updated 11:30 pm EST, Sat November 12, 2011
Genius Bar iPads to allow for more nimble help
Apple is planning a significant revamp of the Genius Bar that could both reflect a changing of the guard and improve the experience for customers, a rumor late Saturday may have uncovered. Stores will supposedly replace the MacBook Pros with iPads, 9to5 understood, using an app equivalent to the GCRM repair management tool that they use now. The swap would let Geniuses move around the store to help diagnose systems anywhere in the store.
The switch would also have a significant impact on Apple's ability to handle its customer load as stores get extra customers, the unnamed source claimed. By fitting more iPads than it could MacBook Pros, Apple could have more Geniuses working at a time and cut back on the queues that have become a problem at some of the busier stores. Theoretically, it could allow for Geniuses who don't have a fixed place at the bar at all and could help with overflow.
A further rumor maintained that Apple might drop its requirement for printed receipts as part of repairs. Customers might instead sign on the Geniuses' iPads and again save some time and space.
All of the changes are believed to be the next part of a wider Apple Store makeover that began this spring with iPad product signage and new mobile apps. Combined with a self-checkout option in the US, Apple is taking advantage of iOS to speed up shoppers' trips to the store and give them more on-the-spot information than they could get before or at other stores.