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Apple patent reveals its retail management tools

We're used to seeing patents for things like device form factors and new functionality, but a recent Apple filing offers a look at your typical Apple Store like you've never seen it before: a calculated retail battleground where every product has a place, and no layout decision is without purpose. As AppleInsider reports, the patent in question is titled "System and Method for Planning Layout of a Retail Store."

The filing details the interactive software that is used to promote each physical product in the store, providing up-to-date information gleaned from a central database. This allows Apple to roll out changes to its signage on a global scale in an instant, rather than relying on individual retail outlets or regional management systems to update when they see fit.

If you've visited an Apple Store as of late, you've probably noticed the iPads with product information buddied up with each Mac, iPhone and iPad on offer. The patent reveals that these aren't one-off information kiosks, but rather a network of signage either custom-designed for each store layout, or built from pre-determined "blocks," ensuring that each item is paired with product and service information that is updated in real time.

The end result is a retail experience that puts big box stores to shame, and an atmosphere where the products are practically able to sell themselves.

[Via: TechCrunch]