Apple’s New Retail Chief is a Watch Lady and More

By Jessica E. Lessin

I’ve uncovered a few timely nuggets about Apple lately, and I thought I would just spit them out and get you the information.

Apple’s New Retail Queen

Apple’s new retail chief Angela Ahrendts is a watch lady, say people who know her. I am certainly not implying that Apple, which is developing the iWatch, nabbed this high-profile executive because she loves watches or because one of her most recent additions to the Burberry line was a very high-end watch brand (both true).  I also hear she took particular interest in the watch retailing space in Burberry stores. Let’s just say her passion for watches is a coincidence. Or maybe just a plus. Needless to say the merchandising around the iWatch, whenever it arrives, will be remarkable.

How Low Can the iPhone 5C Go?

Apple CEO Tim Cook and other Apple executives have been hinting in conversations with analysts and investors that the company could discount the less-expensive iPhone 5C over time. Specifically, they have referred to some “behind the curtain” ways to do so before a new model comes out, according to people who have talked to the executives.

Why does this matter? Investors are particularly eager to see how Apple plays with pricing now that it has splintered the iPhone line. Remember when everyone was worried because the iPhone 5C wasn’t cheap enough take off in China? It is still far from affordable in developing countries, but clearly Apple isn’t afraid to drop the price and is signaling, in its own subtle way, that it may do so.

As an aside, I have been watching Walmart, Target and others slash the price of the iPhone 5C to as low as $49 with wireless contract in recent days. That’s $50 less than Apple sells the device for and an unusually steep discount for the unabashedly luxury Apple. I was wondering if that’s a bad sign for Apple, signaling weak demand. My strong hunch is that retailers are discounting themselves to drive store traffic. Pricing in Apple’s country-specific online stores is steady, according to Piper Jaffray. If Apple starts charging retailers less, we’ll probably see some pricing changes in the online stores.

An Apple spokeswoman didn’t get back to me for comment.