Genius Bars and Expanded Apple Lineup Coming to Best Buy Stores?
TUAW reports that it has heard from "an anonymous tipster" that Apple will be expanding its presence at Best Buy stores, adding more products and even going as far as to add Genius Bars in some locations.
An anonymous tipster who works at a Best Buy store let us know this morning that he was informed by his Apple rep that the Apple section of the computer department will be going through a transition sometime this Spring to allow more products to be displayed. At the same time, the stores will get a Genius Bar, up to this time a fixture only at Apple Stores.
While the accuracy of the claim is unknown at this time, such a development would seem to mark a significant change for Apple, which has relied heavily on its own retail stores for providing face-to-face support for its users. Beyond its own stores, support services for Apple's products are currently offered through a network of authorized service providers, but bringing full-fledged Genius Bars to Best Buy locations could extend the "Apple Store experience" on a small scale to areas currently unserved by Apple's retail stores.
Also unknown is how Best Buy's Genius Bars would be staffed. While Best Buy does support sales of Apple products with its own employees, Apple does employ a network of Apple Solutions Consultants at some Best Buy locations to provide expertise in Apple products. Consequently, it is unclear whether Best Buy Genius Bars would be staffed by Best Buy or Apple employees.
About two-thirds of Best Buy's approximately 1,000 U.S. locations currently feature dedicated "Apple Shop" sections for Apple products.