Apple Store app gets updated for anniversary retail store changes

May 23, 2011
Tech

Rumors have been flying all week about what Apple has been up to in its retail stores for their 10th anniversary celebration, and now it appears that at least some of those rumors might be confirmed. Apple (AAPL) has released an update for its Apple Store iPhone and iPad app that includes new functionality. Primarily, […]

Rumors have been flying all week about what Apple has been up to in its retail stores for their 10th anniversary celebration, and now it appears that at least some of those rumors might be confirmed.

Apple (AAPL) has released an update for its Apple Store iPhone and iPad app that includes new functionality. Primarily, users can now order Mac computers through the app and custom configure the systems to their specifications. It’s an option that other computer retailers, such as Dell (DELL), have offered for a while, but which Apple has left off until now.

The rumors suggest that part of the anniversary revamp of Apple Stores is to accommodate the ability of customers to create their own Mac computers on the fly, rather than selecting from one of several models. Up until now, the Apple Store app supported only stock builds and didn’t have the same capabilities as Apple’s online store.

From taking a look at the app, users can quickly see the changes – pick a Mac base model and hit the “Continue” button, and Apple presents a wealth of options. Before you place your Mac order, you can customize the system’s RAM and hard drive, add software and displays, and generally rack up a pretty huge bill in no time at all. Then you can complete the order and pick the Mac up or get it shipped to you.

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The app also helps make your in-store experience go a little easier. As you walk into an Apple Store, you can tap yourself into the existing line to get help from an staffer using the app, check when workshops are going to take place, or get set up for a Genius Bar service appointment. The app keeps track of your local Apple Store and lets you get set up as soon as you walk through the door.

There are other superficial changes being touted as part of the update as well, according to rumors, like Apple staffers using iPads rather than iPod Touches as their handheld terminals. But while the addition of Mac configurations to Apple Stores is a pretty big deal, it doesn’t seem like a big enough secret to warrant all the clandestine operations that seem to be going on at Apple Stores.

Word of changes to the Apple Store showed up earlier this week when reports started to circulate that Apple was pulling in staffers over the weekend to make some serious changes. MacRumors also had a story outlining the rumored changes, as well as some back story behind Apple bringing the changes to its retail stores and app.

We can’t be sure just what else Apple might have coming down the pipe until stores open this morning. When that happens, we’ll hit you back with more information about what else might be on offer in the company’s retail stores.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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