And here we are again for another spin on the news of new Coronavirus (COVID-19) – but with a special focus on Apple stores. Come on?
More than half of stores have reopened
To begin with, an important brand for the company: according to a survey of the 9to5Mac, more than half of the company’s stores have reopened around the world. More precisely, 256 Apple Stores are already reopened – 50.19% of the company’s 510 retail spaces around the planet.
Obviously, the reopening does not mean that all stores are fully functioning: some of them, respecting local reopening guidelines, set up counters at the door to serve customers without entry into the spaces. Others already admit consumers inside the premises, but with capacity limits, temperature checks and the obligation to use masks.
At the moment, ten countries and territories have all of their Apple stores reopened: Germany, Australia, Austria, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macao, Switzerland, Taiwan and Thailand. Another five have partial reopenings: Canada, United States, Italy, Japan and Sweden.
THE Brazil, in turn, is on the list of countries with no store reopened yet – here, Apple Morumbi and Apple VillageMall remain closed, with no plans to reopen. Belgium, United Arab Emirates, Spain, France, Mexico, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Singapore and Turkey other countries still have a zero reopening index.
It is worth noting that the process is subject to a number of factors: Apple itself said that if the situation worsens in any place where its stores have already reopened, it will not hesitate to close them again until it is safe. In other words, following the reopening of Apple Stores is, in a way, following the progress of the fight against Coronavirus in the world – we hope, therefore, that the news will be good in the near future.
New Apple Sydney
One of the reopening of the Apple, in turn, needs to be highlighted: as we spoke here recently, the Apple Sydney opened its doors again after months of renovations.
Readers of 9to5Mac who were at the reopening shared some photos of the store – which, as expected, now brings all the elements of Apple’s new retail experience, like the big screen Today at Apple, at Avenues of products embedded in the walls, the stone floor and diffused lighting, with fiberglass installations on the ceiling. Check it out:
Apple Card extends payments
Meanwhile, in other news related to Coronavirus, Apple and the bank Goldman Sachs once again extended the Customer Assistance Program, which allows customers to postpone payment for their card bill.
This is the fourth month in a row that Apple has activated the program, designed to help Apple Card customers who have had their finances compromised by the pandemic. When requesting assistance, the user will be able to postpone the payment of his invoice for a few weeks or months, without charging fees or fines that would normally be applied in situations of this type.
Apple Card owners who want to obtain assistance need to manually apply for it each month by sending a message to the card support via the Wallet app. Obviously, all this is only valid for US residents – since the Apple Card, so far, is only available there.
On a related note, Apple’s credit card recently came to support the export of transactions in two new formats: Quicken (QFX) and QuickBooks (QBO). This allows Apple Card customers to import their card spending into Intuit applications, which are widely used to control spending.
Italy launches app integrated with API
Finally, the Italy became one of the first countries to launch an official Coronavirus tracking application integrated with the API developed by Apple and Google: Immuni.
The application, developed by the Extraordinary Commission to Combat COVID-19 in partnership with the Italian Ministry of Health, follows all the API guidelines of the technological giants. In other words, it does not capture users’ geolocation data, recording only contact events with possible infected people via Bluetooth; the data is saved only on the citizens’ device, and can be sent to the authorities in the event of a record of possible infection.
Immuni brings a friendly and highly explanatory interface, so that everyone understands how it works even if they are not familiar with the technology. The Italian government notes that the use of the app is voluntary, but is encouraging the population to download it – since, the higher the user rate, the more effective the screening of the disease will be.
Switzerland had already launched a trial version of a similar app for its citizens, but it is still in beta, closed to a portion of the population. Italy, therefore, showed service in that game. Congratulazioni!
via iPhone in Canada, MacRumors, 9to5Mac