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Apple’s “Genius Bars” about to get a big makeover beginning in March

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Apple’s Genius Bars are about to get a big makeover.

Starting on March 9, help desk appointments at Apple Stores will be triaged based on the urgency of a customer’s problem, according to 9to5Mac, a website with detailed coverage of the company. A broken iPhone screen would likely take precedence over someone who needs help connecting to iCloud, for example.

Currently, Genius Bar appointments are made on a first-come, first-served basis. Customers walk into a store, request to speak with an expert, and reserve a specific time for an appointment.

Beginning next month, customers will receive a series of text messages prior to their Genius Bar appointment. The first will confirm the appointment and provide an estimated wait time. The second will tell the customer to come to the Apple Store, and the third will notify the customer when the Genius Bar technician is ready to help.

9to5Mac reports that the new Genius Bar system will first be tested exclusively in the United States, and the text message system will apply only to in-store walk-ins. Customers can still make appointments online, and Apple has no immediate plans to change that system.

A spokeswoman for Apple declined to comment on the new Genius Bar initiative.

The Genius Bar makeover is part of a larger redesign of Apple Stores under new retail CEO Angela Ahrendts. The former Burberry CEO has recently overhauled employees’ uniforms and shaken up management. In a recent New Yorker article, Apple’s design chief, Jonathan Ive, revealed that he and Ahrendts are working together to change the look of the Apple Store. The article was thin on details but noted that the new Apple Watch display areas would be carpeted.

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