Apple's iPad devices have proven irresistible for  consumers but some observers have questioned whether the device could ever be useful for business.

But on Sunday some of those thoughts could be put to rest as the iPad made its first foray into the business world.  Apple unveiled a new look to its stores worldwide, and began using dedicated iPads by all its products as sales tools for comparison shopping and customer assistance.

The device acts like digital signage, answering questions from customers and allowing them to search the web and comparison shopping right next to the device its advertising.

The move is part of a new push for the Apple Store, which celebrated its 10th anniversary Thursday.

In the past some industry observers have characterized the iPad as primarily a consumption device, instead of a creation device that professionals would need. For example, the tablet is well suited for browsing the Internet, consuming media and communications.

While the new gig can be characterized as consumption, it is a promising step for tablet aiming to define the post PC era.

The changes come just a few days after the 10th anniversary of Apple's retail stores and usher in what the company calls Apple Store 2.0.

 Apple has since gone on to open more than 320 locations around the world, with most of those in the U.S. In its most recent quarterly earnings call and in briefings from the past several years, the company has said that around half of Mac buyers at the company's retail stores are buying a Mac machine for the first time.

The company sold sold was 4.69 million iPads last quarter, shy of the 6.3 million expected. Sales of iPods were 9 million, versus expectations of 9.85 million.

Analysts said that the weaker-than-expected iPad sales will not detract from strong long-term demand