Retail iPhone Updater Could Be Awesome — and an Awesome Pain for Employees

Mark Gurman, in his latest Power On newsletter:

Apple is planning a new system for its retail stores that will update the software on iPhones prior to sale. The company has developed a proprietary pad-like device that the store can place boxes of iPhones on top of. That system can then wirelessly turn on the iPhone, update its software and then power it back down — all without the phone’s packaging ever being opened. The company aims to begin rolling this out to its stores before the end of the year.

That would be super nice for customers to avoid dealing with a software update as their first experience with an exciting new gadget. But I can also see it being a huge headache for Backstage employees to pull all the inventory of unopened phones off the shelves, wait for them to finish their updating deal on that pad, and then restock them all. Especially with how frequent minor updates and security patches get rolled out these days, that’s a massive amount of new labor to add onto already-busy retail employees.

I’ll be interested to hear if Apple’s worked out a nifty system to streamline it all.


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