A new report out yesterday alleges that Apple is working on an interesting new solution for Geniuses at its retail stores that would bypass the need for tethered desktop iTunes or wireless iCloud backups for people seeking iOS device replacements.
The solution would let Geniuses to quickly and effortlessly backup your entire iPad, iPhone or iPod touch prior to the device exchange process. Likewise, Geniuses would later on be able to easily move that data back onto the replacement devices.
The solution is reportedly being prototyped at Apple’s top-secret Apple Store labs near the company’s Cupertino, California headquarters…
The usually accurate Mark Gurman, writing for 9to5Mac, talked to unnamed sources that described “a wireless server system for Genius Bars that will automatically, securely and temporarily store user content”.
The author illustrates the system through the following example scenario:
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.
The primary benefit of the solution: the convenience of in-store backup and restore process, peace of mind that comes with securing data on a local in-store server and increased speed compared to wirelessly backing up device data to a remote iCloud server over an Internet connection.
Another advantage of this planned system, Gurman writes, is “assisting users without iCloud accounts”.
This in-store local iOS device backup and restore solution is reportedly still in “very early stages of testing” and Apple is planning to pilot it in select stores by mid-2013, with a full-scale launch due later that year.
Though Gurman’s sources have proven pretty accurate in the past, it should be noted there’s no guarantee that Apple will ever launch this system.
The company is known for prototyping various solutions that never see the light of day because they may not prove feasible, cost effective or user friendly.
It would seem impractical to use a local server to backup and restore your iOS device data at an Apple Store. After all, wouldn’t Geniuses better serve customers by backing up their iOS device data via desktop iTunes?
On the other hand, bear in mind that a lot of people would not feel comfortable knowing a Genius is about to copy their private information and content onto their computer.
In this sense, a local wireless backup and restore server mirroring the iCloud infrastructure is a much better solution.
The customer would presumably secure their device backup with a password so Geniuses couldn’t back up or restore iOS gadgets needing replacement without the user providing their iCloud credentials.
Is this something Apple should be doing or should they stick to tethered iTunes backups?