‘Apple Store 2.0’ debuts

Apple yesterday revamped its retail stores worldwide, introducing iPad 2s next to all its products to give customers more information.

The iPads are effectively nailed to the desks to prevent stealing, being encased in clear plastic stands. They run a special app giving information about each product; the home button’s been disabled, just in case anyone wants a quick game of Angry Birds instead.

Essentially, the iPads, which Apple is referring to as ‘smart signs’ have been turned into a touchscreen signboard. Hitting different tabs dispenses advice on specifications, price and support options; customers can also tap a ‘Specialist’ tab for help from a real live salesperson.

The redesign – timed to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the original stores – also includes a dedicated area in each store similar to the company’s original ‘Genius Bar’. This offers personalized set-up for purchasers. Buyers can have their favorite apps preinstalled, for example, or set up an iTunes account.

Like Saturday’s Rapture – what, you mean you missed it? – the rollout of the new design started in Australia and the Far East, followed by Europe and the east coast of the US.

A new Apple Store app is also expected to make an appearance today, allowing customers to fully customize their purchases. It would allow users to, for example, add memory or upgrade their processor at the time or ordering.