The video: Last week, tech enthusiasts were busy anticipating a "Sunday surprise" at Apple Stores around the world to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Apple's retail outlets. Particularly tantalizing: Reports that Apple Store employees were being asked to work overnight on Saturday and sign non-disclosure agreements. Yet the "overrated" big reveal turned out to be iPad "Smart Signs" (watch a video below), tablets encased in clear plastic stands that replaced paper signs beside products, offering detailed information (iPhone rate plans, other specs) and a button that lets customers summon a human sales person.
The reaction: Given all the secrecy and hype, the "Apple Store 2.0 underwhelms," says Solon Harmony Dolor at Social Barrel. Yeah, it's not exactly "earth-shattering," says Tim Stevens at Engadget. And "with all the wires, "the whole system is surprisingly messy." Actually, these "Smart Signs" are quite smart, says Teresa Novellino at Portfolio. They drum up customer interest in iPads even when shoppers are looking at other products. Plus, they show other retailers "how the iPad can function in-store as a device to let their customers learn more about a product line." See for yourself: