Albert Einstein supposedly said ‘The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources’ and I’m sure the same goes for a lot of blogs. But today i decided to write about one of my sources. Why? Just because this is a tiny and cute little project that managed to grow a loyal following and has some interesting data to show.

yellow note How to find out about new Apple products before anyone elseThe service I’m talking about it called ‘Yet Another Apple Store Check’ and what is does, and does well, is check whether the Apple Store is down, or not. It does that every few minutes and for every Apple Store in the world. If a store is down YAASC.com (yes, that is their domain name) sends out a tweet (via @applestorecheck) and an email newsletter to all its followers. Usually when Apple introduces new products, or takes out old ones, they temporarily close down the Apple Store and display a note saying “We‘ll be back soon.” and “We are busy updating the store for you and will be back shortly.”.

I have been subscribing to their newsletter since they launched and that is how I’m often quicker with new Apple product news than some of the other blogs out there. I’m not the only one getting their updates though. Also listening in are people working at Nasa, BMW, IBM, Xerox and Apple itself(!). That last company seems weird at first unless you think about the fact that product launches are generally kept secret to everybody within the company except Steve Jobs and a handful of others. That means that approximately 49,390 employees have to rely on blogs and YAASC to find out about other product launches.

AppleStoreCheck How to find out about new Apple products before anyone else

The service started with a little script that only displayed an ‘online/offline’ check at MacEinsteiger.de, the mother company behind YAASC, and from there grew to a separate service that now checks different countries and even compares the ‘before’ and ‘after’ state of the Store so you even know what happened during the downtime and which products were released or removed.

There is no businessmodel behind the service and they rely on donations to keep the service up and running. Some of the data they have collected so far is interesting though and might even be valuable. One feature is the Product Life Cycle Guide which displays how long ago a products was refreshed, or added, to the Apple Store. Its life cycle is an important indicator for when new products tend to come out so well worth a check if you are thinking about buying that new MacBook Pro (Don’t, upgrade imminent!).

You can also see a current status of all world wide Apple Stores in one overview. Last time I checked all was well in Apple land: all Apple Stores were online.

Lastly you can see which countries are most eager to find out when the Apple store goes offline. Most subscribers are from the US, a lot from Germany (not surprising as that is where the service is based) and then the UK, The Netherlands and France. As you will see from the numbers there the service is still small and relatively unknown.

You can keep following this blog, the other Apple Blogs out there and Steve’s keynotes but subscribing to ‘Yet Another Apple Store Check‘ might just give you that edge over your friends and could make you the first one in your circle of friends to be able to Tweet “The Apple Store is down! new products?”

And maybe, one day, you will be able to Tweet about the Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard: