Apple leverages the iPad to launch Retail 2.0

With Apple Retail’s 10 year anniversary this week, it was widely expected that the company would use the date to roll out changes to its chain of 325 stores.

Turns out, Apple did just that, bringing loads of changes to the Apple stores, all based on its iconic iPad.

As the above photo shows, gone are the old clear acrylic placards showing product information. In their place, Apple is using iPads to share details about products.

These iPads not only give customers direct access to much more information, but let customers demo an iPad. This is quite sneaky, but also quietly brilliant. The customer can request a salesperson from the tablet as well.

And yes, iPads are being used to sell iPads. If Inception was too much to handle, this photo may break your brain:

According to 9 to 5 Mac, these iPads are running modified firmware, and carry disticnt model numbers. The  “Smart Sign” app can’t be exited from, as the home buttons have been disabled. If stolen, the iPads call home via Wi-Fi networks. They are attached to the tables using a unique flat ribbon cable which provides power and a security link to the device. Pricing and product information can be updated via the iPad’s network connection.

As someone who spent three years as an Apple Retail employee, I think these changes are great. It should help salespeople be more knowledgeable about Apple’s products. A lack of general knowledge on the sales floor made me mad on several occasions, especially once I was behind the Genius Bar. The new in-house iPad apps for employees should really help this problem from growing.

This should also help customers make better choices. By being able to more easily compare models, they are more likely to pick the right one for their needs.

The changes at Apple Retail are bigger than just adding iPads to the sales floor, though. Apple included this note to employees over the weekend, outlining what the company is getting at with these changes:

Photo Credit: MacStories and 9 to 5 Mac

Stephen Hackett, formerly a Lead Mac Genius at Apple, now spends his days running the IT department of a large non-profit in Memphis, TN. He writes about Apple, design and journalism at Like all twenty-somethings, you can find him… Full Bio