Tomahawk, WI 11/11/2013 (BasicsMedia) – Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stores in various places are expected to enter what can be termed as “Special Hours” operations beginning next week. This will see some stores closing early or opening late from Nov. 17 – 18. The reason for the store operation changes for the limited number of days has not yet been explained by the company, but it is linked to preparation for the upcoming launches and holiday seasons.

The stores to enter “special hour” are in Canada, France, Hong Kong, China, Spain, Japan and Italy. In these places, interruption of normal operation hours is expected to begin Wednesday through the next weekend on different timings. Normally, stores open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., but with the changes, the stores will close early at 6 p.m. Apple stores have been advertising the early closing hours for the past days.

Apple has two upcoming launches this month and next month for Retina iPad mini and Mac Pro. The company prepares its employees ahead of time for these activities which usually fall on a Friday, going into a weekend. The Cupertino-based company is known to hold employees after the normal workings hours for strategy meetings and preparation talks. However, lately, there has been outrage from the employees over after–hour meetings. It therefore means that Apple could be transforming its internal affairs.

Foray into China

Currently, Apple’s stock is trading at around $512 a share and its market value now stand roughly at $461.11 billion. In the month of October, the company reported increased iPhones shipment to China which is quickly becoming the world’s largest smartphone market.

Following the successful foray into China’s smartphone market last month, Apple has gained significantly in market share to stand fifth position in the Asian nation. Samsung still leads Apple with 21% of the smartphone market share in China, while Apple holds 6%.

The launch of iPad Air and the increasing demand for iPhone 5S and its low-cost brother iPhone 5C is expected to see Apple improve its bottom line as revenue is set to increase. While the Cupertino-based company is known for setting the industry benchmarks with high-end communications devices, its earnings have been dwindling in the past quarters and this has impacted negatively on investor confidence.

The woes facing Apple can be trace to escalating competition in the tech market, especially with the entry of new smartphone makers sprouting from its former global markets. China has been one market that Apple has been unable to successfully crack, despite having had good market share for its devices there in the past years. Bulging operation costs are also seen to weigh heavily on the smartphone makers earnings.

Apple has opportunities and strength to become Apple again in the near term. This means that while its stock has not been attractive in the past quarter, the successful launch of its internet radio service iTunes Radio recently and the recent update of its tablet line are expected to be the new revenue frontiers.  In producing the newly released iPad Air which retails for about $499, it’s reported that to costs Apple around $200 to make, thus giving it a premium margin in sales.

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