19 August 20159to5Mac:
With this Apple Store refresh next week, Apple will be pulling these aging iPad 2s from most of its stores. Instead of Smart Signs, Apple will begin pre-loading price information and product details onto display iPhones, iPads, and Macs themselves. Apple will use the new space to install more devices that potential customers can test on the show floor. The recently launched iPad mini displays for the Apple Watch will not be going away. Apple will also showcase iPhones with redesigned white display docks.
Some larger Apple Stores will retain a few Smart Signs as Apple conducts this transition. Sources say that, beyond the desire to feature more products on store tables and to replace the aging iPad 2s, Apple is removing Smart Signs because it found that the setup is confusing for some customers. Retail employees note that some customers were unaware that the Smart Signs were simply informational items and became confused when they could not fully use the device as a demo iPad.
The Smart Signs were a concept that sounded a lot cooler than how they were realised in stores. The information they provided wasn’t very smart, like a static microsite of some product specs. In contrast, the iPads that are attached to Apple Watch display units are truly smart with the second-display information keeping in sync with the current views on the Watch. These plaque displays are not going away.
The Smart Signs were also flawed by their physical dimensions, iPads are not that small. They are pretty big. It made the Apple Store look cluttered and tied up space that could be instead used for more real demo devices. Having a Smart Sign iPad accompanying an actual iPad was comical. Per Gurman’s report, Apple’s new solution is boring but in the end achieves the same result without the downsides, all things considered.