This past weekend Apple rebooted its in-store experience with what is being dubbed "Apple Retail 2.0". If you haven't heard about this new experience, gone are the placards that used to tell you the price and specs of a device. Instead, customers are greeted with an iPad running software that allows you to review specs, pricing, and features about the product next to the iPad. You can also call a specialist directly from the iPad app.
Early reports are mixed on the enhanced iPad-enabled shopping experience. For some, including Dave Greenbaum at GigaOM, the glare on the iPads and angle that you're forced to view the displays in leaves something to be desired. For others, having a guided experience on an iPad seems to be the future of retail.
If you're wondering if you can have that same iPad experience from your home, it appears that the iPads being used in-store might be running a special version of iOS, since the home button doesn't allow you to quit the experience, like the other iPads on display.
It will definitely be interesting to see how customers interact with the iPads. For example, I'm sure that Apple has built-in push abilities into its in-store iPad, so it could now do a storewide advertisement in seconds. Also, the company is likely tracking user interaction and will make changes rather quickly, to make sure that its new Retail 2.0 experience is the best in the business.
Other stores were already using the iPad as a kiosk, but Apple is definitely the first company to use an iPad on each station, in place of the traditional paper or plastic placard, that shows the price, technical specs, and other information. Granted, Apple is also one of the few companies that can afford to put all of those iPads in one place.
If you're wondering what the new in-store iPad experience offers, check out this GigaOM video below.