Apple opened its first retail stores on May 19, 2001 – one in Virginia and the other in California. In the Steve Jobs biography, author Walter Isaacson wrote how Jobs had wanted Apple to have its own stores so that their iMacs didn’t have to “sit on a shelf between a Dell and a Compaq while an uninformed clerk recited the specs of each”. Despite initial criticisms and comparisons to Gateway’s failed retail stores, Apple Stores not only continue to exist today, but are regarded as one of Apple’s greatest innovations - one that now contributes to more than 10% of Apple’s revenue.
“Unless we could find ways to get our message to customers at the store, we were screwed.”
I’ve previously written about the coverage of Apple’s entertainment services in international markets (including how they compare to Google, Microsoft and Amazon), so I was similarly intrigued by how Apple’s stores have expanded into countries outside the US. Whilst researching all this, I came across other questions such as whether Apple had a particular preference for when they opened new stores and how the expansion of their retail network would affect visitors and profits. What I have found isn’t particularly groundbreaking, but there are certainly some trends and fascinating tidbits that I’ve come across, all of which is detailed below the break.
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Tipped off by a reader, MacRumors has found that the legal disclaimers in iOS 5 contain new references to a number of third party companies that provide various mapping services. The disclaimers come under a new section called “Map Data” that is not present in previous disclaimers and is completely separate to the section which deals in the disclaimer which deals with licenses used by Google for its mapping service that is used by Apple in the Maps app.
Today’s discovery comes after a number of other revelations, together they form what seems to be the suggestion that Apple is looking (or potentially actively working on) its own mapping solution that could replace Google Maps on iOS. Some of those clues include its acquisition of mapping companies Placebase and Poly9 and its recruitment of employees with navigation software expertise. The location log debacle also revealed that Apple was “collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database”.
MacRumors had a look into all the companies newly listed in the legal disclaimer and gave a quick description of each of them (included below). Noting two companies in particular that suggest Apple may be developing its own maps service. Urban Mapping provides some extensive additional data such as a wide range of demographic information that can be layed on top of traditional data. Waze, however, is experienced in developing crowd-sourced traffic data – it also has a popular app in the App Store now which demonstrates a lot of their services.
- CoreLogic offers Parcel data which marks boundaries for of properties to provide positional accuracy in location-based solutions.
- Getchee provides location and market data on China, India and Southeast Asia.
- Increment P Corp provides location and traffic data for Japan.
- Localeze provides local business listings.
- MapData Sciences Pty Ltd. Inc provides mapping data for Australia and New Zealand.
- DMTI provides postal code data for Canada.
- TomTom offers global TeleAtlas mapping data which is also licensed by Google for their map solution.
- Urban Mapping provides in-depth neighborhood data such as crime, demographics, school performance, economic indicators and more.
- Waze offers real-time maps and traffic information based on crowd sourced data.
Whilst this doesn’t provide concrete proof of whether Apple is working on its own mapping service, we are fairly sure it (if it exists) will not be launching with iOS 5. This is likely related to the fact that Google recently renewed its agreement with Apple to provide Google Maps to iOS.
Jump the break to see some screenshots of the new legal disclaimer which features these new companies.
The iPad is a magical device and a new one is set to be announced tomorrow (hey, don’t miss our liveblog!), but that didn’t stop the Federal Aviation Administration from confirming that the current-gen tablet can now be officially used by pilots instead of paper charts while on duty. That’s right: after hundreds of hours of tests that put the iPad under “rapid decompression” and “electronic interference testing” with 55 pilots on 250 flights, Apple’s mythical slate got a thumbs-up from the FAA and can now go on board without being restricted in any way.
While electronic devices used instead of paper charts are nothing new to the FAA, the iPad and its relatively cheap price set it apart from the competition, allowing pilots to quickly open a dedicated app to receive live information and details about the flight. The device’s form factor and OS helped during the adoption as a replacement unit can easily be carried around and, apparently, the software developed by the FAA never crashed during testing. I’m pretty sure they didn’t use the buggy iOS 4.3 beta — although gestures for pilots would be awesome, in my opinion.
So there you have it. An iPad 2 may be announced tomorrow, but the iPad 1 is ready to fly. This time not just off the shelves. [via Engadget]