UK Apple Store Already Anticipating iPhone 15 Launch in 2023
At least one Apple Store in the UK is anticipating an unusually high volume of footfall in the fall and holiday period of next year, a time frame that is expected to include the launch of the iPhone 15 lineup.
Employees at Apple Milton Keynes have been told that they may not take any leave between September 15, 2023 and October 7, 2023, and December 2, 2023 and the start of January 2024. Requests for time off during this "embargo" period will not be authorized by store managers. While increased footfall in retail stores is always expected in the fall around the launch of new Apple devices, especially new iPhone models, and during the holiday period, the latest instruction appears to be an distinct change of protocol in the region.
Apple usually forbids time off immediately before the launch of new devices and the holiday period, and this is often communicated directly to employees at short notice via an internal Apple communications app. The latest change, forbidding time off around a year in advance, has been communicated more covertly via a memo issued on a local basis.
Store managers claim that the instruction comes from "above the store" level, but retail employees are not sure of exactly where the order originates from in Apple's corporate hierarchy. The change has been presented to employees as one made "to make sure we are better equipped for next year" during "high velocity moments."
It is not clear how widespread the new instruction is, but the dates have clearly been selected discriminately, likely in anticipation of new Apple devices launching in the second half of next year and heightened footfall in the holiday period.
It is is highly improbable that there are any firm dates for the launch of the iPhone 15 lineup yet, with the devices themselves still likely needing to undergo production validation tests before a mass production timetable can be confirmed. Nevertheless, it is of note that Apple retail is already blocking out dates that likely relate to the launch of new devices late next year this far ahead of time.