This week, Tim Cook has been rocking all over the world, Apple senior vice president of Retail Angela Ahrendts got a confirmed damehood, and Britain received free access to 4G LTE from one generous carrier.
Tim Cook the globetrotter
Where in the world is Tim Cook? You might think Cupertino, but the answer, this past week, has been Ireland and then the United Arab Emirates (UAE). His visit to the latter country, in particular, stirred up rumors concerning a potential Apple Retail Store in Dubai, as our recent article explained:
Cook first called in on a Virgin Megastore operating in the UAE, according to an article from tbreakmedia. He posed for photographs at both the Al Wahdi Mall in Abu Dhabi and the larger Dubai Mall in Dubai, and Cook was the subject of a couple of Twitter messages which indicated that his visit wasn't exactly anticipated. […]
Following on from this, however, we heard that Cook's visit extended beyond Apple resellers and saw the chief executive officer sit down with UAE Prime Minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (pictured above).
Of course, Cook could have merely been checking on Apple resellers and maintaining good connections with UAE big wigs, but the more skeptical Apple commentators out there think something could be going on behind the scenes. MacRumors claims to have got a reliable tip off concerning a potential Apple Retail Store in Abu Dhabi, and others have indicated that an Apple outlet could rather be Dubai-bound.
Besides Ireland and the UAE, Cook is also planning a visit to Turkey ahead of the country's first Apple Retail Store. The meeting is scheduled for later today, as our subsequent article noted:
the meeting has been confirmed through the president’s official calendar published on the Turkish government’s website. It’s set to take place at 11 a.m. local time on Feb. 4 (1 a.m. PST the same day) at Çankaya Presidential Compound in the capital city of Ankara.
Turkey finally got its own Apple Online Store last year, and this year, the country is set to receive its first Apple Retail Store.
Our article continued, however: “But perhaps the most important item in the agenda is the $4.5 billion initiative of the Turkish government that could lead to a landmark purchase of as many as 15 million iPads for Turkey’s public education system.” We'll keep you updated with further information as we receive it.
Tesco Mobile offers free 4G
Got an unlocked iPhone and living in Britain? Then Tesco Mobile should be a carrier you're seriously considering, since the supermarket-powered network has announced that it's offering 4G LTE access at no additional cost. The carrier recently removed a £2.50 ($4.12) surcharge from its 4G LTE price plans, meaning customers can pick up a 4G-ready SIM from as little as £7.50 ($12.36) per month. This plan, in case you're wondering, comes with 250 minutes, 5,000 texts, and 500MB of cellular data.
Tesco Mobile isn't the only carrier in Britain offering free 4G: already, 3 – which brought free roaming to subscribers last year – has announced that its 4G LTE cellular data network can be surfed at no additional cost.
Hopefully, this is going to pave the way for further changes to Britain's cellular market. If heavyweights like Everything Everywhere (EE), O2, and Vodafone follow suit, it'll be a better mobile experience for everyone.
EU retailers go Samsung-only
In a surprise move this week, Samsung announced that it's effectively bought out European smart device retailer Carphone Warehouse – at least partly, that is. Because a total of 60 Carphone Warehouse stores have confirmed that they'll soon be selling Samsung devices, and Samsung devices only, as part of a “preferred partner arrangement” between the two companies. The news means that here in Britain (and overseas), there could be no more queueing outside of your local Carphone Warehouse come iPhone launch day.
Samsung and Carphone Warehouse confirmed the news in a press release, which read:
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. today announced that it has signed a “preferred partner” agreement with Carphone Warehouse Group plc to operate over 60 Samsung stand-alone stores across Europe.
The agreement follows the successful opening in 2013 of three stand-alone stores in Spain, operated by Carphone Warehouse. The new stores will be rolled out in the next three months across seven European markets: UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and the Netherlands. The stores will have a premium look and feel and will sell Samsung mobile communications products across Samsung’s full range of mobiles, tablets, laptops and wearables.
Andrew Harrison, chief executive officer of Carphone Warehouse, added: “We are delighted to have been chosen as Samsung’s preferred European partner for their store roll-out. Our Connected World Services business will combine Carphone Warehouse’s retailing expertise and systems with one of the world’s biggest brands and will help us make even more lives better through connected technology.”
Though there are other channels for purchasing Apple's iOS devices overseas, in Britain at least, subsidized carrier handsets aren't available from Apple directly, leaving customers to visit a carrier store or retailer – like Carphone Warehouse – in order to avoid paying the full cost of an iPhone.
Less retailers stocking iPhones could be bad news for the Cupertino, Calif. company, especially considering the realistic possibility that even more Carphone Warehouse stores may could go Samsung-only in the future.
Finally, this week also saw Apple's incoming senior vice president of Retail – Angela Ahrendts – get confirmation of another impressive title: Dame of the British Empire (DBE). In the coming weeks, Ahrendts is expected to be awarded the DBE by a state official alongside Melinda Gates (wife of Bill and world renowned philanthropist) and Camila Batmanghelidjh (a London-based charity compaigner, who is to receive a CBE).
Of course, this means Apple will count not one, but two such awardees among their senior executive staff, given that the company’s senior vice president of Design, Jony Ive, received the accolade a couple of years back.
Ahrendts is expected to join Apple in the coming months, and once installed, she'll take control of both Apple Retail Stores and the Apple Online Store. “Her challenges will involve helping Apple Retail Stores recover lost sales, and unifying Apple’s retail shopping experience with its Apple Online Store,” we explained earlier in the week.
Seriously, with a knight and a dame now on board, who can possibly be expected to stop Apple?
That's all for this week's AppAdvice International. Check back with us next Tuesday at the same time (10 a.m. GMT) for another dose of Apple-related international news.
In the meantime, see: Can't Wait For A Mavericks Update? This Fix Could Help Your Mac's Mail App, You're Going To Love The New, Sweet And Tasty Update To Smurfs' Village, and NBC Sports Live Extra 3.0 Is All Set For Its Live Coverage Of The 2014 Winter Olympics.