updated 09:30 am EDT, Wed May 18, 2011
Plans 'rarely so private'
The special preparations underway at Apple Stores this week appear to be global, a 9to5Mac source notes. "This Saturday (21st), all Australian (at least) retail stores will under go visual merchandising from 6pm - 6am (22nd)," the person writes. "A sheet will be raised to prevent any one seeing inside, and from 6am - 10am, all apple [sic] retail staff will participate in a compulsory meeting. Something big? VM is rarely so private, and is never followed by an all staff meeting."
The details are consistent with earlier accounts of plans in the US. Circulating rumors are meanwhile said to point to the phrase "Apple Store 2.0," which could suggest that the company is planning a major makeover to follow shortly after the retail chain's 10th anniversary on Thursday.
Unmentioned by the Australian source is word of new tables and payment technology being deployed. The company may be laying some groundwork for NFC payment support, which if it doesn't appear in the next iPhone should arrive in a 2012 model. Rival smartphone makers are known to be working on NFC support.