Apple fans have been waiting with anticipation all week to find out what special surprise the company has planned for the 10th anniversary of its retail stores. The actual day happened on Thursday, but reports from earlier in the week indicated something big for the weekend. Rumors have spun out in a variety of directions since then, with the most popular picks being a new Apple product or a revamped in-store experience. Now we have our answer: Apple Store 2.0.
The details were first outed in a pre-launch post from 9to5Mac, which dropped the “Apple Store 2.0″ moniker and details of the in-store revamp on Thursday. Now, macstories.net confirms that a retail facelift is indeed what has happened. The most immediately notable change is a shift from paper signed to interactive iPad displays, one tethered to each product. These iPads are special in that they can only be used for the specific purpose of accessing product and store information; even the Home button is disabled.
The iPads all use some kind of app — it’s not clear if this is some specially designed proprietary app or a web interface or what — to provide product feature details, cost comparisons, support requests and the like. This appears to be the extent of what’s new with the store re-launch; not a surprise considering it’s the 10th retail anniversary we’re talking about, but a bit of a letdown for anyone who was hoping a new product might launch. At least WWDC is right around the corner.
Here’s what the iPad signs look like in action: