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'Smart Signs' arrive at Apple stores (photos)

Apple phases out paper signage at its stores and is now using iPads instead. Take a look at how they look next to the company's products.

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Josh Lowensohn
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
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A Smart Sign next to a MacBook Air

Apple is making use of Smart Signs around its stores to help sell its products. The iPad-based displays contain information about the adjacent product and replace traditional paper signage.

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Smart Sign selling an iPhone

On smaller devices like the iPhone, the Smart Sign is now the docking mechanism to hold the device when it's not in a customer's hands.

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Smart Signs from the side

The Smart Sign matches the style of previous Apple Store signage, which was contained in clear acrylics.

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iPads helping to sell iPads

One place where Smart Signs look a bit out of place is next to iPads.

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Smart Signs next to iPads

Smart Signs have their home buttons disabled, so customers cannot accidentally quit out of the informational app.

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Smart Sign next to an iMac

A Smart Sign next to the much larger iMac.

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Smart Signs selling iPod touches

Apple is also using Smart Signs to help sell the iPod Touch.

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Tablet meet desktop

A Smart Sign next to a Mac Mini, Apple's bring your own display, keyboard, and mouse computer.

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Smart Sign from the back

A single cable feeds out of the back of the Smart Sign base, feeding the unit power.

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Deciding on rate plans

One of the advantages of using a digital device for signage is that the app can be used to calculate and update information. In this case, potential iPhone buyers can see what rate plans are available,and see the price adjust accordingly.

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Calling for help on a Smart Sign

When a customer asks for help from a Smart Sign, it sends out an alert to Apple store employees, who can claim the request and get a map of where that customer is.

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Smart Sign from the side

Apple is using its latest-generation iPad units for the Smart Signs.

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Even for the Shuffles...

Apple is using Smart Signs for even its least expensive products. In this case, that's the $49 iPod Shuffle.

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