Home Apple Launches its Own Check-in Service

Apple Launches its Own Check-in Service

Don’t worry – Apple isn’t trying to launch the next Foursquare – but the company has developed its own check-in service that integrates with Apple’s in-house applications. The new service went live this week.

The lineup of Apple-owned applications that make up the service includes “Concierge,” a push-enabled app used by employees to receive notifications of customers with appointments entering the store and an app called “Scout” used by managers to establish precise physical locations within the store as part of the setup process.

For Apple customers, the support for these services will arrive in the Apple Store application, already available for Apple mobile devices.

How Customer Check-ins Will Work

This news comes from Macstories.net, an Apple news and reviews site with the launch exclusive. According to their article, the service went live Monday in Apple’s retail stores.

In addition to receiving check-in notices from customers, employees can also use the “Concierge” app to check on the lineup of customers waiting to be seen, based on appointment times and what time they checked in. The queue where this activity is managed is called – you’ll never guess – yes, the “iQueue.”

“Scout,” meanwhile, is the configuration utility that is used just once by management to establish the various locations within the retail store itself (e.g. “the iMac table,” “Genius Bar,” etc.) It allows for close proximity check-ins. Macstories did not say whether or not Apple has installed specialized hardware in its stores to allow for this, but that seems likely to us.

Yes, Those Mockups Look Odd

Another Apple-watching blog, AppleInsider, also posted on this news. They noticed the screenshots posted on Macstories were wrapped in an iPhone 4 case, but displayed the word “iPod” at the top. However, upon contacting the original article’s author, Cody Fink, this was an error on his part. Fink confirmed that he wrapped the original images sent to him for better presentation on the Web. Fink has now added an update to the blog post to clarify.

Update Your Apple Store App!

On the consumer end, there isn’t going to be a new mobile application to download. Instead, an updated Apple Store application will integrate the new functionality. The updated app will ask customers upon entering a store if it can send a push notification alerting store staff to their arrival.

We just checked the app updates on our iPhone 4, and it appears the new functionality has gone live this morning.

According to the update description, this feature will only be available to users with iOS 4, the latest version of the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad mobile operating system.

The full description also makes mention of a few other new features, too. It reads:

What’s New in Version 1.1

– Add engraving and gift wrapping to select purchases from the Apple Online Store.

– Reserve products for pickup at an Apple Retail Store.

– Check in for reservations and request help within stores (iOS 4 required).

– Add Apple Retail Store reservations directly to iCal.

Please note: With Location Services on and the Apple Store app open, Apple will use your location to identify nearby Apple Retail Stores and to offer additional services when you are in a store. If you have previously opted into the Apple Store app using location but do not want this new feature, you can update your Location Services preferences in General Settings.

Source, Images Credit: Macstories

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