Earlier this month, Apple opened a new store inside New York City’s Grand Central Station. This is not Apple’s only store in Manhattan and does not make a dramatic architectural statement like its Cube on Fifth Avenue. Much of its retail model has been seen before in other Apple stores. Yet when I visited it just before it opened it felt radically different than any other retail environment – even different from other Apple stores – and serves as an object lesson for how to sell and support digital products at retail in an increasingly online world. Even if you dislike Apple’s products (or just some of its more enthusiastic fans), if you’re in Manhattan, Apple’s store is worth a visit. Apple claims that it sells more per square foot than any other major retailer in the world, and while some of that is due to products that sell well on their own, Apple’s retail store processes, compensation structure, and architecture all play roles worth investigating.
Apple has reportedly ramped up its TV strategy, outlining a Siri and motion controlled television system in recent meetings with media executives and fleshing out its wirelessly-enabled smart TV set. The company has been courting several of the larger media companies, the WSJ's insiders tell them, selling the benefits of a cross-platform system that could recognize viewers whether they were using their TV, a tablet or a phone. However, the talks have fallen short of entering the negotiation phase for actual content licensing.
If you’ve been paying attention to the mobile market over the last several months, you know that Apple and Samsung are at each other’s throats over alleged patent infringement. And with lawsuits flying worldwide, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the war between the firms will spill over into next year.
Apple has quietly activated TV show purchases on the Apple TV for owners in Canada, the UK and Australia, adding outright buying options to the existing iTunes rentals. Until now, Apple TV boxes outside of the US had only been able to stream TV show rentals bought through iTunes; now, there are reports from Canada, the UK and Australia that those limitations have been lifted. However, you'll still need an internet connection to watch the shows.
Apple is readying a Siri API that could pave the way for integration with third-party apps and services, with new software engineer positions seeking help to "make the next big thing even bigger." Two new roles have been spotted by 9to5Mac, for an iOS software engineer and senior engineer, each confirming the work-in-progress API that will tie various aspects of the iPhone experience together as the virtual personal assistant prepares to step out of beta.
Gaming has long been Microsoft's wildcard: while the company struggles to find its feet with Windows Phone, and faces a difficult tablet market when its Windows 8 slates finally appear, the Xbox 360 continues to sell strongly. Now Xbox TV has arrived to not only reassure 360-owning gamers that they made the right console choice, but broaden the 360's appeal to a whole new segment. It's not entirely fashionable to praise Microsoft, especially when it's over something that, buried in the company's history books, they've tried and failed at before. Smart TV has suffered the usual ignominies and from the usual flaws: sluggish hardware, confusing interface, dawdling internet connections. Now, with Xbox LIVE TV, all the pieces seem finally to be coming together.
Last year, when Apple released the next-generation Apple TV, I was happy. I felt that after all these years, the company finally understood just how important the living room was to its customers. And although I wasn’t blown away by the device’s functionality, I was confident that Apple would show me something new this year.
Quite a few Apple HDTV rumors have broken onto the scene today, this time once again arising from renowned Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who took the stage at the IGNITION: Future of Media conference this morning. In fact, according to his predictions, Munster is so certain an Apple TV will be launching in the next year, that he essentially told anyone in the audience who was thinking of purchasing a new TV to standby and wait, because Apple's new TV is going to be, well, in the most Apple-esque sense as possible, amazing. Well, we hope so too.
Apple's home entertainment hobby, the Apple TV, is readying a leap to its third-generation of hardware according to details spotted in yesterday's iOS 5.1 developer beta. The new model is believed to have the J33 codename, 9 to 5 Mac reports, a step up from a more general identifier number, and signaling that a commercial launch could be close at hand.