Apple retail squandering dozens of iPad 2s as in-store signage

The blogs are a-buzz today with news of what's being called the "Apple Store 2.0." The company has gone through and revamped its retail experience, making it less personal and far, far more iPad-y. Guess that explains the shortage, eh?

Instead of some lame, non-electronic sticker on a table with a list of specs, Apple has gone ahead and replaced the price tag with an iPad. iPad 2s, in fact! Now you can swipe and pinch and smudge your way through Apple's physical catalog, as the dozens of iPads serving as kiosks in each store — dubbed "Smart Signs" — are tailored to the product they're next to. It sounds a little overkill — there are iPad 2s next to iPad 2s, even! Wouldn't it have just made more sense to use the first generation tablet?

In the event that you do want to talk to an Apple employee, the iPads all have a summons button. From PC Mag:

"When you select this button, a message will be sent to employees through an iPhone app installed on staff devices called iQueue. When an employee accepts the help request, iQueue will provide a floor plan of the store that shows exactly where you are so the staffer can find you quickly and easily. When the request is accepted, a message will be sent to your iPad terminal saying that a specialist is on his or her way."

No word on if this system has been rolled out in every store yet, but it sounds like it could use a little work. From Engadget:

"…overall the whole system is surprisingly messy. Wires are running everywhere, twist-tied in place, and it just doesn't feel very... well, it doesn't feel very Apple. But, if you want to read all about the specs of an iPad 2 you can now do it on an iPad 2 — but you still can't walk in and take one home."

Via PC Mag

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