9to5 Mac is reporting that Apple plans to reboot its retail stores in honor of the 10th Anniversary of their grand opening. The first two Apple Stores opened on May 19, 2001 in Tysons Corner, Virginia and later the same day in Glendale, California.
Earlier BGR reported that the new Apple stores would be equipped with NFC terminals ready to receive payments from supported devices. Ironically, there are two Android phones that support it but no iPhones that support NFC. I guess that Apple thinks a lot of Nexus S owners will be coming in to buy Macs?
Apple Store 2.0 is a major makeover for the Apple retail store experience that was led by Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive along with Apple’s Senior VP of Retail Ron Johnson. According to the post, new dedicated personal setup areas called “Startup Sessions" are being added, as are "even more interactive" bars and iPads being used as product information kiosks - replacing traditional paper signs.
The report's mention of "huge" and "beefed up displays" can only be referring to Apple's 27-inch LED display -- it's the largest monitor that Apple makes and I find it unlikely that it would use a non-Apple display in its retail stores. Unless the branding is obscured, like it is on the status boards above the Genius Bar. Better sound is also rumored to be in the plans for the stores -- queue the movie/television/music/gaming conspiracy theorists on that one.
But perhaps the most interesting part of Apple's retail reboot isn't the hardware, but rather the software. Apple's rumored to be overhauling its retail iOS app - possible as soon as Sunday -- to make it iPad native, location aware, and more interactive. Asking, for example, if you'd like to speak to a specialist when you enter the store.
Presumably the new iOS app will also allow users to schedule genius/shopper/startup appointments directly in-app, because you can do that now from the Web. It would also be pretty trick if the app could check specific store inventory and allow users to order ahead and have it ready when you arrive.
What features would you like to see in the new Apple retail stores? What about the app?