Apple Stores will reportedly be changing how they market and sell the iPhone, in hopes that more phones will be sold through their own Apple Store retail locations. This according to comments Tim Cook was said to have made at Apple's annual retail leadership gathering. Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac:
The iPhone is Apple’s central “gateway product” to other devices like iPads and Macs, so it is critical that the Apple smartphone is sold via an Apple Store so new customers are immediately exposed to iPads, Macs and other devices on the showroom floor. Even though 80% of iPhones are not sold at Apple Stores, 50% of all serviced iPhones are troubleshooted, repaired, or replaced at Apple Store Genius Bars. Cook reportedly hinted that he would like those numbers to be more in line.
Incentives will be offered to customers who buy iPhones from Apple Stores, with Apple's 2013 Back to School promotions being the first part of the new push. Another element that was hinted at during the event was an iPhone trade-in program at Apple Stores. Details on the program are scarce at this time though it appears that it might allow customers to trade in their older phone for a refurbished version of a newer phone. The retail leaders are said to have left the event confident in this fall's product lineup.
It's likely that we'll see this new approach with the launch of new iPhone, iPad, and Mac models, widely expected for this fall. Apple's physical stores have often been credited as playing a major role in Apple's success over the last 12 years, in part because it let customers walk in and see the entire selection of products that Apple was offering. With increasing competition in mobile, the retail stores will continue to be critical differentiators, especially given that Apple can be in full control of the presentation of their products, something that isn't true in other retail locations.
Did you buy your iPhone at an Apple retail location? If not, why not, and is there any way Apple could convince you to buy your next one there?