Apple's Hush-Hush Weekend Retail Secret Revealed

The marketing gurus at Apple sure know how to generate some buzz, don't they? Early last week, word leaked out that Apple was planning something special for its Apple Store's 10th retail anniversary. Around 10-15 employees from each Apple Store were called in to work an overnight shift on Saturday through mid-Sunday, and were shut off from the outside world. Cell phones had to be locked in the main office, each employee had to sign an NDA with Apple, and black curtains were draped over the windows. Some suggested Apple was getting ready to launch a new product, which would have been strange timing had the world ended over the weekend. Well, the weekend came and went, the world didn't end, and Apple didn't launch a new product. So what was this all about?

"Apple Store 2.0" is what many are calling it. Rather than launch a new product, Apple revamped its retail stores with interactive iPad 2 displays. These high-demand tablets are being used as sort of interactive information cards housed in plastic cases next to retail products. Pressing the home button doesn't do anything, though depending on the product you're looking at, you can view the specs, compare devices, look up support, and more.

"What Apple's doing with this latest refresh is say they want not only their products to be worth more than diamonds, but they want their shopping experience to be too," Carl Howe, an analyst with the Yankee Group, told USA Today.

Pretty cool? Sure. A bit underwhelming given all the buzz? Absolutely.