A patent filed by Apple suggests they could be looking to building a virtual shopping complex where customers, represented by avatars, can shop and interact with one another and with staff.
The drawings in the patent surely don’t do justice to how Apple would eventually make the virtual world look, but do raise some interesting concepts, such as having different avatars for those with differing statuses — such as a first time shopper, an expert in a particular subject, or members of shop staff. They may also be tagged to display information about their expertise, their real geographical location, and such like.
Nothing may ever come of it, though the concept is interesting. If Apple want to implement it, perhaps they could team up with the University of Geneva, who were experimenting with adding touch to online shopping. Now that would be pretty amazing — I’d never have to leave the house again!
Apple Patent (via Virtual Economic Forum)