I think insiders aren’t just seeing books when they look at the match up between Apple and B&N. They’re looking at the logistics and the question is, does B&N do anything better than Apple?
Imagine for a moment that interest in the Genius Bar trebled. So great in fact, the traffic became a hinderance to retail and Apple decides to expand on the Genius Bar concept?
Could Apple retrofit existing B&N locations to serve as satellite Genius Bars/mini-retail and perhaps, giving the larger shops, theaters, hobbyist corners, and classrooms? These larger shops could also fill an internal need to serve as metro-central locations for in-house ceremony and training.
Think of the people who would populate these locations? Some of the world’s most clever Mac users could turn these places into Mecca. Fill these locations with lot’s of furniture, just like bookstores. People would come to read their iPads, sip coffee, work, or play, or just to be a part of a group.
Just because Steve Jobs says, most people don’t read books, doesn’t mean he doesn’t value the written word. I think those who know Jobs, knows he loves print and enjoys a good book. But, just because B&N is all about books, and Apple wouldn’t be interested in anything B&N has to offer, is premature.
Apple stores are of a unique design and that design is part of the brand, so Apple isn’t going to start converting B&N stores into Apple stores; they would simply blow it in place and start over, but these existing B&N stores could be retrofitted as Genius Bars at a savings of a few billion.
A fountain would make for a nice hub for the remaining quadrants to be populated with special interests. I’d go so far as to build a second floor with a circular balcony overlooking the fountain. This floor would be retail and staff offices with a single entry and exit. Through the front door and up the right-hand stairwell leads to retail, otherwise go straight through to the Den of Iniquity; or, reading lounge, which is what your average PC user will do and suddenly find themselves in the thick of macmindedness™.
A stand-alone Genius Bar could benefit from B&Ns existing floor plans. Give me a local B&N store and in 90-days I will deliver not only an Apple satellite affiliate, but would give myself, and sixty others jobs.
In the evenings, after locking up the second floor, my girlfriend can promote her aerobics classes and I’ll hang out in Starbucks…
… and then I woke up – | – !