In an effort to automate check-ins at Apple Stores and provide customers with yet another reason to pull out their iDevices and wave them around, Apple is developing a new Concierge app. According to reports, the app will allow customers to wirelessly report in when they enter the store and direct them to available associates. On the flip side, Concierge will also send push notifications to store staff, letting them know when customers with appointments are in-store and awaiting assistance.
For customers, Concierge will activate when they enter the store and ask if they have an appointment. If so, the user may check in, see approximate waiting time and even be sent a photo of the store associate they'll be meeting with that day. Apple is also releasing a companion app called Scout which store managers can use to keep track of room-by-room locations so they know exactly where checked-in customers are browsing.
While the app seems very useful it's kind of funny that even when you're in a position to talk to someone face-to-face Apple would prefer you communicate via your iDevice. How hard is it to walk into an Apple Store and check-in for an appointment? Apparently too hard, as now you'll be able to do it digitally rather than walking 20 feet and taking care of it in person. How long before all Genius Bar requests are handled via text message even as you sit across the desk from the associate? Maybe they're right and modern tools such as text messages, emails and IMs are eroding our communication skills.
There's no specific timeline for when Concierge will roll out but it will likely be soon. The service went live yesterday for Apple Store employees so it should be available in at least a select number of stores over the coming weeks. We fully expect the service to be nationwide in time for the holiday rush, so if you're heading to an Apple Store to do some shopping don't worry, you won't have to talk to an actual person unless you want to.
[via Mac Stories]