Apple on Wednesday unveiled an updated Apple TV with a new streamlined user interface during the company’s press conference in San Francisco. The iOS-based set top box supports 1080p content, Genius recommendations, iTunes Match, Photo Stream and TV shows will be available the day after they air. “People are going to love streaming movies and TV shows in 1080p with the new Apple TV, and photos look beautiful displayed at the maximum resolution of your TV,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Apple TV is easier than ever to use with its new icon-based interface and the ability to access your purchased movies, TV shows and music right from iCloud.” The new Apple TV retains the same $99 price tag, and it will be available on March 16th with pre-orders starting today. Read on for Apple’s press release. More →
Apple is a company that somehow manages to churn out an above-average amount of beautiful products, fantastic software and class-leading services. When it misses, however, it misses big. MobileMe is one example. Ping is a better one. A third example is Apple’s Genius recommendation engine, which seeks to present App Store users with a list of applications they may enjoy based on their app download history. Right now, Genius is awful, but Apple’s recent acquisition of a company called Chomp may see things change in the near future. Read on for more. More →
For those wondering just how loosely Apple uses the term “Genius,” it looks like we now have our answer. A new Tumblr blog titled simply Apple Store Planking showcases photos of Apple Store employees planking on the job. Planking, for those who were lucky enough to be unaware of the phenomenon until now, is a meme that involves people posting photographs of themselves lying face down with their arms at their sides. The practice has become increasingly popular among Darwin Award hopefuls, and now Apple Store employee planking is a meme of its own. Hit the break for a few more photos of Apple Store Planking. More →
Apple’s first foray into retail was a giant question mark on May 19th, 2001, when Apple opened the doors to its first two retail locations in Glendale, CA and McLean, VA. Ten years later, Apple’s retail stores are a crucial piece of the puzzle that has been assembled to create a customer experience unlike any other. “Apple today announced that its first two retail locations welcomed over 7700 people and sold a combined total of $599,000 of merchandise during their first two day weekend,” an Apple press release boasted on May 21st, 2001. Despite the solid weekend, several media outlets lambasted Apple for its decision to target high-rent areas with its first flock of retail shops while Gateway had just closed the doors on its retail endeavor. “I give them two years before they’re turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake,” one analyst was quoted as saying following Apple’s retail debut.
But the company was still optimistic. “We are blown away with the numbers,” CEO Steve Jobs said following the stores’ opening weekend. “More importantly, customers have told us they love everything about the store—from the knowledgeable sales staff to the Genius Bar to the store’s design and unique approach to presenting digital lifestyle solutions.” In fiscal 2009, Apple Stores grossed $6.65 billion globally for $1.66 billion in profit. In fiscal 2010, Apple’s retail stores pulled in $2.36 billion in profit on $9.8 billion in revenue. So far over the first six months of fiscal 2011, Apple has made $1.84 billion in profit on revenues of $7.04 billion. Apple’s gravity defying retail performance can’t keep climbing forever, but from where we’re sitting, opening those first few Apple Stores 10 years ago seems like it worked out pretty well. And we’re fairly confident Apple still has a few tricks up its sleeve to ensure that the crowds keep coming. Hit the break for a video of Steve Jobs introducing the world to Apple’s first Apple Store. More →
Apple announces Joint Venture to retail employees; looks to service small businesses at Apple Stores
On schedule and as we exclusively reported, Apple announced its Joint Venture service this weekend to Apple Store employees. The new offering aims to bring small business customers into retail stores, providing more business-centric and personalized services. Users can enroll in Joint Venture for an annual fee of $499. What does that steep fee get you? The fee covers up to five users (additional users can be added for $99 per person per year) and provides priority service at Apple’s Genius Bars (skip the line), phone support from business-focused Geniuses, loaner machines for repairs taking over 24-hours, and access to customized workshops. The new service is set to roll out beginning March 2nd.
Not long after it pledged to update the myTouch 3G to Android 2.1, today a leaked document from T-Mobile revealed that the carrier is planning to further kick it up a notch with the release of Android 2.2. In addition to that, myTouch 3G owners will also get an updated version of the Faves Gallery alongside the addition to the Genius button and support for Exchange. No word yet on when the update will actually drop, but we imagine this update will involve at least a little bit of an agonizing wait.
If you’re and Android user on T-Mobile, then we probably don’t need to remind you of this, but for everyone else, the myTouch 3G Slide is available as of today. A decent handset by all accounts, there is but one major problem with it — it’s priced at $179.99 with an Even More plan with 2-year contract or $429.99 outright with Even More Plus. Yes, you certainly do contract-free financing provided you pledge to pay $21.50 per month over 20 months, but no matter how you slice it, you’re still going to be paying top dollar for something that really doesn’t command it. More →
Sure it only has 192MB of RAM, but according to T-Mobile’s VP of Product Innovation, the myTouch 3G will indeed be making the leap from Android 1.5 all the way up to Android 2.1. Due out at an unspecific time, the update should bring with it all of the usual Eclair goodies — alongside the tweaked Sense UI overlay and “Genius” button — as seen on the myTouch 3G Slide. Exactly how the Genius button will work on the myTouch 3G is a bit of a mystery, considering it doesn’t have a physical button to spare, but we can imagine there would be some virtualization at play. More →
Dream about a sliding Android device for T-Mobile? Well, your wish is HTC’s command as the T-Mobile myTouch 3G Slide just got official. No stranger to leaks, the device slides in at 15mm thick and features a 3.4″ HVGA screen, Android 2.1, 5 megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, 3G, and even a Genius button powered by Dragon Dictation that’s ready to take your voice input and convert it into calls, sending text messages, and more. If that roomy slide-out QWERTY keyboard and aforementioned specs tickle your fancy, then you won’t have to wait much longer as this handset is geared up to hit in June in either black, white, or red, exclusively from T-Mobile. Pricing information isn’t available at this time.
When Apple announced the availability of iPhone OS 3.1 and the new features that came along with it, we’re not going to lie — we were pretty excited. Regardless of your feelings about Apple and its products, nearly everyone can agree that the App Store was one of the biggest game-changers in recent history where the wireless industry is concerned. With all of the great things about Apple’s App Store however, come several faults of course — and one of the biggest problems was the lack of a recommendation system. In fact, we’d call it the second biggest fault behind lack of a facility for trial versions of apps.
We have to wonder if the culmination of Microsoft’s $300mm marketing endeavor will be a battle royale on Monday Night Raw or Pay Per View. Windows Gurus vs. Mac Geniuses in a cage match to the death. Not only would we totally be willing to buy that event on PPV, we guarantee that everyone on the BGR team will pick up a shiny new Vista PC if the Windows Gurus get out alive. Let’s get it on! In the meantime, the Gurus have a slightly different task at hand that likely requires a bit less training and a bit more sweating. According to Reuters, Microsoft will be setting up camp in hundreds of Best Buy and Circuit City locations around the country. Their mission: Educate the masses and show potential customers the many benefits of Vista. Brilliant! Think about how economical this plan is compared to Apple’s scheme. Apple has to plant dedicated Geniuses in each and every Apple store it runs. Microsoft on the other hand, can double its return by having each Guru team run back and forth across the highway to cover Best Buy and Circuit City in one fell swoop. Who’s the genius now, Stevo?