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rav3n
17th May 2011, 11:47 PM
Apple planning major product launch for 10th retail anniversary? (http://www.bgr.com/2011/05/16/apple-planning-major-product-launch-for-10th-retail-anniversary/)

Speculate away.

evmorg
18th May 2011, 10:30 AM
Possibly the formal introduction of the Square credit card reader devices as the basis for card transactions at all Apple stores, replacing the custom developed hardware/software combination they're currently using. Just guessing, based on this (http://techcrunch.com/2011/05/17/square-to-livestream-product-announcement-at-techcrunch-disrupt/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29).

Exocet
18th May 2011, 06:22 PM
I don't see why Apple would need to shroud the entire store for the sake of changing their payment processing system. That said I've got no idea what might be planned :)

the8thark
18th May 2011, 07:44 PM
In my opinion this can only be possibly for the following reasons:

1. 10th Anniversary celebrations
2. T-Mobile/Sprint iphone
3. Drastic pricing change
4. A training exercise

And this is what I think about each one.

1. 10th Anniversary celebrations
Very possible. And if they are handing out T-shirts etc you'd only need one back of store guy to organise it. And maybe a genius or two if they are having 10th Anniversary slide shows on their display models in store. And the NDA would be there to make it all secret. But I thought Apple would want this to be a world wide thing, so more global sales. The US only thing makes me thing this is not it. Maybe Apple do want it to be US only. And if this is the case it'd be very silly indeed.

And it's not advertised. I'm sure Apple would want to let the world know "come to our 10th Anniversary event"

2. T-Mobile/Sprint iphone
Not too possible. The geniuses and back staff requirements are there. The NDA would be needed too. And it meets the US only requirement. But even the white iphone got a mention on the website before it was released. Plus Apple retail staff would only find about it the same day the public do. So unlikely.

3. Drastic pricing change.
Rather likely. To stay competitive in the market. Would be a US only price change. But why would you need back of house and geniuses there for that. You wouldn't. So it does not add up 100% like the rest.

4. A training exercise
Rather likely. It's just a meeting. For everyone to attend. But then why all the cloak and dagger stuff like locking phones away, black curtains and NDAs. Unless it is a dress rehearsal for an even bigger launch in the coming days.

I think all 4 have reasons why they can and can not be plausible. But for me the most likely one is 4.

yagankiely
18th May 2011, 10:03 PM
Is it international?

moothia
18th May 2011, 10:36 PM
I'm hearing the same whispers here in Melbourne from a reasonable source - nothing more than that tho.

OziMac
18th May 2011, 10:49 PM
3. Drastic pricing change.
Rather likely. To stay competitive in the market. Would be a US only price change. But why would you need back of house and geniuses there for that. You wouldn't. So it does not add up 100% like the rest.


Don't see how this is at all likely. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see some better bang for buck, but they seem to be plenty profitable at their current pricing, so there's no real driver to change that now.

the8thark
19th May 2011, 05:12 AM
Is it international?
Supposedly yes.


"This Saturday (21st), all Australian (at least) retail stores will under go visual merchandising from 6pm – 6am (22nd),"
"A sheet will be raised to prevent any one seeing inside, and from 6am – 10am, all apple [sic] retail staff will participate in a compulsory meeting.
Apple preparations global, may be tied to 'Apple Store 2.0' (http://www.ipodnn.com/articles/11/05/18/plans.rarely.so.private/)

MattJelonek
20th May 2011, 01:01 AM
A new store experience will occur this Saturday across Australia.... First time zone for the world and it's market... So get excite guys!!!!

mitty
20th May 2011, 11:42 AM
^I'm not sure what they can change about the "Store Experience".

Unless every visit includes free cake. Or bacon.

lavo
20th May 2011, 12:33 PM
@Mitty

They need to curtain up to install the portable frying pans next to each display Mac. iBacon.

Lutze
20th May 2011, 12:36 PM
@Mitty

They need to curtain up to install the portable frying pans next to each display Mac. iBacon.

As long as the iBacon is cooked in iLard then I'll be there with my napkin!

Geoff3DMN
20th May 2011, 01:33 PM
As long as the iBacon is cooked in iLard then I'll be there with my napkin!

What? No iNapkin?!

Lutze
20th May 2011, 02:04 PM
What? No iNapkin?!

I had to try to keep the thread going for others - there is, of course, icuttlefish to be named ;)

alzzla
20th May 2011, 02:43 PM
I had to try to keep the thread going for others - there is, of course, icuttlefish to be named ;)

Hope iBeer is serve, or I aint going to my local store to see whats different. lol Sorry couldn't resist joining in.

stomick
20th May 2011, 03:51 PM
Maybe this (http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/05/20/3222323.htm) has got something to do with it...
http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/201105/r770295_6548853.jpg

Free Apple products on Judgement Day, perhaps?!

nibbles
20th May 2011, 04:52 PM
You wouldn't want that iBacon in the iFrier to be putting fat all over the iMacs unless they are introducing some form of iRecipe book which can handle all the iFoods as well as all the regular foods.

Seriously though, no idea what's coming. Maybe some special sale, could explain the online store going down on wednesday but those boxes and a NDA? That I can't explain.

MattJelonek
20th May 2011, 09:28 PM
BACON!?!?!? WHERE?

opilot87
21st May 2011, 04:21 AM
Only a matter of hours until we find out...

Ollie

yagankiely
21st May 2011, 04:32 AM
A new store experience will occur this Saturday across Australia.... First time zone for the world and it's market... So get excite guys!!!!Gonna loose that to New Zealond soonish.

Would've thought they'd try and get the New Zealand store up for this, I believe it would be Apple's 12th country?

timothy
21st May 2011, 05:24 AM
I am an Apple store down dude, so if I am here....

---------- Post added at 06:24 AM ---------- Previous post was at 05:35 AM ----------


Maybe this (http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/05/20/3222323.htm) has got something to do with it...
http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/201105/r770295_6548853.jpg

Free Apple products on Judgement Day, perhaps?!

whaoo...

1000
21st May 2011, 06:44 AM
I hope it's a product, a WIRELESS Apple keyboard with the friggin keys in the RIGHT PLACE and a num pad.

1000

the8thark
21st May 2011, 07:00 AM
I think this might be one of the reasons for the huge secret meetings.

Screenshots of Apple’s impressive new Daily Download iPad app, more Apple Store 2.0 news | 9 to 5 Mac Screenshots of Apple’s impressive new Daily Download iPad app, more Apple Store 2.0 news | Apple Intelligence (http://www.9to5mac.com/68028/screenshots-of-apples-impressive-new-daily-download-ipad-app-as-more-apple-store-2-0-news/)
Apple's 'Daily Download' Internal iPad News App for Retail Store Employees Revealed - MacRumors.com (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/05/20/apples-daily-download-internal-ipad-news-app-for-retail-store-employees-revealed/)

It's pretty much an internal sales ipad app to help with running the store. 9to5Mac broke the news story. But Apple's legal deal demanded they remove the app screenshots. So they did. But for the time being there is still a screenshot of it on the MacRumours link above. Take a look there now before Apple's lawyers ask for it's removal too. And that's why I linked it and did not directly copy and post the image. Don't want to cause MacTalk any legal issues.

timothy
21st May 2011, 07:05 AM
I think this might be one of the reasons for the huge secret meetings.

Screenshots of Apple’s impressive new Daily Download iPad app, more Apple Store 2.0 news | 9 to 5 Mac Screenshots of Apple’s impressive new Daily Download iPad app, more Apple Store 2.0 news | Apple Intelligence (http://www.9to5mac.com/68028/screenshots-of-apples-impressive-new-daily-download-ipad-app-as-more-apple-store-2-0-news/)
Apple's 'Daily Download' Internal iPad News App for Retail Store Employees Revealed - MacRumors.com (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/05/20/apples-daily-download-internal-ipad-news-app-for-retail-store-employees-revealed/)

Meh...

It's pretty much an internal sales ipad app to help with running the store. 9to5Mac broke the news story. But Apple's legal deal demanded they remove the app screenshots. So they did. But for the time being there is still a screenshot of it on the MacRumours link above. Take a look there now before Apple's lawyers ask for it's removal too. And that's why I linked it and did not directly copy and post the image. Don't want to cause MacTalk any legal issues. lotsa Meh...
Sorry I have had it up to HERE with the internet! yelling at kids, bloody planking..... whoa...

nibbles
21st May 2011, 07:44 AM
Maybe apple is going to do the mother of all planks

timothy
21st May 2011, 08:09 AM
Maybe apple is going to do the mother of all planks

In Canberra...

Exocet
21st May 2011, 11:43 PM
Just saw this photo taken by a friend who was at Doncaster for a movie tonight. Looks like iPads are replacing the acrylics:
https://img.skitch.com/20110521-k11dc6x5nd47tef9my7shwkaei.preview.jpg (https://skitch.com/exocet/fyi8g/twitter)
Click for large view (https://skitch.com/exocet/fyi8g/twitter) - Uploaded with Skitch (http://skitch.com)

DJY
22nd May 2011, 08:58 AM
So in the light of the new day, I assume we are all still here (unless it is meant to be 21 May 2011 USA time)...
is there anything different at Apple stores?

benr
22nd May 2011, 09:42 AM
Anxiously waiting for 10am to see what new store experience apple have intsall for us

kyte
22nd May 2011, 09:47 AM
It's pretty much an internal sales ipad app to help with running the store. 9to5Mac broke the news story.

Is that all? Sheesh. Can't quite believe they would close the shop for something as boring as that.

jack112006
22nd May 2011, 09:58 AM
I'm heading down to Robina to pick up an iMac at 11:30ish. I shall post pictures & a hands on soon after if someone hasn't by then.

Pharaohsam
22nd May 2011, 01:58 PM
posting this from george st.... nothing major... they just have an ipad in front of each product with specs etc instead of those little white cards that were there

jack112006
22nd May 2011, 02:22 PM
Sorry about the delay - I have a few photos & observations from talking to staff & my purchasing experience. I'm just waiting for a few updates to finish so I can get iPhoto up and running & import my photos.

MrJesseRoss
22nd May 2011, 02:25 PM
I read reports of staff wearing party hats, but I went past the Bondi Junction store about half an hour ago and saw no hats at all. Stupid Internet lied to me! :(

mouseless
22nd May 2011, 03:06 PM
Couple of pics from Chermside. No party hats, just the smooth transition to a neater slicker layout, you'd expect from Apple. Staff are taking it in their stride. They appear to be iPad 2s in the acrylic cases. No expense spared.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3630/5745352246_a4f30012b2_z.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2684/5745353044_7b5784788d_z.jpg

nibbles
22nd May 2011, 03:12 PM
Where does it charge from?

dotnet
22nd May 2011, 03:16 PM
The Genius Bar - Now fully licensed.
;)

Cheers
Steffen.

snark
22nd May 2011, 03:21 PM
Where does it charge from?
Maybe they replace them every night. :D

feeze
22nd May 2011, 04:02 PM
Where does it charge from?

My guess would be out the back of the unit. Wouldn't be surprised if these had no battery either.

nibbles
22nd May 2011, 04:03 PM
I thought they'd probably be a pretty modified device.

Lutze
22nd May 2011, 04:12 PM
I thought they'd probably be a pretty modified device.

Looking at these pictures you can see a cable going into the case, might be for alarm, but may also be for induction charging?

pnau
22nd May 2011, 04:30 PM
...

dmeston
22nd May 2011, 05:19 PM
Good to see where the stock shortage went. Pfft!

mouseless
22nd May 2011, 05:22 PM
Where does it charge from?

You'll see a single white cable leading to each unit. Usually it's power (and likely communications) for the iPad, but for iPhone and iPod display units it powers those devices as well. As to whether there's comms going down the cable (updates etc), I don't think wireless updates have been perfected yet.

There's no access to the physical buttons of the info-iPad, presumably they're apps, could be web pages, but no evidence of Safari.

jack112006
22nd May 2011, 05:49 PM
So here is the detailed post I should have written hours ago. While many people are reporting these changes as minor, they are in fact a massive shift in the way Apple Stores operate. Firstly, there are a few small changes that are purely aesthetic. The main example of this is the introduction of large, acrylic bricks which have the product at the given table's name in it. http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2143/5745209189_c0f4db746e_b.jpg
Besides that, all the other main changes revolve around the rollout of iPads as product info viewers, and major changes to the store layout. Firstly, the iPads. As I was purchasing an iMac today, I spent quite a while talking to a few different staff members about the changes. To them, having the iPads as product info stands was nice, but the real change to them caused by the iPads is the queue system they introduce. Now, instead of having to wait around to find a free Specialist, all you have to do is request a Specialist from an iPad at the table you are at and they will be over as soon as they can be. It even tells you what place in the queue you are. And this is where problems can come in for staff. One Specialist remarked that he is concerned that some customers may lose their patience and leave a store if they are something like 10th in line. Even worse, he said, there will always be the idiots who go around to a dozen iPads and place calls for Specialists, which will waste a lot of time for them. But all in all, he seemed positive about their introduction.
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3258/5745759094_89c5f9cfbf_b.jpg
The iPads, contrary to other reports, aren't physically different from any normal iPad 2. what is unique is the system of cables Apple has used to keep them charged. Firstly, one main cable enters the acrylic block and is then separated into two cables. The first one is a security cable, to act as further protection from theft, even though all the iPads are glued to the mounting block, and the mounting block is respectively glued to the table with very strong adhesive. The second cable is quite special. It is an ultra-thin 30 pin ribbon cable. It is tight against the iPads body in the acrylic block, and is used for charging, and I would imagine periodic device re-imaging for a new product, etc. The software on all the iPads is very special, and is set up so that the Home button is inactive. There is no way at all of activating the Home button. Trust me, I tried many different combinations of button presses that I have gained from my jailbreaking days, and I can safely say that these iPads are bulletproof, at least from a software standpoint.http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3051/5745207697_9cffd73eca_b.jpg
Finally, there has been a significant change to the layout of tables within the store. Personal setup tables and the like used to be minimal at Robina, around one or two. Now, about 35% of the store is devoted to setup, and it really alters the feel of the store. It makes it feel like a much more community-centered space, contrary to the showroom feel of before. All in all, I believe that the changes are mostly positive, but there are most certainly a few kinks that will need to be worked out.http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5110/5745760616_9dbfce6549_b.jpg

the8thark
22nd May 2011, 06:09 PM
I have to agree these are big changes. Mostly to ensure customers are happy while in the store. Apple has an issue. Too many customers and too much foot traffic for the staff to handle. And they needed to come up with a solution to manage it all. And I think this is the solution. But why the cloak and dagger tactics to protect it all pre-launch? Probably cause it is a non-event for the customers. They just get more service which is good. But very important for the staff.

But I think the curtains and nda's backfired on Apple. They did it just so the staff could be trained in peace without people wasting time leaking information that is not too important for the average joe Apple customer. But all the secrecy just made people think "hmmm Apple is up to something we'd better investigate". So their attempt to keep the preparation of this low key actually made it more watched and speculated by the public.

nibbles
22nd May 2011, 07:45 PM
They could reduce foot traffic by having more stores, one in my area would be nice, currently there are 0 and the closest is George St, Sydney.

Stez
23rd May 2011, 02:27 AM
You got a mention on the MacRumors front page Jack, along with one of your pics and MacTalk :)

Details and Impressions on Apple's Retail Changes - MacRumors.com (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/05/22/details-and-impressions-on-apples-retail-changes/)

jack112006
23rd May 2011, 06:36 AM
You got a mention on the MacRumors front page Jack, along with one of your pics and MacTalk :)

Details and Impressions on Apple's Retail Changes - MacRumors.com (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/05/22/details-and-impressions-on-apples-retail-changes/)

Just saw that then. Coincidentally, its also my birthday today, so that's a nice little present :)

jack112006
23rd May 2011, 03:19 PM
And I thought that getting my work published on MacRumors was a good birthday present. I have been talking to a few people from "The Daily" iPad publication though out today, which has resulted in the publication of a couple of the photos I took.
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5021/5749801724_54c850f730_b.jpghttp://farm4.static.flickr.com/3011/5749800564_456e081f21_b.jpg