updated 12:40 pm EDT, Wed May 18, 2011
Effort allegedly led by Jobs, Ive
The impending Apple Store 2.0 overhaul is a major project, reports suggest. The effort is said to be so important that it's being led by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, as well the company's main product designer, Jonathan Ive. Stores are, for example, allegedly getting new "Startup Sessions" areas, an extension of the Personal Setup concept.
New bars being installed are expected to be more interactive, one significant change being the replacement of old signage. Whereas Apple Stores currently post paper signs next to products, these will reportedly be swapped out with iPads. New displays are described as "huge," and improved sound systems are planned. The public is said to be getting access to a new Apple Store iOS app, which may arrive as soon as Sunday and include features like location awareness and the ability to ping an Apple specialist.
Some sources claim that Apple Stores are currently receiving stockpiles of iPad 2s and Smart Covers, intended not just for the public or displays but for use by Apple clerks. Training for the hardware and its first use may happen this weekend. In one instance, just under 40 iPads are said to have been supplied for an outlet with roughly 100 specialists. In theory this would allow everyone working on a given day to have an iPad, except perhaps during all-hands-on-deck events.
What exactly the iPads will be used for is unknown, though they could in some cases replace current iPod touch-based point-of-sale terminals. Apple is also said to be preparing a new iPad version of its in-house RetailMe app. The title supplies official info about products, as well as training videos. One source suggests that the gigabytes of training downloads may be related to RetailMe, although Apple is still said to be keeping workers in the dark. "We still don't have details as to what is going on this weekend," a person is quoted as explaining.