Apple Store App Updated With iOS 11 Enhancements and Support for iPhone Purchases Without Carrier Pre-Activation

Apple today updated its Apple Store app to version 4.4, introducing iOS 11 enhancements and a new scanner feature for quickly adding your credit card information at checkout.

According to the release notes, the app update also allows customers to bypass pre-authorization and activate later on full price purchases of iPhones, a purchasing option that has been available for the iPhone X on the Apple Store website since November.
What's New in Version 4.4
- iOS 11 enhancements
- Scanner now available to easily add your credit card information at checkout
- Customers now have the option to bypass pre-authorization and activate later on full price purchases of iPhones on AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint
The Apple Store app is Apple's iOS storefront, allowing customers to find and purchase a range of Apple products and accessories. It can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]


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Apple’s New Raleigh Store Opens This Weekend

Apple is opening a new store at the Crabtree Valley shopping mall in Raleigh, North Carolina this weekend, as part of its efforts to modernize its chain of nearly 500 retail locations around the world.

Apple's upcoming store at Crabtree Valley via Will Sigmon

The new store will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday, December 9, likely at 8:00 a.m. local time, according to Slice podcast co-host Will Sigmon.

Apple is moving into approximately 9,000 square feet of space, nearly double the size of its current store at Crabtree, which opened in June 2006. The new location will be next to Sephora on the second level.

The new store will feature Apple's latest retail design, which typically includes large glass doors, sequoia wood tables and shelves, a large video screen for Today at Apple sessions, and light boxes spanning the length of the ceiling.

All of Apple's stores opened since September 2015 have been based on the updated aesthetic. Apple has also renovated or relocated around 50 existing stores around the world as part of the modernization of its retail chain.

Apple has one other store in The Triangle at The Streets at Southpoint in Durham, along with two stores in Charlotte and one in Greensboro.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores

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Apple Stores to Host Free ‘Hour of Code’ Sessions in Early December

Apple today announced it has opened registration for free all-ages "Hour of Code" sessions between December 4 and December 10 of this year at all of its nearly 500 retail stores around the world.


Apple also introduced a new Hour of Code challenge in the Swift Playgrounds app for iPad that invites students to build a digital robot, and added new teacher resources to the Everyone Can Code curriculum to help students learn Swift.
Apple's new Everyone Can Code curriculum includes a free Hour of Code guide featuring the new Swift Playgrounds challenge to make it easy to get started teaching code in schools, community centers and after-school programs. Schools can easily host their own one-hour Hour of Code event anytime simply by downloading the Swift Playgrounds app and Hour of Code guide.
Apple has offered Hour of Code sessions for five consecutive years in celebration of Computer Science Education Week.

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Apple Retail Stores Offering iPad Pro ‘Sketch Walks’ in Celebration of Urban Sketchers 10th Anniversary

Apple is offering a series of "sketch walks" hosted by well-known artists to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Urban Sketchers, a global community of artists that are dedicated to on-location drawing.

Many artists who are members of Urban Sketchers have adopted the iPad Pro as a drawing tool of choice, including Uma Kelkar from San Francisco, Rob Sketcherman from Hong Kong, Don Low from Singapore, and Omar Jamarillo from Berlin, all of whom will be teaching the sketching classes.

A member of Urban Sketchers for over four years, Rob has been creating artwork exclusively on iPad for just as long, and began drawing on iPad Pro in 2015 when it was introduced.

Rob says, "the flexibility [iPad Pro] offers fuels experimentation with line, texture and look, allowing any number of iterations. It's also very forgiving, expelling all fear of the dreaded blank page and of potentially 'ruining sketchbooks' in case an experiment goes awry."
All of the 10th anniversary sketch walks hosted by Urban Sketchers artists will take place on Thursday, November 30 at Apple retail locations around the world. Don Low will teach in Singapore, Rob Sketcherman will teach in Hong Kong, Uma Kelkar will teach in San Francisco, and Omar Jaramillo will teach in Berlin.

Celebrate the 10th anniversary of Urban Sketchers with artist Uma Kelkar, and explore how to free yourself from the notion of art as an exact science. She'll demo her free-flowing process, which sets aside space, proportion, and even gravity to tell a complex story in unexpected ways. And you'll practice sketching overlapping vignettes to tell your own unique story with iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.
Each class requires customers to bring an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil, along with comfortable shoes. Walks range from 0.5km to 2km.

Apple also offers several other classes dedicated to drawing and sketching on Apple devices, all of which are part of its "Today" program. The Today program allows Apple retail stores to offer classes on a wide range of subjects, providing help and instruction for customers of all skill levels.

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Apple’s All-New Downtown Brooklyn Store Opens Next Weekend

Apple today announced that it is opening an all-new retail store in Downtown Brooklyn next weekend following several months of construction.

300 Ashland

The store is located in the new 300 Ashland building in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, with an official address of 123 Flatbush Avenue. The grand opening will occur Saturday, December 2 at 10:00 a.m. local time.

The store will be Apple's second in Brooklyn alongside its Williamsburg location opened in July 2016. It will also be Apple's 11th store in New York City, with seven locations in Manhattan, one in Queens, and one on Staten Island.

The store is situated near the LIRR's Atlantic Terminal and Barclays Center, home to the NBA's Brooklyn Nets and the NHL's New York Islanders.

Apple has also announced that its store in the Shibuya neighborhood of Tokyo has temporarily closed for renovations. Apple recommends customers visit its nearby Omotesando store during the modernization process.

In related news, Japanese blog Mac Otakara claims that Apple is planning to open a store in Kyoto, Japan by 2019, and possibly two other stores in Tokyo in time for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in the city.

Apple Downtown Brooklyn is the company's 499th retail store location around the world if the new Visitors Center at Apple Park is included.

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First Australian Apple Store Gets Modern Redesign as Thieves Rob Apple Regent Street in UK

Apple recently announced that its retail location within the Chadstone Shopping Center in Melbourne, Australia will be getting a grand reopening on November 24 at 9:00 a.m. local time. The newly relocated Apple Chadstone location will be triple the size of the previous store, and mark the first Australian store to gain Apple's modern retail layout.

Apple Chadstone first opened nearly ten years ago in 2008 with 69 employees, and will now grow to more than 240 with the grand reopening (via Herald Sun).

Image via Herald Sun

Apple Chadstone will now feature a Genius Grove, a "boulevard" of window product displays, a boardroom for business meetings with local entrepreneurs and developers, a meeting place for "Today at Apple," and more. According to Apple senior vice president of retail, Angela Ahrendts, Apple Chadstone will lead the way for the rest of Australia's Apple retail locations.
“We’re thrilled to open Apple Chadstone in a stunning new location and introduce Australians to our latest store design,” she said. “We look forward to continuing to build on our 22 stores in Australia.”
In other retail news, Apple Regent Street was robbed today by ten individuals who stole "thousands of pounds worth of laptops and iPads" (via Evening Standard). To get into the store, the robbers drove mopeds through the glass storefront in the early morning hours of Monday, and then in less than three minutes managed to take various products from display stands before escaping on more mopeds waiting outside.

In total, police said the thieves stole iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and two iPhone Xs, which have since been recovered near Kings Cross. Apple Regent Street is said to be "open as usual" in the wake of the attack, which apparently follows an "epidemic" of moped-related attacks and thefts hitting London recently.
Ten thugs on five mopeds launched a mass raid on the Apple store in Regent Street early today snatching thousands of pounds worth of laptops and iPads.

One customer Hajra Ali, 37, from Ilford, said: “Moped attacks have got really, really bad and I’m not surprised this happened. I don’t know what the Met is doing about it.
For more on the latest Apple retail openings and redesigns, check out or Apple Store Roundup.

(Thanks, SlippedAtom54!)

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Apple Stores in Burlingame, CA and Burlington, MA Reopen Next Weekend Following Renovations

Apple today announced that its retail stores in Burlingame, California, near San Mateo, and Burlington, Massachusetts, near Boston, will celebrate grand reopenings on Saturday, November 18 at 10:00 a.m. local time.

A render of Apple's new store in Burlingame, California via Storeteller

Both locations have been closed for several months while undergoing renovations, as part of Apple's efforts to modernize its retail stores around the world. The updated aesthetic typically includes large glass doors, sequoia wood tables and shelves, and a large video screen for Today at Apple programming.

Apple Burlingame originally opened in July 2003, while Apple Burlington has been serving customers since November 2005. Apple now operates over 250 retail stores across the United States, and nearly 500 worldwide.

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Apple Opening New Store at Domain Northside in Austin This Weekend

Apple today announced it will be opening a new store at Domain Northside in Austin, Texas on Saturday, November 11 at 10:00 a.m. local time.

Apple's current store at The Domain shopping center in Austin, Texas

Apple's nearby store at The Domain should permanently close after business hours on Friday, over 10 years after it originally opened in March 2007. Most employees will presumably transition to the new store.

Domain Northside is a new shopping and dining district of The Domain, an upscale outdoor shopping center in northern Austin. The first of more than 70 stores and restaurants at Domain Northside opened in 2016.


The new store will feature Apple's latest retail design, which typically includes large glass doors, sequoia wood tables and shelves, a large video screen for Today at Apple sessions, and light boxes spanning the length of the ceiling.

All of Apple's stores opened since September 2015 have been based on the updated aesthetic. Apple has also renovated or relocated nearly 50 existing stores around the world as part of the modernization of its retail chain.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores

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New York City Subway Entrance Turned Into Fake Apple Store With Line for iPhone X

Improv Everywhere recently turned a New York City subway station entrance into a fake Apple Store, complete with both fake employees and customers lined up for the iPhone X. It shared the entire act on YouTube today.

Photo: Arin Sang-urai via Improv Everyhwere

The improv group started by affixing a large Apple logo to a glass elevator at the corner of East 23rd Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan, which actually leads down to trains on the Lexington Avenue Line.

Next, they had 50 fake customers line up along the sidewalk. Fake employees, wearing blue shirts with Apple logos, stood near the entrance to the elevator and cheered as people went down to the trains.


The whole scene attracted the attention of many onlookers, who were told a new Apple Store was opening in the subway station since Apple's iconic glass cube store on nearby Fifth Avenue is (actually) undergoing renovations.

The fake employees even tried to convince people to line up for the iPhone X. To make the act look more convincing, some of the fake customers came out of the elevator holding white bags while acting excited.

Photo: Arin Sang-urai via Improv Everyhwere

Many people that walked by were genuinely confused by what they were seeing, with some individuals stopping for interviews with fake camera crews. A few passersby may have even joined the queue for the iPhone X.

The improv act looks to have occurred a few weeks ago, based on a Reddit discussion full of confused New Yorkers.

"Anyone know what Apple event is going on at the 23rd street 6 train stop in NYC?" one user wrote. "Walked by and there was a long line for the subway elevator, and Apple employees lined up welcoming people into it one at a time."

"Just spoke to one of the employees, looks like they're doing a silent iPhone X release to advertise the new store," another user replied.

In actuality, of course, the iPhone X doesn't launch until this Friday. Many actual customers are already starting to line up at stores around the world for a chance to purchase the device on a first come, first served basis.

Related Roundups: Apple Stores, iPhone X
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

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Apple Adds New 12-inch MacBook Leather Sleeve to Online Accessory Store

During today's global Apple Store downtime in preparation for iPhone X pre-orders, Apple quietly added a new Leather Sleeve for the 12-inch MacBook to its Mac Accessories store section.


Costing $149, the leather sleeve with soft microfiber lining is available in Saddle Brown and Midnight Blue colors. The case can also be twinned with Apple's iPhone X Leather Case ($49), also available in Saddle Brown and Midnight Blue.

The Leather Sleeve for 12-inch MacBook currently ships in 1 business day at the time of writing.


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