New iPhone App Will Mobilize Store Visitors

Apple’s mobile retail store initiative will jump forward on Tuesday with the launch of an iPhone app that will allow quick access to store information, product technical specs, the Concierge reservation system, and the ability to make store purchase reservations for the new iPhone 4.

Apple kicked off mobile retailing within the stores last November when it debuted a custom iPod touch point-of-sale (POS) system. Then, as reported here last February, Apple advertised four new job positions related to mobile commerce and customer applications. Together, the positions indicated several possibilities for advanced mobile apps, of which this new iPhone app is the first example. Future app features might include the ability to scan product packaging barcodes to obtain product information, automatic Genius Bar appointment check-in by sensing the presence of a visitor’s iPhone, and product announcements sent to the iPhones of store passersby. Several Apple patents and trends in mobile finance indicate that iPhones will eventually be used to make product purchases within the stores, taking the place of debit and credit cards or cash.

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