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Monday, March 07, 2011, 11:20 am PT (02:20 pm ET)

Apple to cut products from retail stores and expand personalized setup

Apple reportedly plans to ax some hardware and software products from its store shelves to make room for an expansion of its popular personalized in-store setup service.

Jim Dalrymple at The Loop reported Monday that Apple plans to cut some products from its stores, including printers, scanners and potentially hard drives. Though they will not be displayed in the store, such peripherals will still be available for sale if a customer requests them.

Apple is also said to drastically cut the number of games it sells in stores. Sources reportedly said that the company will get rid of 32 game titles from its retail locations, leaving each store with only about 8 games on display.

Unlike the hardware, which will still be available for sale, the games will not be available for purchase in Apple stores, as such software is said to not be strong sellers. Customers will reportedly be advised that they can download titles for Mac OS X from the Mac App Store.

In order to expand its personalized setup program, Dalrymple said that new employees are being hired in some locations. In other stores, the employee that sells a product will be the one to do the setup.

The personal setup service is said to be viewed as an opportunity for Apple to differentiate itself from competitors. With the service, customers are guided through setting up their Mac, signing up for an iTunes account, and given a quick walkthrough of the Mac experience.

In February, it was said that the initial success of the Mac App Store has sped up Apple's plans to cease all sales of boxed software at its retail stores. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company allegedly plans to rely solely on digital distribution of software, and in the process will clear out space in its retail stores.

The company has also halted retail boxed sales of one of its own major digital products, MobileMe, late last month. The cloud-based syncing service, which costs $99 a year, is rumored to receive a significant makeover in the near future.