Earlier today I wrote about the new iPad Retail 2.0 experience being offered at the Apple Store. One thing that I neglected to mention is that Apple also released a new version of its Apple Store App. Included in the new features of the app are the ability for you to get help and support while you're at an Apple Store. In addition, you can custom-configure a new Mac from the App itself.
The custom-configuring is definitely a step in the right direction, but the coolest new feature is the ability to summon help from your iPhone. As you can see from the screenshots below, when you run the Apple Store App in the Apple Store itself, you get a down-to-the-minute indication of how many people are in line, and how long before you will receive support. There's also a queue showing when the next workshop is.
Once your number is up, you are greeted with a picture of the person who is ready to help you, with information on where to meet that person.
It's definitely great to see Apple taking full advantage of what you can do with the iOS platform. I'm hopeful that more companies will take their queues from Apple and start integrating mobile as a must-have and not just a nice-to-have.
My previous experience at the Apple Store involved me walking up to an employee who then typed my name and a description of me into her iPad. Then when it was my turn, an employee would come find me. With this latest iteration I'm more empowered, not only knowing how long I would be waiting but also seeing a picture and the name of the person that's about to assist me. Welcome to Retail 2.0.