Imagine this: you use the Apple Store app (free) to buy an accessory for your iOS device, walk into in Apple Store, take the product off the shelf, and walk out of the store with it. According to MacRumors, this self-checkout capability may be coming as early as this week. Apparently, as you leave the store you'll simply show the clerk your receipt on your iPhone. However, this only applies to accessories. If you use the app to buy a high-value item such as an iPod or a computer, a clerk will still have to get it from the stockroom. But you will be able to pre-purchase these items through the app. The purchases you make are linked to your Apple ID and credit card, just as when you buy apps.
In addition, Apple recenlty introduced the option of buying a product online and then going to an Apple Store to pick it up. And the stores already use roving clerks with EasyPay iPods and iPhones in hand so that you no longer have to go to a counter. If you want to buy something, you walk up to one of these clerks, who completes the transaction on the spot.
Apple is already revolutionizing retail stores, and this is just one more step. The Apple Stores produce more profit per square foot than any other retailer in the U.S. And it's no wonder, given the friendly atmosphere, the great products, the Genius Bar, the helpful clerks, and the ease of transactions.