According to sources, Apple is planning a major new addition to their Apple Store Genius Bars; an addition that will change the way the company handles Genius Bar support. When an iOS device user comes to the Genius Bar with advanced hardware issues that are deemed unrepairable via software, these users commonly find Apple willing to replace their device with a working unit.

With users typically keeping so much important content on their devices like contacts, calendars, text message conversations, media data, apps, application content, and more; the need for device backups is critical. So critical that Apple warns users that they should backup their iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch prior to the aforementioned iOS device Genius Bar exchange process. However, many users find themselves in situations where they are unable to backup their device prior to their Genius Bar appointment. Whether the reason be time, location, or something else, Apple is planning a solution for this issue.

Currently being prototyped inside of Apple’s top-secret “future” Apple Store labs near the company’s headquarters, a place where peaks into Apple’s retail future have leaked from in the past, is a wireless server system for Genius Bars that will automatically, securely, and temporarily store user content.

The concept is best explained through an example…

This example is based on how Apple is currently testing these WiFi hubs: A user brings in their iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch to the Genius Bar to be swapped for a fully working unit. The person didn’t back up their device. Now, instead of having to conduct an iCloud wireless backup or go home for a tethered iTunes backup, the Genius Bar will have the ability to mirror an iCloud backup, but onto a local store server. After the device is swapped, the Genius can pull the content right back from the server onto the new device. The content is then automatically wiped from the store server.

Asked why this system is necessary with the availability of iCloud backups and in-store-WiFi, a source explained, that in this case, iCloud backups are not an efficient solution. Sure iCloud backups are perfect for backing up each night, but for Genius Bars that need to quickly move through the constant flow of customer visits, backups to distant iCloud servers simply take too long. These in store, local backups are said to take much less time than a normal, distant iCloud backup. This planned system also has the added benefit of assisting users without iCloud accounts.

The system is still in very early stages of testing, and many retail projects inside of Apple’s labs never see the light of day. However, if this system is ever launched, Apple is planning to pilot the system in select stores by mid-2013. A full scale launch, if Apple is content with the system’s performance and usage, should occur later that year.

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