By Jim Karpen updated on 08/29/2013
According to an interesting post on 9To5Mac, only 20 percent of iOS users are even aware of the free Apple Store app. Apple wants to change that and will be releasing a new version next Tuesday that will include temporary free downloads as a way to get more people to use the app. Apparently the offerings will include apps, music, and books. This will encourage users to buy more content from Apple and also bring more attention to the Apple Store app itself. And according to 9To5Mac, Apple hopes this will help achieve its recently stated goal of selling more iPhones through its Apple Stores. Currently, 20 percent of all iPhones sold are purchased from Apple Stores, and according to rumor, CEO Tim Cook wants to raise that figure to 50 percent. He views the iPhone as a gateway product—a way of introducing new customers to Apple's full line of products. If people purchase their phone at an Apple Store, they get more exposure to Apple's iPads, iMacs, MacBook Airs, etc.
Apple is so eager for customers to use the Apple Store app that, according to 9To5Mac, Apple Store employees will be encouraged to install the app on new devices customers purchase.
Whatever. I like free things, so I'll be checking out the new version of the Apple Store app next week. So far, it's only available for the iPhone, and there's no iPad-specific version. Hopefully next week they'll release a universal app.
You can use the Apple Store app in its current version to: find an Apple Store near you, buy Apple hardware and accessories, purchase stuff online and pick it up at your local Apple Store, make a Genius Bar reservation to repair or get help with your device, track your orders, and request help. Perhaps the coolest feature is EasyPay, which lets you buy an accessory in an Apple Store and check yourself out by using your device to scan the bar code, and then use your iTunes Store account to pay for it.
The Apple Store app also recently received push notifications so you can be alerted when you become eligible for upgrade pricing on a new iPhone.
Apple Stores have been an amazing success story, generating more income per square foot than any other retailer in the world. And like everything else Apple does, the whole philosophy behind the design and implementation was to focus on customer experience. Steve Jobs simply wanted people to feel good about being in the store. And everything is oriented toward that. The sales clerks never seem pushy; they're friendly and act like they just want you to have a good time while in the store. You can stand and use a demo machine as long as you want — and plenty of people do. There are always many demo machines available. And the stores are often full of people. The Genius Bar staff is knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful. Apple does things right.