Unnamed sources told 9to5Mac that Apple held a secretive summit at San Francisco's Fort Mason for the company's global Retail Store Leaders. This meeting was supposedly led by Apple CEO Tim Cook and went on for approximately three hours to talk about changes to the way iPhones are sold and marketed. According to Cook, around 80 percent of all iPhones are not sold in Apple Stores, and that – it seems – is unacceptable.
Cook told Store Leaders that despite low iPhone sales in Apple Stores, 50 percent of all services iPhones are diagnosed, repaired or replaced at Apple Store Genius Bars. Cook wants to see the sales match the service: 50 percent iPhone sales and 50 percent service, and so on. In other words, customers are drawn to wireless carrier subsidies, and Apple needs to create incentives so that the financial transaction remains within Apple's walls.
According to sources, one of the first elements in this strategy has been the recent Back to School promotion which offers a $50 gift card to students purchasing an iPhone. Additional incentives for customers and stores selling iPhones will be revealed at Apple's quarterly meetings for retail stores on July 28.
The recent summit is reportedly in retaliation against carrier stores who are reportedly providing incentives to salespeople who sell devices that are not iPhones. Because it cannot work around this roadblock, Apple has no choice but to fight back in its own brick-and-mortar stores. It's a tug-of-war over the consumer dollar, and Apple is just now pulling on the other end.
Cook reportedly hinted to Store Leaders a possible trade-in program at Apple Stores, a "competitive" program that's expected to appear within the next few months. It may even encourage customers to upgrade a damaged older iPhone model to a refurbished iPhone 5. There's also talk of upcoming improvements to price-matching policies internationally.
Retail Store Leaders were also introduced to iOS 7. Cook talked about how critical the new operating system was to Apple, and even discussed ways to promote the new platform when it lands on iDevices later this fall. There was also apparently talk about upcoming devices, as one source said to expect "an army of new products this fall."
Apple is reportedly gearing up to finally launch its low-cost "lite" iPhone in a number of different colors this fall. Also expected to arrive is a new iPad, a new iPod Touch, an iOS gaming console and a next-generation Apple TV set-top box. We may even see the company's rumored iWatch too.