We all knew something was up, and over the weekend Apple took the wraps off what is being called “Apple Store 2.0,” a revamp that includes various new niceties. The changes, which coincided with Apple’s 10th retail anniversary, involve both consumer facing changes and behind-the-scenes tweaks that will combine to improve an already unique retail experience. Most notably, perhaps, are the thousands of iPad 2 units that have replaced paper signs and info cards next to Apple’s demo devices spread throughout the stores. Each iPad is interactive and features info about the product it accompanies, and there is also a “Specialist” button that will allow perusers to call a sales rep over for help or to make a purchase. These new iPad 2 displays won’t perform any other function — at least, not that the typical shopper can access — and they’re encased in acrylic enclosures to prevent people from walking off with them. Hit the break for a video of the new setup in action. More →
A Verizon Wireless spokesperson has shed some light on the fate of the HTC Merge — an Android 2.2 handset first discovered last September. The device, which was officially announced by HTC in February, has fallen in and out of obscurity for months. Now, according to the latest report, users may finally get a chance to purchase the handset. Speaking with blog Phone Scoop, a Verizon representative explained, “The HTC Merge was approved for use on the Verizon Wireless network and is being sold by third party distributors, but not in Verizon Wireless stores.” The full-QWERTY smartphone also contains a SIM card slot — for use overseas — making it one of Verizon’s “world phones.” The company did not indicate if the handset would eventually make its way to Verizon’s retail outlets. More →
On April 20th, a Verizon Wireless spokesperson was quoted as saying the company was “still evaluating” whether it would carry Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet in its retail stores. Eleven days later, it looks like that evaluation is over. The company has the PlayBook listed in its 2011 winter consumer guide with a “coming soon” tag. RIM had initially indicated that Verizon would be carrying its QNX-based tablet, making the evaluation comment worrisome to some pundits and industry insiders. The above image all but confirms that the tablet will be showing up fashionably late in Verizon retail outlets. More →
Reuters is reporting that Verizon Wireless is still debating whether or not to distribute Research In Motion’s new tablet, the BlackBerry PlayBook, via its sales channels. “We’re still evaluating the BlackBerry Playbook and have not made a determination as to whether we’re going to distribute it,” said a Verizon Wireless spokesperson speaking to the publication. The new tablet, which runs RIM’s QNX-based software, launched in U.S. and Canadian markets yesterday. The Waterloo mobile devices company had originally indicated that Verizon would be a distribution partner. More →
We exclusively reported Sprint would be getting an identical version of the Motorola XOOM sans LTE and adding a WiMAX radio, and we now have received a second confirmation — cases for the Motorola XOOM just started showing up at Sprint stores nationwide. No word on availability of the Motorola XOOM, but we’d anticipate it peeking it’s head up pretty soon.
Thanks, Adam! More →
Apple, AT&T, Verizon Wireless confirm tomorrow’s 5PM retail launch of iPad 2; online sales at 1AM Pacific
Apple, AT&T, and Verizon Wireless have independently fired off press releases letting us know exactly how and when we can acquire yourself an iPad 2 tomorrow, March 11th. Starting at 5:00 p.m. local time, interested parties can head to an Apple, AT&T, or Verizon Wireless retail store to purchase the 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB tablet in white or black. Verizon will be offering four data plans for the iPad 2:
- 1GB per month – $20
- 3GB per month – $35
- 5GB per month – $50
- 10GB per month – $80
While AT&T will be offering just two in both the pre-paid and post-paid formats:
- Monthly statements: $14.99 for 250 MB or $25 for 2GB. Customers who exceed their monthly data allotment will be billed $14.99 for another 250MB on the $14.99 plan or $10 per 1 GB of overage on the 2 GB plan [AT&T is offering consumers who choose monthly statement billing one free month of service].
- Credit card billing: $14.99 for 250 MB or $25 for 2 GB. Customers who exceed their monthly data allotment may choose to purchase another 250 MB on the $14.99 plan or purchase an additional 2 GB for $25 on the 2 GB plan.
All models of the iPad 2 — Wi-Fi and 3G — will also be available at Apple retail stores and select Walmart, Best Buy, Sam’s Club and Target stores nationwide starting at 5:00 p.m. AT&T and Verizon stores will only carry GSM and CDMA iPads respectively. If you’re not inclined to hit up a retail outlet, but are still interested in the tablet, AT&T and Apple will begin selling the iPad 2 online at 1:00 a.m. Pacific Time (4:00 a.m. Eastern) on the 11th. There you have it, if you’re jones’ing to get yourself an iPad 2, start formulating your game plan. More →
While no formal announcement has been made, Verizon Wireless has updated its website to reflect the fact that it will begin selling Apple’s new iPad 2 on launch day, March 11th. Details surrounding the launch have not been clarified, but Verizon Wireless is expected to begin selling the highly anticipated iOS tablet at 5:00PM local time on launch day, in line with other retailers that will offer the iPad 2. Verizon will sell a 3G-enabled version of the tablet that is compatible with its EV-DO network, and pricing will start at $629 for the 16GB model. More →
Just a friendly reminder to all those looking to pick up an iPhone from Verizon Wireless: the device officially hits store shelves today. Those coveting a CDMA iPhone can hit up Apple Stores, Best Buys, Walmarts, and, of course, Verizon Wireless retail locations with credit card in hand. Good luck and happy hunting.
It appears as though Apple is really starting to loosen up the death grip (pun intended) its kept on the iPhone’s retail-distribution channels for the past three years. Yesterday, big box retailer Target announced that it would be carrying the Cupertino company’s iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS smartphones in 846 retail locations beginning on November 7th. “At Target we continue to offer our guests the best in electronics so we’re happy to add iPhone to our Target Mobile offerings,” said Mark Schindele, Target’s senior VP of merchandising. The press release went on to say that “most” Target stores will be carrying the iPhone by mid-2011. Hit the jump for the full press release.
Today, Sprint announced that it would expand its Common Cents Mobile offering to an additional 500 Walmart locations. As the press release explains, “Common Cents Mobile is the only pay-as-you-go service offering Round Down minutes, allowing budget-conscious consumers to pay for only what they use — or even less.” If you’re reading this article, this service is — in all likelihood — not aimed at you. “Smartphones come with bells and whistles like Web browsing and music — features that for many, are simply unnecessary and can be seen as a waste of time and money,” said Common Cents Mobile’s chief marketing officer. The service, which originally launched in May of this year, is now available in just under 1,250 Walmart stores across the country. More →
What is inside the mysterious displays that have been showing up at AT&T retail locations around the country? Well, we don’t know exactly… but we’ve been given a little more information that we thought we would share. According to one of our sources, inside the clandestine display is a small TV and rack where an unknown piece of hardware will sit. Today, managers began receiving metal display boxes with three-digit pad locks on them, the outside of the box reads: “Hero Fixture Launch Kit.” It also reads, “Top Secret: Store Manager Only.” All our source knows about the contents of the mysterious box (pictured above) is that, “it is something brand new that has never been released before.” What do you think it is? Perhaps a BlackBerry Torch 9800? Maybe something else? Drop your hypothesis in the comments.
Thanks to a VZW tipster, we’ve been informed that Verizon Wireless stores are receiving regular shipments of the new Motorola DROID X. More →