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  1. hrlaser's Avatar
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       #1  
    Hi

    As Dave Barry would say, I swear I'm not making this up.

    Friend of mine is in Las Vegas for a couple of days. He went over to the Hilton on Paradise to hang out at their Star Trek casino. While there, he called me up to tell me he saw something rather remarkable.

    Apple iPods being sold out of a vending machine at the Hilton's Star Trek casino. Yup, you heard me right. One of those huge machines you see at hotels that usually hold chips, Fritos, candy bars and so on. This one was filled with all models of iPods plus cases, cables, and accessories. He shot a couple pictures of it with his 700p and when he sends them to me I'll put them on my server for the doubters.

    Now I don't know if any of you have seen iPod vending machines anywhere else before, but this really blew my mind. Obviously, they're trying to catch casino mavens with wallets full of money to make a $200-$400 impulse purchase.

    Edited to remove references to the style of vending machine that uses a metal spiral bar feed mechanism. These Zoom Systems machines don't use those. They use a robotic arm that plucks the selected product off the rack and hands it to you through a door. Your CC# is not charged until optical sensors in the door thingie sense that you have taken the product out. However (see below).. the iPods that come out of these machines are empty of any music. And there isn't a machine made (that I know of) that doesn't have some kind of failure rate, so somewhere sometime someone is gonna make a $xxx.xx purchase from one of these things and it'll screw up.

    Zoom Systems' site goes into much more detail about these monsterous machines. iPods are only one line of product sold in them. They're also used for DVDs, CDs, and small farm animals.

    Harv
    Last edited by hrlaser; 07/04/2006 at 01:38 PM.
    Do NOT send email to harv at treocentral dot com - it will never reach me.. forwarding from that address to my real address was hijacked in early 2008, and I can't fix it.. send me a private message instead or email me directly at my RR address..
  2. #2  
    That is crazy...only in Vegas.
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  3. #3  
    Japan too, I've heard.
  4. surge919's Avatar
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    #4  
    I didn't notice if they had iPods, but they have a vending machine with iPod accessories in the mall in Alpharetta.. There is also a real Apple store in the same mall.. it is on the opposite side so I guess it's for the lazy people who don't want to make the trek.
  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Treo
    Japan too, I've heard.
    There were coin operated public showers too last time I was in Japan.
  6. coachcasa's Avatar
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    #6  
    In a Boulder store, my brother came across an iPod vending machine and had to send me the photo to my phone. At first I couldn't figure out what was in teh the machine until he explained it to me! I'm not sure that I would buy my iPod from a vending machine!
  7. hrlaser's Avatar
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       #7  
    Here are some pictures of the iPod vending machine at the Star Trek casino at the Hilton in Las Vegas, taken by my fiend with his 700p's camera.
    http://www.amigazone.com/images/june/zoomshop.zip
    I was mis-informed. This machine doesn't use the spiral feed mechanism like snack vending machines have, but rather a flip forward and robotic arm thingie to hand you your purchase. It also appears to take plastic only, not cash.
    The mfr. of these things is Zoom Systems, so for better pictures, visit their site
    at http://www.zoomsystems.com

    Most of these machines are located at airports. When you buy an iPod out of one, it doesn't plop out aleady loaded with music. It's empty. The machine apparently has no way to buy tracks and transfer them onto the iPod either, so I guess they're fishing for potential customers carrying a laptop with iTunes on it, or people who are willing to make an impulse purchase of a few hundred bucks and then wait until they get to their hotel or back home to load the thing up with audio and use it.

    I still think it's a goofy idea. It reminds me of the old Automats popular in the 40s and 50s where you'd plop in some coins, open a door, and pull out a piece of pie or a sandwich but those had human beings behind them loading up the compartments. These Zoom System machines are human-less.

    Harv
    Do NOT send email to harv at treocentral dot com - it will never reach me.. forwarding from that address to my real address was hijacked in early 2008, and I can't fix it.. send me a private message instead or email me directly at my RR address..
  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by hrlaser
    It's empty. The machine apparently has no way to buy tracks and transfer them onto the iPod either, so I guess they're fishing for potential customers carrying a laptop with iTunes on it, or people who are willing to make an impulse purchase of a few hundred bucks and then wait until they get to their hotel or back home to load the thing up with audio and use it.
    That sucks. It should at least come with a sampler of 20 songs of different genres then.
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  9. #9  
    we have those in our shopping malls in Atlanta. there is even one on one of the Concourses at Hartsfield-Atlanta airport.

    I saw one in the car rental center at Newark International Airport.

    The one I find the most odd is the one in Parameter Mall in Atlanta. The vending machine is a 3 minute walk from the Apple store.
    (I guess it's handy if those Apple store employees frighten you)
    ---
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  10. #10  
    I guess that's a handy way of not having to deal with customer returns. At least it's still covered by the apple warranty, but would suck to get a dud right out of the machine.
  11. #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by theBlaze74
    There were coin operated public showers too last time I was in Japan.
    In Japan they sell anything in vending machines, very handy

    As for coin operated showers, in the past most campsites in europe had those too, now it tends to be included in the price..
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  12. hrlaser's Avatar
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       #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by t2gungho
    That sucks. It should at least come with a sampler of 20 songs of different genres then.
    Yes, exactly. It's monumentally to sell a MUSIC player out of a vending machine for three figures and out it plops with no music on it. They could easily pre-load them with hundreds of songs, sample songs, and / or public domain audio books. I mean unless you're buying it at an airport to take home for a gift, there are bound to be people who are buying them as they are getting ON a plane, not getting off one, and want to rip it out of the package and USE it on the plane. Really dumb to sell them empty, if that is, indeed, how they're doing it.

    The whole concept of selling such expensive products out of a machine seems goofy to me, not to mention how many employees, also known as human beings, such a machine displaces and puts in the unemployment lines.

    Well, I suppose if you have the kind of money to buy something that expensive out of a machine at an airport, you're probably also carrying a laptop with music on it anyway, in which case, who needs the iPod? Just plug some headphones into the laptop and listen.

    Harv
    Do NOT send email to harv at treocentral dot com - it will never reach me.. forwarding from that address to my real address was hijacked in early 2008, and I can't fix it.. send me a private message instead or email me directly at my RR address..
  13. #13  
    Yup, but I think you just touched on the reason why the Ipod isn't as HUGE as it could be. Loading music is still more of a pain than it has to be.

    My grandmother couldn't buy and load songs on to an Ipod if she spent a week on it.
  14. #14  
    I recently saw a similar vending machine selling iPods and accessories at the Macy's mens store (next to the front door) in the trendy Union Square district in San Francisco. The funny thing is that there is a *real* Apple store just down the same street 1 block away that sells the full range of iPods and computers. Why would anyone buy an iPod from a machine from a clothing store when you can buy it at a full Apple store across the street? I'm guessing an impulse buyer might need a side order of a mini iPod to go with their Calvins! Strange!
    Casey
    Sprint 755p, 700p, 650 - I am not a geek! Really!
  15. #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by Casey Cheung
    Why would anyone buy an iPod from a machine from a clothing store when you can buy it at a full Apple store across the street? I'm guessing an impulse buyer might need a side order of a mini iPod to go with their Calvins! Strange!
    I wonder if apple is doing this as a market research experiment (i.e. some portion of people will buy from a vending machine because they do not want to walk into the apple store). Then, once they buy it, if they need immediate assistance, they can just walk down the block?

    I have been in the Mac store here at the South Coast Mall, I havent found the salesmen/women to be pushy.
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  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by t2gungho
    I wonder if apple is doing this as a market research experiment (i.e. some portion of people will buy from a vending machine because they do not want to walk into the apple store). Then, once they buy it, if they need immediate assistance, they can just walk down the block?

    I have been in the Mac store here at the South Coast Mall, I havent found the salesmen/women to be pushy.
    Also, Apple has a strict distrobution channel, so the price is almost always the same no matter where you buy it. If I had been meaning to get around to buying one, and all i had to do was slide my card and it would drop out, I would go for it.
  17. dwman's Avatar
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    #17  
    I saw this in Macy's in SF over the Xmas holiday as well

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