Apple has begun an interesting pilot project in which employees of the San Francisco store will be lent an iPad 2 to hold and kiss and love. The plan is to help employees become familiar with iOS 5, popular apps and the process of just getting around on the “magical” device by letting them take a loaner home with them for a week. At the moment the pilot is limited to only the San Francisco store, but if Apple likes the results then this program could migrate to other stores and possibly involve more devices (such as the much-discussed but still-unannounced iPhone 5).
My guess is that employees probably wouldn’t mind that one bit.
As reported by MacNN, Apple has tried this kind of thing before and was actually pretty damn generous.[quote]In 2007, Apple did something similar with its (then much smaller) retail workforce by providing all employees with their own iPhone, which they got to keep. Earlier this year, Verizon offered Apple Store employees a specially-discounted plan to entice them to upgrade or switch to the Verizon version of the iPhone.[/quote]
Apple is probably wise to do everything they can to get their iPad 2 out front and center in their retail stores. At the moment, there’s very little meaningful competition for the tablet, as competitors have failed to take even a modest bite out of the iPad’s critical popularity or its financial lead. Apple sold almost 10 million units in 2011’s second quarter alone, so it’s clearly smart for employees to know which end of an iPad is up.