Rumors of Apple retail nixing boxed software persist

A new report adds fuel to the fire that Apple is scaling back on boxed software and peripherals at its retail stores to make room for customer service.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
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

Apple's San Francisco retail store.
Apple's San Francisco retail store, snapped during the launch of the iPhone 3GS back in 2009. James Martin/CNET

Building on reports from a month ago that Apple was planning to drastically scale back on boxed software at its retail stores, a new report claims that such a plan will include other computer peripherals as well.

The reasoning behind the move, as explained by CNET contributor Jim Dalrymple on his personal blog The Loop, is that Apple plans to expand its personalized in-store setup service. This is the one that has Apple Retail Store employees helping new Mac, iPad, and iPod buyers get their new hardware up and running following their purchases.

To make room for these one-on-one sessions, something's got to go, which is where the removal of software boxes from the storefront comes into place. Echoing a report by MacRumors from February, Dalrymple says that boxed software--mainly games--will get the boot from some Apple store shelves and stockrooms. Things like printers, scanners, and hard drives are also likely to be stricken from store floors and demo spaces, though they could end up staying in store stock rooms to be made available for an on-the-spot purchase, the report claims.

These changes are said to be affecting "about 80 percent" of Apple's retail stores once they go into place, leaving the other 20 percent (likely the large stores with plenty of space) unaffected. The changes could also play into making extra room for support and training that make up a part of Apple's recently announced Joint Venture support service that will serve small-business customers with two-hour training workshops.