Apple is apparently gearing up to make a few changes in their retail stores. According to a report from The Loop, Apple may be planning to remove certain hardware and software products in order to better accommodate personalized setup for purchasers of new Macs and other Apple hardware.
The products reportedly being removed are (either some or all) printers, scanners, and possible some external hard drives. The items will still be available for sale if a customer requests them, but they will no longer be displayed on the shelf. I’m not sure what this means, but apparently Apple stores have more storage space in their “back room” than they do on the sales floor.
Also mentioned is that Apple is likely to dramatically cut the number of games it sells in stores, with some sources reporting that as many as 32 games will be removed from the retail stores, leaving only about 8 games (presumably the more popular ones) for sale. Unlike the peripherals, it is said the the games will not be available for sale in brick-and-mortar stores at all, though they will still be available from the Apple Online Store.
The personalized setup program to which The Loop is likely referring is Apple’s new JointVenture program for businesses (you can read our post about that here), which basically critically expands the number of services offered to business customers who’s employers have paid in. The personalized setup may also refer to an expanded setup and service program for traditional consumers – AppleInsider’s article suggests that it will be used to guide customer’s through setting up their Macm signing up for an iTunes account, and being given a quick walkthrough of the Mac experience.
While the removal of boxed games isn’t terribly critical (in fact, Apple could use it as a way to emphasize their Mac App Store), the removal of popular peripherals could become significant, with many buyers not knowing that they’re still available, or with customers becoming annoyed that they now have to ask for something that was previously on display to look at and investigate.
While some aspects of this may be disappointing to some, it’s difficult to fault Apple for making such a decision. Apple typically sells hardware and software at or very near the suggested retail price, and prices are typically lower online and at other retail stores. In addition, it seems more in the character of Apple to focus on faster, focused, and thorough customer service than to worry about carrying a wide selection of hardware and software.
What are your thoughts? Good, Bad, or Indifferent? Is there anything you’d particularly like to see done differently with Apple’s alleged store changes? Sound off in the comments – we look forward to your thoughts!