• Apple to Overhaul Retail Store Appearance

    Anyone who thinks Apple isn't concerned about the growing pressure from Microsoft's foray into the retail world should look no further than the announcement from Apple this week that the company is "Revamping" its stores nationwide.

    MacRumors is reporting that Apple is "tweaking several aspects of its retail store operations" under the guise of changing things up in advance of the holiday season. But most analysts suspect Microsoft is the real impetus behind the forthcoming face lift for Apple stores.

    Among the changes are an adjustment to color-coded t-shirts for various types of employees and a shift from using Windows CE-based EasyPay mobile checkout devices to iPod touches using barcode scanner accessories and custom point-of-sale software.
    Ironically, it sounds like some of these adjustments are being made to make Apple stores look more like Microsoft's new retail experiment. Apple, for example, will nix its current class structure of employees like concierges, specialists, creative, and geniuses, etc. - all of which were adorned with designated colors. Over time, a consistent color scheme will be realized for all employees.
    Visitors have reported that seeing orange, dark blue, light blue, medium blue and black T-shirts is simply confusing. Beginning soon, the entire store staff will wear the same color T-shirt, with that color changing from time to time.
    Although the colors worn by staffers won't have a tremendous impact on Apple customers, the company's transition to the iPod touch as a checkout device could. The updated checkout process will help ease some of the frustration experienced by store employees regarding the performance of the current EasyPay devices.

    The new iPod touch-based systems will reportedly allow for a single pass of the barcode reader to register multiple codes present on many Apple products, speeding the checkout process. The new system will also reportedly allow sales staff to accept cash for transactions.
    What's more important to note than the changes outlined above is that Apple seems poised to make this first update to its retail appearance the first of many. What does that mean exactly? I have no clue. But we'll probably find out soon enough.

    Image via MSN
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