iPad 2 Faceoff: Best Buy and Apple Store Showdown

[Cross-posted on the PlaceMatters blog.]

iPad 2 launch - Photo by Robert Scoble
iPad 2 launch. iPad 1 on left and iPad 2 on right. Photo by Robert Scoble.

Anticipating long lines and limited supply, and believing we’d increase our odds of both scoring a new iPad2 on Friday afternoon when Apple kicked off sales of its latest toy, we split up. Turns out we were wrong – the limit was only one device at Best Buy – but we both made it home that evening with the latest flagship Apple product. I’ve owned my iPad2 for just a few days now but adore it already. An hour-and-twenty minute movie on my flight to D.C. burned only 16% of the battery and was gorgeous to watch. It’s sleek, slick, powerful, and smooth. Scoble is right: it’s all about the apps, and the iPad app universe is nothing short of fantastic.

This morning’s post isn’t about the iPad itself, though, but about the folks who designed the buying experience at the two stores. And the punch is as predictable as it is important: design matters.

The Apple store experience, in typical Apple fashion, was all about the customer. Smiles and free water to everyone waiting in line, a welcoming handshake for every customer as they entered the store, a bunch of staff on the floor quickly helping everyone as they walked in, cashing folks out on the spot with their mobile cash registers (which are themselves pretty cool), staff willing and able to answer questions and help customers find accessory products, salespeople congratulating customers, free advice about using the new iPad2, mini-classes going on in the back, the Apple store itself with it’s so-cool-I-kinda-want-to-hang-out-here vibe.

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