Tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of Apple’s retail stores and word is the company plans some kind of product announcement to mark it — a big product announcement. It may not come until the weekend, but there are a lot of reports that Apple’s setting up store schedules to handle extra work, which we can only interpret as customer traffic. And, employees working the overnight shift will be required to sign an NDA and lock their cell phones in the store’s main office.
Boy Genius Report, which first reported all of this on Monday, says Apple stores have received some kind of hardware to install, and expect more to arrive by Friday or Saturday. Everything’s locked up until after the stores close on Saturday night. Working in the stores beginning late Saturday through what’s presumed to be the announcement will be “visuals staff, a manager, a business team member, a few Genius team members, one back-of-house employee, and a few generic Apple specialists.” And, says 9to5 Mac, Australian stores will be undergoing “visual merchandising” while the stores are closed.
eWeek notes an announcement now would be “wildly outside the company’s usual timeframe for releasing its latest wares.” Apple Insider speculates the company could launch its iCloud service, or simply kick off a series of sales and promotions.
One thing all of these rumors prove: No one knows what’s going on.
Wired tosses some cold water on all of this. “Why should anyone trust thousands of retail employees to keep a lid on the release of a new product or service..?” asks writer Brian X Chen. He notes Apple usually keeps employees in the dark about new products, and doesn’t see why Cupertino would suddenly open up to them now. He figures this is all about some internal reorganization no one on the outside will even notice.
I don’t buy that. You don’t need new hardware, black curtains on the store windows and revamped displays to announce a re-org.