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53 Apple stores get a facelift and Apple goes big on AI

Apple retail stores getting a makeover

Appleviews – 02nd June 2023

That’s a lot of front

Apple is hard at work on plans to spark new life into its retail division.

They are looking to freshen up many of the existing European and U.S. locations whilst seeking to push still further into China & Asia. The plans are extensive with 15 stores coming to the Asia-Pacific region, four new stores in the U.S. and Canada, and five additional sites in Europe and the Middle East. And that is just the new store count.

They have their sights set on either relocating or refurbishing in Asia, Europe & North America. In total, there will be 53 stores that will form part of this development program.

Many laughed when Steve Jobs opened the first retail store in May 2001 – seems Apple has the last laugh now though.

Need a job?

Apple as we know, is one of the few tech companies not to have made mass layoffs post-COVID. Not only did they dodge that bullet, but they are now actively recruiting engineers.

The new roles are focused on scientists and engineers who are trained in the area of…artificial intelligence and in particular generative AI.

The role requires applicants to have specific knowledge of Machine Learning and an interest in Conversational and Generative AI. With the release of Apple’s Reality Pro headset only days away, the company is clearly looking to the future with the job description going on to say that;

“The engineer will be leveraging innovative models to build applications on top of Apple’s most advanced technologies while developing your expertise in Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR).”

The new role speaks for itself and Apple’s future plans.

The App Store means business

In another of Apple’s press releases this week, we had an insight into just how important the App Store is to them.

They announced the App Store ecosystem had facilitated $1.1 trillion in developer billings and sales in 2022, building on developers’ track records of strong, resilient growth – that is according to an independent study by economists from Analysis Group.

If you were to purely look at how much was spent in 2022 on buying apps or in-app purchases it seems tiny. Only around 9% of revenue comes from those sales but…that would still equate to $104 billion and with Apple taking their normal 15%-30% cut that would mean Apple’s rev share would be somewhere between $15 billion and $30 billion.

This all forms part of Apple’s Services revenue which in 2022 netted the company approaching $80 billion with the App Store accounting for about a quarter of that revenue.

Just classic

This past week has seen Apple Music Classical launch on Google’s Play Store – meaning classic music lovers on Android can now take advantage of the latest Apple Music feature.

Following their 2021 acquisition of Primephonic, Apple Music Classical finally launched in March with lossless quality audio but onlyfor iPhone.

The move to launch it for Android users this week is a little surprising in so far as that service has been brought to market before it’s made available for iPad or Mac. Apple has yet to announce when or indeedif it will ever come to those other devices in their ecosystem.

Easter egg hunt

This week, Apple posted the official event page for Monday’s developers conference and that means the search by many Apple fans is now in full swing looking for Easter eggs hidden within it.

In recent years they’ve had fun hiding AR clues on the page, but this year is a little different as they will be announcingand a mixed reality device.

Clicking on the banner this year will set the static logo morphing into various shapes and occasionally revealing the event date. You can spin the shifting Apple logo around and re-size it with your fingers and also view the AR experience or just look at the morphing Apple object on a grey background.

Playlist

The build-up to the event has not been restricted just to the event page though.

There is a WWDC23 Power Up playlist on Apple Music with 25 songs including tracks from Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran & the Jonas Brothers. Apple says the playlist was curated “with the biggest artists of the season.”

The playlist was revealed via a series of tweets which teased with strap lines such as a “new era begins” and a “count down to the big day.”

I said it yesterday – this event is going to be insanely busy.

Polestar leads the way

If you’re a Polestar owner the latest software update will enable you to watch YouTube while charging your car and also an updated version of Apple CarPlay.

The update means you’ll now be able to project Apple Maps to the car’s instrument cluster. This is the first time we’ve had an insight into the vision of Apple CarPlay that was announced at last year’s WWDC.

The P2.9 is Polestar’s 15th over-the-air update (OTA) which car manufacturers are relying on more and more. CarPlay will look quite radically different after the update with the phone projection system receiving ’extended functionality’according to Polestar.

At last year’s WWDC Apple presented plans to further integrate the in-car phone projection system with support for multiple displays. In reality, though the rollout has been slower than they’d hoped for with some car makers distancing themselves from CarPlay altogether and looking towards their own sub-based plans instead. Earlier this year, General Motors announced it would be cutting off access to CarPlay and Android Auto with its new lineup of EVs.

Long arm of the law

The controversial case of Apple’s tax affairs in Ireland.

The government has been accused of letting the tech company under-pay tax in the country to the tune of €13.1 billion as an incentive to make it an attractive location for them to work out of.

In a similar case in 2016, the EC ordered the Irish government to recover €14.3 billion in taxes again citing that Ireland gave the tech giant favourable tax terms.

If the ruling goes against Apple they will be forced to pay the multi-billion euro tax bill, along with €1 billion in interest.

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