Apple asks retail employees to help with online customer support

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Like everyone else, Apple retail employees are being asked to work online.
Apple retail employees are being asked to become online employees to make using Apple.com better for customers.
Photo: Apple

Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s retail boss, sent a video to retail employees this weekend asking them to sign up to help customers remotely. She also said they should expect store closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to continue “for some period of time.”

Separately, Apple told employees that it doesn’t expect to have everyone back in its corporate headquarters before the end of 2020.

Apple stores could open as soon as mid-April

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Closed in Tulsa.
Photo: Brad Gibson / Cult of Mac

Apple told its retail employees that it will likely start reopening Apple Stores sometime during the first half of April, according to memo sent to various store employees on Tuesday.

Apple shuttered 467 of its stores outside of China as a precaution as COVID-19 rapidly advanced around the world.

Apple Stores unlikely to reopen March 28; now closed ‘until further notice’

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Apple-Stores-closed
It's not yet clear when they will reopen.
Screenshot: Cult of Mac

Apple Stores outside of Greater China now look unlikely to reopen on March 28 after Apple on Tuesday updated its notices to read “closed until further notice.”

A banner displayed at the top of the company’s website makes it clear to visitors that its retail locations are out of action for now. Apple insists, however, that it remains “committed to providing exceptional service to our customers.”

Beijing Apple stores reopen with temperature scans and free masks

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coronavirus
Apple stores in China are taking coronavirus concerns very seriously.
Photo: Eunice Yoon/ CNBC

Apple retail stores in Beijing are taking customers’ temperatures and requiring them to wear surgical masks as the area tries to normalize amidst the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Five Apple stores in Beijing reopened their doors with limited hours today after being closed since last month. CNBC senior correspondent Eunice Yoon posted a video from one of the newly reopened stores and the inside is shockingly empty.

Take a look at the entrance process:

Quit or canned? Why is Angela Ahrendts leaving Apple? [Opinion]

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Ahrendts
Did Angela Ahrendts jump or was she pushed?
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

When Apple fires an executive, the company is rarely straightforward about the situation. Apple never puts out a press release stating plainly that the executive was canned. So Tuesday’s unexpected announcement that Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s head of retail, is leaving in April led many to suspect she was fired.

That’s because the announcement came as a surprise and seems rushed. She’s certainly not retiring or quitting to join another company. The press release phrase “new personal and professional pursuits” sounds like code for “canned.”

Apple Store creator tells how disagreeing with Steve Jobs perfected retail

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Ron Johnson when he was with Apple
Ron Johnson, with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs at the grand opening of an Apple Store.
Photo: Richard Agullar

Steve Jobs’ hands-on approach to just about every project at Apple is part of his legend.

Ron Johnson, Apple’s first head of retail, offers fascinating detail about Jobs and the work leading up to the first Apple Store during a recent episode of the Gimlet podcast Without Fail hosted by Andy Blumberg.

Jobs was demanding and described by many as often difficult to work with. But Johnson says working with Jobs was a “gift.”

Apple plans store in Downtown Los Angeles’ historic Tower Theater

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The Tower Theater will be the home of the first LA Apple Store in the Downtown district.
The 91-year-old Tower Theater will be the home of the first LA Apple Store in the Downtown district.
Photo: Steve Minor/Flickr

There are multiple Apple Stores in the Los Angeles Area, but not one in the Downtown district. That’s apparently just about to change.

The iPhone maker has plans to put an Apple Store in the historic Tower Theater on S. Broadway.

New Seattle Apple Store focuses on education rather than products

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Seattle Apple Store has a giant screen
A giant screen for Today at Apple classes is the focus of the Seattle Apple Store.
Photo: Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times

You can still buy MacBooks and iPads at new Apple Store in Seattle, but that’s not the main emphasis. Instead, this retail location is built around a giant screen that’s used for educational events.

Of course, these educational events are all product related, like how to take better pictures with an iPhone. Or run a small business with an iPad.