Just a few days after the 10th Anniversary of Apple’s first retail store, our favorite Cupertino-based, fruit-themed computer company seems to be planning something.
According to several rumors sites, there have been a number of “suspicious” activities from the Apple camp:
- Overnight shifts for Saturday night have been assigned—and they require a cell-phone lockout and an NDA!
- Mysterious packages of equipment arriving at the retail stores.
- Large amounts (in the GB range) of password-protected data labeled “training” have been downloaded from Apple corporate.
- Mandatory staff meetings at all Apple Stores on Sunday, mostly in the AM.
As it always is within the Apple ecosystem, whenever Cupertino makes some “secretive” moves, the conspiracies start flying. This instance is no exception; the theories being bandied about include:
- iPad-based POS System – This is entirely possible. Apple recently updated to using iPhones/iPod Touches for the stores’ sales floor. An iPad could make for an interesting approach – using larger images for products, etc.
- “Setup Stations” Replacing the Genius Bar – As we mentioned in OWC Radio #54, Apple has been moving more towards a focus on “personalized setup.” The equipment that’s arrived could be stations where Apple staffers can help a new user get things set up and ready to use, rather than at the Genius Bar itself.
- iCloud – We all know Apple has that gigantic data center in North Carolina, and there have been rumblings about this service for a while now. Plus, there was a significant “burp” in service to an extremely large number of MobileMe subscribers earlier this week. Perhaps somebody threw a switch, and these were the people who had slipped through the net.
- Early Release of OS X 10.7. Lion – It’s possible Lion is just about done, and the level of secrecy around this whole thing is about right for a surprise OS release. However, with WWDC coming in just a couple of weeks, it would be a bit of a raspberry to developers hoping for a final SDK at the conference.
So what’s do you think is hiding in those boxes behind the hose black curtains? Whether your theories are probable, plausible, possible, or just plain ludicrous, we’d love to hear ‘em!