Apple Looking to Take Next Step in Retail BoutiquesBack in July we broke a story, Apple to Take a Stab at Retail with Apple Boutiques, which carefully detailed Apple's distribution layout and how they intended to slowly transform to a more direct sales model, which would include the launch of Apple branded Retail Stores (or Boutiques). Since then we've mentioned very little on the subject, but this is by no means because the rumor turned out to be bogus or what not. In fact, we at AppleInsider have a very strong belief that this is one of those rumors that has yet to come to pass due to the extensive planning that must go into such a venture.
Furthermore, our initial report was published at an earlier date than we would have liked, due to heat from other publications picking up on the story purely based on whispers from AppleInsider's own investigation into the matter. Nevertheless, the mainstream is now just starting to explode with rumors pertaining to a more direct sales strategy from Apple. During this time AppleInsider has also obtained some information that supports our own rumors on the subject.
As you may recall, our original report stated that initially Apple was planning five to ten of these Apple Boutiques to be spread out through major cities such as Orange, California; Atlanta, Georgia; San Jose, California; Austin, Texas; and possibly Boston, Massachusetts. Now in the Fall it finally appears as if Apple is taking the next step towards implementing these retail locations.
According to sources who will remain anonymous, the owners of the Gateway Shopping Center (this has nothing to do with Gateway Computers) in Austin, Texas and Apple have recently engaged in talks about Apple obtaining some retail space within the mall. This report fits nicely with our background information on the rumor, as Austin was said to be one of the first major cities to contain these Apple branded retail outlets.
It's been said that Apple is also seeking locations in the other major cities as we speak. The whole Apple retail project is on a sliding timeline —that is nothing has been set in stone yet —though if these negotiations progress at a timely pace, it seems as if Apple will have something to tell us about come Macworld San Francisco in January.
Follow-up stories will follow sometime in the future. For those who do not completely understand the whole Apple Boutique Strategy, we suggest that you check out our initial report on the subject.