updated 12:05 pm EDT, Mon October 31, 2011
Checkout option would be limited to shelf items
Apple may be ready to unveil its overhauled Fifth Avenue cube on November 4th, sources for MacRumors claim. Work on replacing the original cube has been in progress since June, with special accommodations made to allow shoppers to continue entering the store below. The project is estimated to be costing Apple at least $6.6 million, and has seen an original 90 glass panels reduced to just 15.
Possibly coming as soon as November 3rd is an update to the Apple Store iOS app which will allow self-checkout at retail. Purchases will reportedly be billed to a person's iTunes Store account. To prevent shoppers from simply walking out of a store with goods, Apple is expected to use two measures: the first is emailed receipts, which clerks will be able to check. The other is limiting self-checkout to items on shelves, such as iPad and iPhone accessories. Apple keeps Macs, iPhones, iPods and iPads secured in stock until a person asks to buy one.
Apple is meanwhile said to have expanded its in-store pickup program to all 16 Bay Area stores, up from just three San Francisco outlets. Further expansion is expected soon. Another rumored project may soon allow visitors to the online store to send different items from a single order to multiple addresses. The change is expected to come in time for the holiday shopping season, mainly as a way of supporting buying gifts for several people at one time.