still limited, demotions were not reversed, and managers are assigning only minimum contracted hours to part-timers. One tipster even claimed Apple has stopped printing the monthly workshop schedules that have been available at high-profile stores for many years.

And as to why it’s happening:

But in 2009, Jobs took six months of medical leave and put Tim Cook in charge of the company, including the retail stores. Cook is primarily an “operations guy,” sources explain, and his natural focus is revenues and profits, not customers. While Jobs was away, Cook and chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer began to confront Johnson on his customer-centric retail philosophy—both felt the stores didn’t generate enough revenues to justify operating expenses.

Which seems counter to everything Apple, including everything Apple under Tim Cook, stands for. Hopefully it’s not the case. Hopefully Cook, Oppenheimer, and Browett ascribe to the same principles for Apple Retail that Steve Jobs and former retail head Ron Johnson did, that Apple does for everything from iOS and Mac hardware to the most minute of icon details.

Apple’s primary weapon against competitors has been experience. I walk into an Apple Store and, even though it’s packed, there’s a ton of staff and my needs get seen to quickly and expertly. I walk into a Best Buy and it’s a wasteland, with entire sections devoid of any staff to the degree that I’ve often walked out without getting any service.

Apple Retail is one of Apple’s crown jewels and one of the most important elements in their resurgence and success. I can’t imagine any Apple executive would risk messing with it for any reason.

Take care of the top line and the bottom line will take care of itself was an oft-repeated statement from Steve Jobs. Take care of Apple Retail, and it’ll take care of Apple.