Apple's new PoS iPads could start a new retail trend

by Mike Evans

I’m impressed with Apple’s new Apple Store 2.0 revamp which launched throughout the world this morning. As you see in the Mr. Reflectalight shot above, the point-of-sale iPads are encased in an acrylic tablet which is firmly fixed to the counter. Not only are they tamper-proof, they are an elegant way of providing interactive information for all store products. The idea is so obvious now it’s done. But again Apple are showing the way, this time in the area of a point-of-sale device which could find a home in many non-tech retail stores. Expect to see the new ipad blocks offering PoS help in all sorts of stores. Not only will they enhance sales, they will allow staff to manage their time more efficiently. And from Apple’s point of view, they will sell iPads even if they are used in a shirt shop.

Seen here in the London Covent Garden store this morning, the display tablet offers information on the product, in this case the iPhone 3G, with an opportunity for buyers to compare models, check prices and, even, call up human assistance.

Instead of stumbling around the store looking for help, all you need do is press the tab on the display and a salesperson will come bounding over. Staff see a little map showing where the customer is standing and, presumably, the system allocates the first free hand. In theory this is a big step forward in turning a casual browse into a live sale.

The customised iPads are embedded in the acrylic block, although the screen is naked to allow customer input. The home button doesn’t work and there are none of the usual home screens and apps. It’s a dedicated system with the software tailored to the individual product. A single power cable runs into the back of the block and disappears somewhere underneath the iPad. Since there is no 30-pin connector in evidence, it’s safe to assume that these display tablets have a hole in the back with dedicated internal wiring.

All in all the new set up looks neat and is certainly tidier that the old system of free-standing printed displays. I think it will work well for Apple and will be liked by customers. It’s still strange to see an iPad selling an iPad, though.