The "new" Apple stores don't look all that different, and that seems to be OK for the company itself.
They're still crowded, still pumping out music by hip iTunes superstars, and still full of lots of shiny new Apple products. And, yes, the geniuses are still there.
What is new is pretty subtle. No more paper, for instance. Now, your signs are all broadcast via iPad 2s. You can search through specs and prices, and can press a button to summon a helper.
U.S. & World
Pretty cool, and a way to get just about everyone to at least try an iPad 2, even if shortages keep some from taking one home.
Apple has also updated its "store" app. This is a pretty cool change, frankly overdue. Now, you can see where your appointment is, and how long it will take you to actually see someone if you make an appointment. Kind of like the DMV website. A good idea. An even cooler idea? Let us know how much inventory of a specific product is in a specific store. That would be awesome.
Finally, an update to what used to be only for new iPad owners: In-store training. It's now open to buyers of all products. This makes sense. If you get something new, the company will train you, on the spot, to use it well. A very Apple-like touch -- and maybe it keeps you away from Genius Bar appointments for a little while.
We don't have to suggest that you check it out -- we know that if you're a fan, you're probably on your way.
Scott admits, he's tempted to buy every time he's in one of those stores. He's on Twitter: @scottbudman