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Apple will open about 100 more stores in the U.S. this week, with focus on curbside service – CNBC

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Apple plans to open approximately 100 stores in the United States this week, a company representative told CNBC.

In total, about 130 out of 271 Apple Stores in the United States will be open by the end of the week. Apple operates 510 stores around the world. 

Apple‘s retail openings are being closely watched as both a key demand driver for Apple as well as a leading indicator for the health of the retail industry, where Apple’s locations often anchor important malls or shopping districts.

The stores in the United States that have re-opened so far have focused on Apple’s Genius Bar, which enables customers to get service and support for broken iPhones and other Apple products. Some stores re-opening this week will be available for walk-in customers. 

“This week we’ll return to serving customers in many US locations,” an Apple representative said in a statement. “For customer safety and convenience, most stores will offer curbside or storefront service only, where we provide online order pick-up and Genius Bar appointments.”

Apple’s head of retail Deidre O’Brien wrote an open letter earlier this month outlining the company’s retail re-opening strategy. In March, Apple closed its retail stores outside of China in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Curbside service at an Apple Store.

Apple

“In every store, we’re focused on limiting occupancy and giving everybody lots of room, and renewing our focus on one‑on‑one, personalized service at the Genius Bar and throughout the store,” O’Brien said in the letter. She also wrote that face masks will be provided to customers at the door, that staff will perform regular “enhanced deep cleanings,” and that the company will screen employees for symptoms of coronavirus. 

This week Apple will re-open stores in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. 

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Tom Hanks WWII Movie 'Greyhound' Debuts on Apple TV+ – MacRumors

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Apple TV+ today debuted “Greyhound,” the highly anticipated Second World War movie starring Tom Hanks as a naval officer given command of Navy destroyer Greyhound in the Battle of the Atlantic.

“Greyhound” features Hanks as George Krause, who must fight his own self doubts and personal demons as he leads a convoy of Allied ships against German U-boats to prove that he belongs in command.

The screenplay for the movie was written by Hanks and the film was meant to be released in theaters, but could not premiere because most theaters across the United States remain closed. Apple ultimately paid $70 million for the film to premiere on ‌‌Apple TV‌‌+.

Alongside “Greyhound,” the first four episodes of “Little Voice” also debuted on Apple’s streaming service today. The show is a coming of age drama created by J.J. Abrams, Sara Bareilles, and Jessie Nelson, and uses original music by Bareilles. Apple also debuted short-form sports docuseries “Greatness Code” on Friday.

‌Apple TV‌‌+ can be accessed through the TV app on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, ‌‌Apple TV‌‌, Mac, select Samsung and LG smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices, as well as online at tv.apple.com. A list of all of the TV shows and movies on the service can be found in our guide.

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Sony invests $250m in Fortnite maker Epic – Eurogamer.net

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Sony has invested $250m in Epic.

The “strategic” investment gives Sony a minority interest in the Fortnite maker.

“The investment cements an already close relationship between the two companies and reinforces the shared mission to advance the state of the art in technology, entertainment, and socially-connected online services,” Sony said.

“The investment allows Sony and Epic to aim to broaden their collaboration across Sony’s leading portfolio of entertainment assets and technology, and Epic’s social entertainment platform and digital ecosystem to create unique experiences for consumers and creators.”

According to Sony boss Kenichiro Yoshida, the investment allows the Japanese company to “explore opportunities for further collaboration with Epic to delight and bring value to consumers and the industry at large, not only in games, but also across the rapidly evolving digital entertainment landscape”.

To put the investment in context, senior analyst at Niko Partners, Daniel Ahmad said Sony’s $250m nabs it a 1.4 per cent minority stake in Epic, which values the company at $17.86bn. Chinese tech giant Tencent has a 40 per cent stake after a $330m investment made in June 2012. Epic boss Tim Sweeney remains the majority stakeholder.

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Epic and Sony already established a close relationship with the unveiling of Unreal Engine 5 running on a PlayStation 5. Sony also gets exclusive Fortnite skins, available only to PlayStation Plus subscribers.

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Writing on Twitter, Epic boss Sweeney said “serious investment discussions” followed from the PS5 Unreal Engine 5 demo. “I guess they liked it!” he added.

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According to VentureBeat, Epic has confirmed it will still be able to publish to other non-Sony platforms, so don’t expect Fortnite to go PS5 exclusive any time soon.

As for Sony, it’s spent big on video games in recent years with the PS5 on the horizon. In August 2019 it splashed out $229m for Spider-Man PS4 developer Insomniac Games, and is reportedly sniffing around Digital Extremes (Warframe) and Splash Damage (Brink, Gears Tactics) owner Leyou Technologies.

But this Epic deal is clearly about more than just video games. Fortnite is now an enormous platform in which music artists perform and current affairs debates are held alongside players shooting each other to bits. Fortnite recently held a virtual Travis Scott concert and an incredible 27 million people tuned in. Given Sony’s stakes in the music and film industries, you can see why it would want a piece of the pie.

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Images of Samsung’s bean-shaped earbuds leak again, including its charging case – The Verge

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Samsung’s upcoming bean-shaped earbuds have leaked again in a series of new images that also include its charging case for the first time. The images were initially leaked by Evan Blass, before being republished by 9to5Google. As well as giving us our best look yet at the earbuds’ charging case and bronze color scheme, Blass also suggests that the earbuds will be called the Galaxy Buds Live, rather than the “Galaxy Beans.

Although these are set to be Samsung’s second pair of true wireless earbuds this year, they’re a significant departure from the Galaxy Buds Plus. What’s notable about the design of the Galaxy Buds Live is that they don’t appear to have a silicon ear tip that sits in your ear canal while you wear them. Instead, there’s just a bean-shaped earbud that you wear in the outer part of your ear.

The charging case, which wasn’t included in a previous leak from WinFuture, is similar to what we’ve seen with other true wireless headphones. There’s no recessed section for the non-existent ear-tips to slot into, but otherwise we can see a typical set of charging pins.

A final note is that the images appear to show that the earbuds have a pair of microphones on the outside, as well as what 9to5Google calls a “vent-like speaker.” These microphones are likely to be used for taking calls, and may also play a part in the active-noise cancellation that Gizmodo UK has reported that these earbuds will support.

Alongside these images of Samsung’s upcoming true wireless earbuds, Blass has also posted new images of the Galaxy Tab S7. The images, which were later republished by SamMobile, show a tablet with a similar design to the Galaxy Tab S6. It will reportedly be powered by a Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset, and will have an in-display fingerprint sensor.

We shouldn’t have long to wait to find out if these rumors are accurate. The earbuds and tablet are expected to be unveiled in August, where they’ll likely appear alongside the Galaxy Note 20.

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