Rumors surfaced this week about the new Apple Retail Store 2.0 experience, a revamp of the form and function of Apples Retail business. The news was accompanied by whispers of a new RetailMe iPad app that would power sales in the redesigned stores.
Now 9to5Mac has gotten their hands on one of the new RetailMe iPads and has screenshots of the app that will assist associates in making sales and deliver an in-house newsletter called ‘The Daily Download’.
The in-store iPads are pre-loaded with the RetailMe app, Apple Connect, Apple Directory, Concierge and the Easy Pay app. The Easy Pay app is the software currently running on the iPod touch sales consoles that associates carry around and perform sales on. This indicates that actual purchases could be made on the iPads if they were equipped with a card reader of some sort.
In addition to numerous screenshots of the iPad app, 9to5Mac has also gotten a statement from a source that “gigs of data” are being downloaded for a Sunday event. The source speculates that the data may be to pre-load OS X Lion on all of the in-house machines for a launch this weekend.
A launch of Lion this Sunday feels wrong to us on a number of levels. For one, OS X Lion is still not available in final release form and Apple has never made a habit of allowing regular customers to interact directly with unfinished software, especially in the Retail Store. It’s also likely that a formal unveiling would be made of Lion at the WWDC conference which is just over 2 weeks away at this point. It’s unlikely that that release announcement would be jumped with a scattershot launch of Lion in all retail stores this Sunday.
There are some other possibilities for the large downloads including upgraded automated display materials, documentation about the new RetailMe system and perhaps images to apply to in-house iPads which are rumored to be taking the place of paper signs in the store displays.
UPDATED: Apple has requested us (in no uncertain terms) to remove the screenshots. I’m sure you can find them using a simple Google Images search anyway but we don’t want to piss off Apple so here we go: poof. Images gone.