In reaction to an ever-increasing number of visitors to its Genius Bars and limited space to seat them, Apple is testing out a new configuration that increases Genius Bar capacity, and emphasizes the use of iPads to manage service records. The designers’ solution to Genius Bar crowds was to pivot the GB table by 90-degrees so that it’s perpendicular to the rear wall of the store, and to eliminate the iconic kids seats and tables. A photo of the new set-up has surfaced showing a tall, 10-foot long wood counter at the rear of a store, with black stools on both sides. The table is set about 15 inches out from the rear wall of the store to allow employees to move from one side to another. There is at least one currency drawer in the table shown in the photo, but there are no visible outlets on the top surface for network, electrical or other connections. Electric and other cables are visible below the table, connecting to plugs set in the floor. Drawers are visible in the rear wall for Genius Bar equipment and supplies. Apple is in the midst of enlarging or moving several early stores to increase their size to improve the ability to accommodate more visitors. However, not every shopping mall or other venue has space available for a larger Apple store. This new 90-degree Genius Bar turn solution would be particularly effective at narrow stores where there is limited room for seated customers. The improvement seems to come at the expense of the very popular kids area, with its round, black seats and iPads loaded with children’s software. It’s not clear if this design change will be rolled out to other stores or if it’s simply being tested at this specific store. Update: It took less than 24 hours for tipsters to locate this test GB at the Los Gatos (N. Calif.) retail store. After the break are photos of the new GB in action and how the GB looked when the store opened. In August 2012 The Loop reported that Apple stores Genius Bars host 50,000 visitors a day worldwide, or an average of 133 per store. Naturally, the actual per-store figure is much more diverse than the average, with high-profile stores hosting perhaps 10 times the average figure, and small, mall-based stores hosting just 10% to 20% of the average figure.
Check this comparison of the previous and test Genius Bar set-ups.
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