updated 01:00 pm EDT, Mon October 24, 2011
Plans operating under 'Sherwood' codename
Apple is working to allow retail pickup of online orders, according to separate claims by MacRumors and CNET's Brian Tong. The former describes Apple's efforts as a pilot program codenamed "Sherwood," in which any product on the online store will be eligible for retail pickup. This includes everything from custom-configured Macs through to third-party accessories, and goods with special engravings or gift wrapping.
The Sherwood system will allegedly let people choose a store for pickup during the ordering process, and often get standard configurations and accessories on the same day. Other items could take several days. To claim an order, shoppers will reportedly need proof of purchase and a photo ID; one advantage, though, is that people should be able to designate one other person as eligible for pickup, saving trouble in the case of busy schedules.
As an extension of the Sherwood, Apple Stores are also expected to begin taking returns of online orders, saving Apple and customers some hassle with return shipments. Both Tong and MacRumors say, though, that retail pickups will be limited to "select" stores, at least initially.