“Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of retail, got a private demonstration of the fancy wireless speaker, the Phantom, and its sound quality seven weeks ago. On the spot, she said she wanted the space podlike device, which starts at $1,990, to be sold in Apple’s retail stores,” Katie Benner reports for The New York Times. “‘She moved incredibly fast, from our first meeting to figuring out how the Phantom would be displayed,’ Quentin Sannié, the co-founder of Devialet, the French audio company that makes the white and chrome speaker, said of Ms. Ahrendts.”

“This week, the Phantom will appear in 13 Apple stores in the United States, before becoming available in 200 more stores worldwide next year. The device will get the sort of prominent display treatment that is typically reserved in Apple stores for the company’s Beats audio accessories,” Benner reports.

Angela Ahrendts, Apple's Senior Vice President Retail and Online Stores

Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores

“The move is an indication of how Ms. Ahrendts, who started at Apple last year, is changing the playbook at some of the iPhone maker’s stores this holiday season and the direction she’s going in: ultraluxe.”

“In a public appearance last month at the Fast Company Innovation Festival, Ms. Ahrendts said she had been working toward Apple’s stores becoming “sleeker and smarter,” as well as unifying Apple’s in-store and online shopping experiences,” Benner reports. “Apple has traditionally sold the most expensive accessories online only, like the $2,700 B&O BeoPlay A9 MKII speaker. ‘I asked Tim a very simple question: Why do we do it this way?’ she said of her boss, Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive. Mr. Cook told her he didn’t know, she said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Increasing the luster of the already lustrous Apple brand has multiple benefits from helping to make Apple products even more aspirational (and, conversely, making competitors’ less desirable) to increasing foot traffic and boosting store revenue, already the highest per square foot – $5,775 – of any retailer in the world.

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