Apple to Simplify Retail Stores, Demoting iPods to Shelves, Dropping iPad Smart Signs ➝

Mark Gurman, Reporting for 9 to 5 Mac:

Apple is preparing to make significant changes to its stores to simplify the experience by relocating iPod stock to accessory shelves and removing iPad-based Smart Signs, according to several Apple Retail managers briefed today on the plans. Apple will begin rolling out these notable changes overnight on [September 26] to stores in the United States so that customers who begin coming in on [September 27] see the refreshed look.

iPods are an ever-shrinking part of Apple’s business and it makes sense that they would be moved to free up space for more intriguing products. But the removal of iPad-based Smart Signs strikes me as odd. I could see them being confusing to some customers who don’t realize that they aren’t intended to be fully-functional demo units, but moving that information to the devices themselves feels a little dull.

I suppose it’s all in the implementation. Maybe Apple came up with a clever way of displaying this information without it feeling like the kind of demo screen savers you’d see in early 2000s consumer electronics retail stores. And I imagine we’ll start seeing videos crop-up showcasing the new system shortly after the transition.