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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A 'check-in' app for Apple Store shopping

Apple has jumped on the check-in bandwagon.

The company on Tuesday released an updated "Apple Store" app that lets customers check in to store locations, alerting Apple employees to their whereabouts and telling them what they need help with and where.

(Apple has updated its app to help shoppers)

The app also lets people do more expected things, like shop for Apple products and make appointments at the Apple "Genius Bar," the company's nickname for the service counter where people can sort through technical issues with their Apple products.

The new update may be well-timed considering the fact that kids this holiday season want gadgets more than toys, according to The Telegraph.

That UK paper reports:

"Approximately 39 percent of children quizzed desired Apple gadgets this year, with 17 percent of five to eight- year-olds, 50 percent of nine to 12-year-olds and 66 percent of 13 to 16-year-olds all putting Apple items at the top of their lists."

The blog Macworld notes that the Apple Store app is self-serving in that it will "make it even easier for you to spend your hard-earned cash on Apple stuff."

FastCompany says the app will give customers detailed info about the Apple employees who are scheduled to help them at the stores:

"The app works using push notifications to the iPhone, and even sends a photo of the employee who's in line to help you, which can then be used to request specific services of the employee in question. It's expected to speed the customer service process in Apple Stores -- which, as many users are aware, can be a time-consuming experience."

The app will also be useful for Apple employees, that magazine's blog says:

"The service went live for employees yesterday morning, and includes two separate apps-within-the-app: one, iQueue, enables Apple bods to check their list of customers pending, and Scout allows managers to keep tabs on whichever room each employee is in at a given time. Sounds a bit creepy--and in some ways it is, but anything that speeds up the often lengthy process can only be a good thing for consumers."

Apple is just one of many companies and app developers exploring the concept of check-ins, which refers to the idea of telling friends and companies where you are at any given time. Foursquare first popularized this concept with an app that encourages people to check in to bars, restaurants and other venues.

Since then, GetGlue has tried to convince people to check in to TV shows, books and other media; and OneTrueFan brought the same concept to the internet.


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