Weekend Retail Store Meetings Related to New iPad-Focused Staff Software? [Updated: Minor Store Makeovers]

There has been a considerable amount of back-and-forth regarding staff meetings and other activities reportedly scheduled for this weekend at Apple's retail stores, with some speculation suggesting that Apple could be readying a product launch or other activities related to the company's 10th anniversary of the opening of its first retail stores.

It is beginning to appear, however, that the events may be a revamp of on-floor sales procedures that could see the company equipping its sales staff with iPads for checkout and on-floor demonstration purposes. We had heard last month that the events were related to internal training rather than a special event or launch, but continued rumors have brought ongoing attention to the possibility of something more.

Yesterday, 9 to 5 Mac reported that it had received hints of the events being related to "Apple Store 2.0", suggesting that the changes would be bringing significant changes to the functioning of the company's retail stores.

Stocks of iPad 2s waiting for on-floor deployment at Apple retail store

AppleInsider now appears to be filling in the picture with a new report claiming that Apple retail stores have received shipments of dozens of iPads that appear to be destined for on-floor staff usage and are said to be set to be equipped with a new version of the company's "RetailMe" software to support the rollout.
People familiar with Apple's retail operations revealed that stores across the U.S. have been stocked with dozens of iPads that are being prepared for use by employees. Training and utilization of the hardware could begin as soon as this weekend.

In one location, nearly 40 iPads were supplied for a store with about 100 specialists. Based on those numbers, everyone working on any given day could be equipped with an iPad, perhaps in place of an iPod touch-based EasyPay terminal, which Apple stores switched to in 2009.
The new RetailMe software offering product information and training materials for sales staff is said to potentially be the subject of the "gigabytes" of training data previously claimed to be scheduled for download to Apple's stores on Saturday, although that theory has yet to be confirmed.

Update: 9 to 5 Mac has more on the retail revamp, claiming that Apple will be rolling out a number of enhancements to its stores including dedicated "Startup Sessions" areas for personal setup, iPad-based signage and information stations next to display machines, and new visual displays and sound systems. Finally, the company is said to be rolling out a revamped Apple Store application for iOS devices to assist customers with their in-store experience.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

114 months ago



A few changes I would suggest
1. Instruct employees how to shave and keep a neat appearance
2. Improve on the 30 to 45 minutes they are running late for appointments.
3. Block Facebook from store computers.



Asking a hipster to shave his beard is like knocking Thor's hammer out of his hand! How dare you!
Rating: 5 Votes
114 months ago



I agree 100%. I hate Apple stores, mostly because they are packed with people that have no intention of buying anything. I avoid them at all costs.


Are you suggesting that there is no correlation between the most profitable retail stores in the world, and the fact that they are always packed full of people "not buying anything"?

How else would you explain the fact that any other retailer on the planet would drop their shorts for such a "problem"?
Rating: 4 Votes
114 months ago
"Symmetrical Device Stacking. Just like the Apple mass internal training of 2010."

"You're right, no human being would stack iPads like this."
Rating: 4 Votes
114 months ago



A few changes I would suggest
1. Instruct employees how to shave and keep a neat appearance
2. Improve on the 30 to 45 minutes they are running late for appointments.
3. Block Facebook from store computers.


Pretty ironic, judging by your avatar image. Where's the freedom gone? Instruct? Block? That's a tea party?
Rating: 4 Votes
114 months ago
I wouldn't want to carry an iPad around all day. I know it's not that heavy, but much more cumbersome than the iPod.

Maybe they can carry it "Flava-flav" style? :D
Rating: 4 Votes
114 months ago
If this is a sales process retooling, it wouldn't surprise me at all that they would have mandatory meetings to get everyone up to speed on the new process. Apple's retail stores are the most profitable retail stores on the planet (based on floor space), and anything that Apple does to improve the retail sales process should be considered a competitive advantage. For instance, if this retooling results in better sales flow, thus increased revenue, it will make for even better margins (where Apple's competitors still can't find their ass with both hands).

Also, consider the new iCloud service. What better way to up-sell customers than to have an online review of benefits, quick demos, and other "salesy" stuff when the customer is checking out -- and to have all of it well-presented (polished, attractive, good flow) during the sales process. It makes a difference, and would be a welcome and effective way to drive new service sales.
Rating: 3 Votes
114 months ago
I'm having a hard time believing that all of this secrecy will result in something so boring. So they are going to start using iPad's. How does keeping that a secret benefit anything?
Rating: 3 Votes
114 months ago

Ok, they are going to use iPads for point of sale.


According to my sources, no they are not.

Customer facing ipads (which have been around for almost a year) are for 'concierge' functions like making appointments and checking folks into appointments. Plus they have a digital wait list (has been around for a while) that they use to track folks during busy times so that someone that has been waiting for half an hour isn't snaked by someone that just walked in.

The iOS app for customers already exists. All they are doing is making an ipad version for customers (that waitlist is part of the app)

Yes they have added an ipad based RetailMe because most stores only have at most 2 computers for staff to do their required email etc checks but at least 10 employees coming on shift at the same time. Since they require that you do those checks before you hit the floor they had to do something. Using 10-12 ipads per store covers that. Plus it allows them to have more than 2 folks off the floor doing training at the same time

Set up sessions and areas already exist and have since Christmas. Some stores are finally receiving new tables (tail end of a 5 month change over) that is all.

As for the displays etc, that sounds too Microsoft glitz to be completely true. New sound systems, particularly ones that can be used during workshops to cut the music in that area and amplify the speaker make sense. But the whole flashing movies on the walls stuff. Too much style and not enough substance for Apple. No one actually believes any of that to be true.

Nor do they believe that Apple is asshat enough to put a ton of ipads out on the floor as displays when the online store still has ship dates of over a week out. The negative PR would be major

What they do believe is that the revamp of MobileMe is about to happen and they are perhaps getting a preview and training now so that they will be ready to really push it when it goes public. Rather than a ton of "I don't know, we just found out about it too" which makes them look bad.


but I've been to the Apple store in San Diego UTC looking to check out the magic trackpad, the macbook pro 15's new Hi-Res screen, & get a view of what OSX Server works & looks like... any number of other items, and I've been told they don't display those items.



That store doesn't. But I can see every one of those things at all 5 of the stores in LA that I visit. And only one of them is one of those giant floor plan type stores (The Grove). The rest are shoeboxes. So the 'don't display' isn't universal.


Black curtains. Phone ban. 7am meetings. I don't think it's just a run of the mill operating change. :apple:


Black curtains -- due to complaints about customers knocking on the door when they see folks inside.

7am meeting. Mixing it up. Not that crazy. Not everyone wants to have their evening ruined. So play fair and switch things around. It's pretty much always Sunday in the US because most stores are in malls and the mall hours on Sundays are open later and close earlier than other days. Easier to have a meeting without having to change hours.

Phone ban. Done all the time. It insures that the meeting isn't disturbed by ringing phones and folks aren't distracted.

And the NDA talk. They have started doing that at every meeting to remind folks that there's a firm rule to keep your mouth shut. Talking is cause for termination.


wow, finally someone is thinking logically. some of the posts in this thread were seriously making me want to bang my head against a wall, ugh.
Rating: 2 Votes
114 months ago

I wouldn't want to carry an iPad around all day. I know it's not that heavy, but much more cumbersome than the iPod.

Maybe they can carry it "Flava-flav" style? :D


That would be cool.
Have them wear halos and wings, too.
Rating: 2 Votes
114 months ago

You know that Apple stores are becoming a great place to hit and hook up with girls? I have had two dates last month from girls I met at the Los Gatos store. And yes, both were hot. One a classic, thin blond and the other this beautiful Italian girl. This latest generation of girls, geek is hot. When I show them apps I wrote and they are on the store selling -- deal closer!


ahahahahahahahahahahaha!
Rating: 1 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]