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Apple fanbois get app to summon store staff

Want to catch gopher's eye? There's an app for that

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Cutting right back on the annoying wait for human interaction while in a shop, Apple stores in the US are test-driving an iOS app that lets fanbois hit a button to alert store employees that they want to talk to them.

It should shave seconds off the whole "approaching a store employee and making eye contact" process.

iPads with the internally-developed app are located next to products on the display tables at the selected Apple stores. Customers hit a button on the iPad to summon assistance, while the iPod Touches carried by Apple employees let the gophers know about the demand. An on-screen map of the store lets them locate the customer in need.

The app has been trialled in Apple stores for several weeks according to the NYT, in preparation for Black Friday - the start of the Christmas shopping season.

Customers who download the app onto their own Apple gadget can request help or particular products before even entering the store, meaning, in theory, that customers can have their orders ready for them when they arrive. Though pre-ordering with store collection can, of course, be done from the Apple store website.

The iPod Touches carried by staff also allow them to process transactions: according to the NYT story they are outfitted with credit card readers, a bar code scanner and a battery pack. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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