Last week, a promotional email for Apple's annual Black Friday sale this year was leaked, revealing discounts on the iPod touch. Today, a second promotional image offering more detailed prices on a variety of products offers some details, and also appears more credible and realistic.
Multiple sources are all pointing toward the launch of a "concierge" application from Apple geared toward visitors of their many retail stores. The application will provide a similar function as their online reservations system that would allow customers to schedule Genius Bar and One to One appointments from their iPhones or iPod touches. Our source has informed us that there's no solid release date, although it should be out sometime after Black Friday.
ifoAppleStore's Gary Allen has posted a first look of Apple's soon to be implemented iPod touch-based point-of-sale system on AppleInsider. According to the piece, the new units are called EasyPay touch and consist of an iPod touch, battery pack, barcode scanner, and a magnetic card reader. The unit itself runs POS software which has apparently been written by Apple. The outer shell which contains the additional POS hardware resembles an Incase Power Slider.
We have also independently heard from an Apple employee that the new units will be small enough to fit in an employee's pocket, making them easy enough to be carried at all times.
The last three months of the year tends to be a big hit for the Apple Store locations and the company is set to unveil some new changes along with the ever-changing employee t-shirts. This year, Apple employees will ditch the current EasyPay portable computers made by Symbol Technologies, and will begin using an iPod touch with an advanced scanner accessory and point-of-sale (POS) software.
Last week MacRumors reported hearing from multiple sources that Apple would begin staffing "iPhone Activation Zones" in Apple retail stores. The zones are designed to serve as a central point for customers to pick up and activate iPhones after going through the pre-authorization process at Apple.com. Following up on the rumor, friend of the site Jonah Grant has spotted an iPhone Activation Zone in the Michigan Ave Apple Store [via twitter]. Photo of the zone following the break!
Apple has a new window display in their flagship Palo Alto store that is probably the coolest one we've ever seen. It features an iPhone on a stand in front of a large display, with iPhone apps zipping toward you as though you were traversing the App Store in the Millennium Falcon. Check out the video after the break.
If you're hoping to get an iPhone 3GS soon, you might want to hurry, because they're going fast. Apple published an availability checker for checking available inventory at their various retail locations. At the time, roughly 90% of the listed locations still had inventory of all four models, but over the weekend this has decreased to around 40-45%, and 15% of stores are completely sold out, which includes the entire states of Alabama, Oregon and Utah. [via MacRumors]
MacRumors reports that Apple has posted an online database for checking the availability for iPhone 3GSs in Apple Retail Stores across the United States. Availability is updated close to an hourly basis. iPhone 3G stock is being updated only nightly with stock levels for the following morning at opening time. You can check it out at Apple.com.
Oh yes, you have a chance to meet "those iPhone Alley guys" in their natural habitat! We'll be waiting in line for the iPhone 3G S at the Deer Park Apple Store in Deer Park, Illinois [map]. If you plan on coming out to wait for the iPhone, or even just to say "hi guys," leave a comment below or send a tweet to @MichaelJohnston. Bring some coffee!
Apple has posted details for the iPhone 3G S launch on June 19th. According to their site, many locations will be opening at 8AM local time, though not all. You can check launch-day details for your Apple Store of choice by going to Apple.com/retail. (Of course, if you plan on camping out, this might not be important to you.)