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Big iPhone sale this week as Apple plans new stores

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A big iPhone sale this week in Apple stores nationwide is meant to boost flagging sales of iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c at Apple retail stores. This iPhone event comes on the heels of news that Apple is planning to open two more Apple stores in Manhattan, according to a May 6 report in c/net.

According to information supplied by 9to5Mac, Apple plans on emailing iPhone users who are eligible for upgrades (starting on Thursday, May 9) and inviting them to visit their local Apple Store to replace their old iPhone with a new iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c. By trading in their old iPhone users can take advantage of the higher buyback prices Apple began recently offering in Apple's iPhone trade-in program.

Beyond Apple's higher buyback prices for old iPhones in its trade-in program, it has not yet been announced if there are other sales incentives that would convince customers to get an iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c now rather than wait a few more months for the new iPhone 6. iPhone 6 will presumably be launched in September and apparently will come in a 4.7-inch version and a 5.5-inch version.

Nevertheless, Apple is planning for a flood of customer traffic—that rivals the launch of new products—for this iPhone sale. Apparently this sale is part of a strategy developed last summer to improve iPhone sales at Apple retail stores, which are declining as Apple expands iPhone distribution to include chains like Best Buy, Walmart and Target (where in many cases, the iPhone deals are very competitive). Similar declines in sales occurred when Apple allowed Best Buy and other resellers to distribute Mac computers and iPods.

Declining iPhone sales aside, Apple is reportedly preparing to open two new stores in Manhattan—part of the 35 to 40 Apple retail locations that Apple admits to opening each year. While Apple only acknowledges the place of a future Apple store about 10 days before the Apple store's actual opening ceremony, real estate websites, leaks and job openings reveal the iPhone maker's retail locations beforehand.

Apple is opening one store in the “Oculus," a two-level upscale shopping gallery in the heart of the shopping mall in the new World Trade Center towers, adjacent to other prominent brands like Michael Kors. The mall is scheduled to be completed in 2015. Like the iPhone maker's iconic Fifth Avenue store, the Apple store in the “Oculus” will be underground.

Apple is opening a second store in a limestone and marble 1921-era bank building in a prestigious location on Madison Avenue. Previously occupied by the luxury retailer VBH, the iPhone giant should complete renovations in time to open this store in 2015 too.

These two additional Apple stores bring the total number of Apple stores to seven in Manhattan: Soho, Fifth Avenue, Grand Central, Lincoln Center, Meat Packing District, World Trade Center and Madison Avenue. Besides sales of the iPhone and other products, Apple needs these retail stores to showcase its current products like the iPhone as well as to demonstrate future products.

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