updated 05:40 pm EDT, Wed April 18, 2012
Apple may backup repair units' data on site
A new rumor Wednesday had Apple finding a unique way to safeguard the data of iOS device users visiting the Genius Bar for a replacement. Apple's retail store labs were purported by 9to5 to be testing Wi-Fi nodes that would clone an iCloud backup on to a local server. Once the replacement was done, a Genius technician would simply pull the local iCloud backup, getting it much faster than they would if they had to go to the Internet first.
The strategy would help those who haven't used iCloud by backing up the content on the device as long as the device itself remains accessible.
Apple would still be in the "very early stages" of testing the project and might not deploy it in the field until mid-2013. As a lab project, it might not reach the public, assuming the claim was true.
Having a local wireless backup destination would help catch those users who can't or forget to backup their devices before visiting the store, potentially saving them grief or having to completely re-sync iOS hardware after they get replacements.