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Apple stores get iPad 'Smart Signs': pics

Apple is fluffing the pillows of its 325 retail stores worldwide, abolishing paper notices next to its products in favour of iPad 2-based "Smart Signs".

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Topic: Apple
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1 of 14 Luke Hopewell/ZDNet

(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

We went to the Apple Store in the Sydney CBD to see what all the fuss was about.

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2 of 14 Luke Hopewell/ZDNet

(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

Inside, you'll find that Apple has kept its table arrangements almost exactly the same, only now there's a glass slab flagging the product category and a shiny iPad 2 next to each live product, running the Smart Sign app.

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3 of 14 Luke Hopewell/ZDNet

(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

With smaller devices like iPhones and iPods, Apple has built the chargers right into the Smart Sign stand.

The Smart Sign app disables the functionality of the Home button to prevent customers from using them as normal iPad 2s; however, someone purporting to be an Apple Store manager has informed the 9to5Mac blog that a gesture sequence will unlock the tablets.

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4 of 14 Luke Hopewell/ZDNet

(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

A fleet of iPhone 4s sit on their new Smart Signs.

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5 of 14 Luke Hopewell/ZDNet

(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

Even iPod Nanos get the Smart Sign treatment.

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6 of 14 Luke Hopewell/ZDNet

(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

The Smart Sign is an Apple-built app that gives customers information about the accompanying product. Smart Sign is not available on the iOS or Mac App Store.

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7 of 14 Luke Hopewell/ZDNet

(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

Customers can compare different models in the same line. Here, you can see the Macbook being compared to the Pro and Air counterparts.

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8 of 14 Luke Hopewell/ZDNet

(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

There's the usual sales pitch to get people into the Apple way of thinking.

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9 of 14 Luke Hopewell/ZDNet

(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

The "One to One" training and service program is also offered via the app.

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10 of 14 Luke Hopewell/ZDNet

(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

Shoppers can tap the Specialist tab at the bottom corner of the app to call someone over to give them a hand.

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11 of 14 Luke Hopewell/ZDNet

(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

However, when we tapped for help, we received an error notice. We were assured that this was just a "minor glitch". If it was working, the Specialist feature would be able to bring a staff member around to help, or show you where you are in the queue.

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12 of 14 Luke Hopewell/ZDNet

(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

Even the iPad 2 table uses iPad 2s as advertisements. Confusing?

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13 of 14 Luke Hopewell/ZDNet

(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

Apple was running one of its student tours through the Apple Store while we were there.

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14 of 14 Luke Hopewell/ZDNet

(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

The new Apple Store, a bit full for my liking.

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