Apple proved the rumor mill right on Sunday when it introduced a new in-store product information system that uses iPads instead of the printed sheets the company has relied on since the first Apple Store opened ten years ago. The kiosk-style iPads use an interactive interface for showing product details, and also include an option for requesting a store employee for assistance.
The new iPad kiosks show product prices and features, and offer product comparisons along with the ability to request assistance, according to Mac Prices Australia.
Apple’s in-store staff worked late Saturday night prepping for the new iPad kiosk system. At Colorado’s Aspen Grove store, for example, the staff was still hard at work a little before 11PM and didn’t show any sign of wrapping up.
Employees worked late at the Aspen Grove Apple Store
The kiosks are attached to the display tables next to the product they describe, so the iPads can’t wander off and customers won’t have to worry about whether or not information is available when they try out the latest Apple gear.
Apple’s new in-store iPad kiosk
Each display product includes its own interactive kiosk
Apple’s iPad kiosk for the iPhone
The in-store iPad system also includes features for staff so they can check inventory and request products from the store’s product storage area. Since the kiosks are updated centrally, employees don’t have to swap out signage, and customers won’t ever see displays that are worn out or tattered.
Each kiosk includes a special wire harness that sidesteps the iPad’s dock connector, and the Home button has been disabled so shoppers can’t exit the kiosk app. The kiosk software isn’t, however, bug-free yet. Two of the kiosks The Mac Observer checked out were malfunctioning: One was stuck showing the Contacts app, and another shut down and wouldn’t turn back on.
Yes, Apple is using iPad kiosks to sell iPads.
Apple’s new signage highlights services…
Along with the new iPad kiosks, Apple also added new acrylic block table signage for each product and service. The new signs are easier to see from a distance without cluttering the tables, and can easily be moved when products are repositioned for new store layouts.
Apple’s new iPad kiosk shopping system is available in the company’s retail stores now.
[This article has been updated with additional iPad kiosk information and photos.]