Apple introduced a free Apple Store app that lets users purchase Apple products via their iPhone or iPod Touch, as well as make reservations for appointments or workshops at the nearest Apple Store. Apple has been expanding its number of retail channels over the past few years, particularly for the iPhone, which is now offered at Best Buy, RadioShack and Wal-Mart. AT&T's pre-ordering system for the iPhone 4 has been experiencing technical difficulties, including an outage, and a note on the Apple Website indicates the device will now ship by July 2.
Apple is introducing a free Apple Store app that lets
customers purchase Apple products via their iPhone or iPod Touch, adding yet
another sales channel for the company's heightened push into the mobile space.
The Apple Store app allows iPhone or iPod users to find the
nearest Apple retail store, make reservations for appointments or workshops, and
shop for products and accessories.
A few years ago, Apple sold its products through a more
limited set of channels, notably its ultra-chic retail stores. The company's
rising fortunes, however, have been mirrored by an expansion in the number of
outside retailers carrying its products; today, Best Buy, RadioShack and
Wal-Mart all plan on offering the iPhone 4 when the smartphone debuts on June
Apple's online store began accepting order reservations for
the iPhone 4 in the United States, France, Germany, Japan and the United
Kingdom on June 15. The device is available in either black or white, at a
retail cost of $199 for the 16GB version, and $299 for the 32GB version, with a
two-year contract through AT&T.
AT&T's pre-ordering system for the iPhone 4 experienced
technical difficulties on June 15, including
. A note on Apple's Website indicates that an iPhone 4 pre-ordered
now will ship by July 2, suggesting a particularly large volume of customers.
The new smartphone's features include a larger battery, slimmer body, a
proprietary A4 processor under the hood, and a front-facing camera for video
Wider retail availability with the iPhone could
allow Apple to better face a mounting challenge from the growing number of Google
. Meanwhile, Apple's other rival in the consumer-tech space,
Microsoft, has been testing branded retail stores of its own, even
going so far as to hire George Blankenship
, a former Gap executive who
helped launch Apple's retail arm back in 2001. However, Microsoft has opened
only a small handful of stores, seeming to trust more in the large number of
online and bricks-and-mortar retailers that carry its products.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs termed the iPhone 4 "the biggest leap
since the original iPhone" during a June 7 keynote address at the company's
2010 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco. "This is beyond
doubt one of the most precise, beautiful things we've ever done," he told the
audience of media and developers, according
to a live transcript of the event
. Jobs also noted that the iPad had sold
some 2 million units since its early April release.