Apple's new retail chief, John Browett, told leadership teams in Apple Stores that the mothership (not his words) "messed up" (his words). In a rare gaffe, Browett's team apparently tried what Dow Jones Newswires says were new staffing formulas. This led to shifts being cut and general pandemonium among some retail employees (and a lot of bloggers), but no layoffs as some reported.
The pandemonium wasn't really that palpable, but Apple is reversing course and going back to its former staffing plans. The company also assured employees it is hiring. With a new iPhone and possibly new iPad on the near horizon, coupled with the holidays not that far off, Apple is going to need all hands on deck.
Some excellent color commentary by Jim Dalrymple here.