Apple said to release iPhone app for in-store appointments

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Apple plans to release a new "Concierge" application for the iPhone and iPod touch that will allow customers to schedule appointments at retail stores, AppleInsider has been told.

According to a source that has proven reliable in the past, the App Store software will allow anyone to view memberships and make appointments for services at retail stores, like the Genius Bar or One to One. No release date or the alleged application was provided.

The information on the potential new iPhone application was corroborated Monday in a separate report from MacRumors.

Customers can currently schedule appointments and make ProCare reservations via Apple's retail Web site. In addition to One to One and the Genius Bar, reservations can be made for personal shopping, workshops, youth programs and businesses. The description would suggest that the App Store software would simply be an extension of these capabilities.

In recent weeks, Apple has been expanding the relationship between its Web site and its retail outlets. Earlier this month, the Cupertino, Calif., company unveiled a holiday shopping in-store pickup option. The system will allow customers the ability to ensure products will be available for them to purchase before the holidays. Reserve and Pick Up allows customers to reserve an iPod or Mac online and pick it up at the nearest retail store between Dec. 15 and 24.

Apple has big plans for its retail stores in the coming year. Ron Johnson, the company's senior vice president of Retail, said last week that 50 new locations will debut in 2010.

Apple will also go bigger, as Johnson said officials realized that some of their stores were too small. All future locations, he said, will be at least "three tables wide," and the Mac maker also plans to have more "significant stores" that attract attention. The company's famous glass cube store on Fifth Ave. in New York City was said this year to be the most profitable store in the pricey district. It is estimated that the store has annual sales of more than $350 million.