Your average Apple Store is stuffed with a pulsing biomass of customers clamoring for attention, so how do Apple employees know that you’re the guy they are tasked to help?
Well, how does Apple solve any problem? They leverage cutting-edge technology at the problem, and their system is totally ingenious, if a little frightening to the privacy obsessed.
Apple’s always working to streamline the retail process with additions like their new retail self-checkout program, or the new ability to pick up online purchases in selected stores. Did you know, though, that if you order your Mac for pickup through the Apple Store app, Apple can tell the second you walk into the store, and even figure out who and where you are?
It’s all done thanks to specially-equipped iPod touches that every Apple Store employee carries. Here’s how it works:
An iPhone owner can use the free Apple Store app to shop before entering the store. When she arrives, the app’s location feature alerts store workers on their iPhones, and they can find her and bring over her purchases. Sixteen customers used the app’s location feature to claim gear at the Palo Alto store on Friday.
This, of course, supplements the existing Apple Store way of figuring out where customers are by allowing them to “check in” near a station using the iPad.
Those who are sticklers for privacy will probably be alarmed that the Apple Store app checks their location using GPS, but you can opt out by denying the Apple Store app location based services, and it only works if you order something through the app. If there’s a legitimate privacy concern here, I think it’s a small price to pay for a proper 21st century retail experience, don’t you?