I planned on buying a new iMac on Black Friday. In order to make the process smoother, I ordered online at 6am and chose personal pickup. Approximately one hour after I placed my order I received an email saying that my order was ready. Everything was going well since I would be able to coordinate my Apple store visit with other Black Friday observations at the mall, however my experience with the Apple retail store was very disappointing.
My first interaction with the Apple store was a greeter assigned to the entrance. After saying that I was picking up an iMac that I ordered online, he told me to go see “the guy with the grey hat”, pointing in the general direction of the rear of the store. Relative to other Apple stores this particular location is small and I would venture a guess that it is one of the smallest out there, a carry-over from the early years of Apple retail. After a few minutes it became clear that the “guy with the grey hat” wouldn’t be available any time soon, so I was off to find someone else.
Even though there were plenty of red shirts visible in the store, everyone seemed focused on some task. After finding another worker that actually was not with another customer, I was told to go see another person for personal pickup, who unsurprisingly was with another customer. A few more minutes go by and I finally get my iMac. Overall I didn’t find the experience too magical and in fact, compared to other stores during Black Friday including Macy’s, I would classify Apple’s customer service as inferior.
1) I am not a fan of having to talk with a greeter at the Apple store entrance only to be shuffled to someone who clearly is not free to assist me and repeat why I am in the store. The whole process seems highly inefficient. Instead, getting my information and then relaying that to another employee who can come forward to help me seems more enjoyable. This process may actually exist in other Apple stores and I almost remember something like this occurring to me in the past, but it has been a few years.
2) Apple retail employees have different tasks even though you would never know it because everyone wears the same shirt color. Some workers do not deal with money, others only go around answering questions. This scenario becomes tricky when trying to buy products or pick up previous orders. Compare this to Macy’s where mostly anyone you find walking around can hop over to the nearby register and take care of your order.
3) The floor layout is just unnecessarily chaotic as people are standing around for various tasks such as purchasing product or getting tech support. Generally the front of the store is geared towards selling product with the back dedicated for the Genius Bar, but the middle zone is a very awkward area with people randomly standing around.
In previous years, I recall Apple have a more traditional check-out process for gift cards and other smaller items such as iPods, but such a layout did not exist this time around. Maybe I’m being a bit unfair and I just timed it wrong?
Apple retail just isn’t working anymore and you clearly have numerous objectives to accomplish in 2014.
Good Luck, Sammy the Walrus IV
P.S. I’m enjoying the iMac
I’ve actually found going to the Apple store lately is not as enjoyable as it used to be. The front door greeter is a particularly dumb idea, because that person adds nothing to the visit unless, I suppose, you’re just totally unfamiliar with Apple, electronics, or shopping in any capacity. I recently went in and was greeted by a guy at the door and I asked him if it was possible to arrange to buy a new iPhone 5S for someone as a gift and have them come in later and pick up the new phone and swap their old one at the same time. Basically, I was willing to pay for the phone but not take it with me, and have the gift recipient come claim it later. The greeter’s answer? “No.” That was it. “No.” Not, “You can buy a gift card in the amount of a phone,” or, “Y’know, we can’t do that because the person might want a different phone, more memory, or they might want the Apple Care protection plan, and they might want to trade in their old phone, and because of the requirements of the carriers, all of those things have to be done in one transaction.” No other suggestions — ‘Why not buy a nice iPod Touch and if they don’t like it they can swap it for the phone?’ Nothing other than the word, “No.” And a head shake. So I left and bought other gifts at other stores.
I also agree on the employees in general. They used to want to help everyone, but now they seem to have picked up the bad habit of not making eye contact, or looking like they’re too busy but then walking over to a group of other employees and striking up a conversation about ‘Game of Thrones’ or something.
I’m sure their sales remain strong, but it’s a bad forward indicator when you have a lot of people on the sales floor who aren’t helping anyone, and in some cases might be actually alienating good customers who want to spend money. This kind of thing has a way of infecting a business if it’s not tackled early-on.
The first Apple Store.
On December 7th, 1967, The Beatles opened their first business enterprise, the Apple shop, popularly called ‘the Apple boutique’. The exterior of the Apple shop was covered in a psychedelic mural, featuring a colour gradation, as seen on the Apple computer logo of the 1970s…
I don’t know if that’s even ‘likely’ true, but I doubt Cook would say it publicly if he didn’t have a solid reason to believe it. This is an interesting interview to read, and pretty brief. I’m a believer that it is shitty for companies to keep cash overseas just to avoid paying taxes (and whine like 4-year olds about tax rates, which are *not* too high, especially since most of them never pay shit), but it’s worth hearing what Cook’s suggestions are to make it easier and less expensive to get them to move that money back to the States, wherever it makes sense. (by that, i mean, there’s no reason apple or other companies should invest exclusively in the u.s.; other countries buy and sell their products, make them welcome, provide public services and infrastructure, and they should get their fair share of the cash, too. but it shouldn’t be sitting in banks in Singapore just because apple or oracle or google don’t want to pay u.s. taxes on it.)
In March 2010, just a couple of weeks before the iPad was due to be released publicly, I had a reason to contact Steve [Jobs]. A friend of mine was dying of liver disease and I was going to San Francisco to hopefully see and communicate with her while it was still possible. She was a friend from my Adobe days and was very much into technology. I thought it would be a treat for her to see an iPad. And I had one. But until the product was officially released I could not show it to anyone without permission from Apple management… [read more here]
This is a strange video. In 1978, Todd Rundgren was basically predicting YouTube and the Internet (which existed at the time, but only for DARPA, and it was not available to anyone outside the government (and barely available to them, either)). He obviously doesn’t get it all exactly right, but in the course of dismissing what were then called ‘Video Discs’, he’s saying hard media has no future because computers, software, and ‘interactive cable’ would combine to create the future delivery mechanism for video programming.
One thing he gets wrong is to say that music is more insulated from this disruption than TV or film, and obviously that wasn’t the case. At that time I’m sure it sounded crazy to say that ‘in 25 years’ people might have computers with 1GB of storage in their homes. (remember, in 1978, the Apple II was still new and it had 4KB of RAM.)
(another thing he gets wrong is suggesting SNL might not last)
Tim Cook, announcing iBooks 3, just in time for the hurricane.
I’m reading Nate Silver’s “The signal and the Noise” and David Bezmozgis’s “The Free World”. On my iPad Nook app. Because, y’know, it’s not made or sold by Amazon.
Another reason why an Apple/Nest acquisition doesn’t add up is because, quite frankly, it just doesn’t add up. Google is paying $3.2 billion for Nest Labs, an astronomical amount for a company as stingy as Apple.
For some context, Apple’s most expensive acquisition to date was the $404 million it paid to acquire NeXT (and Steve Jobs).
Now if we take a look at Apple’s 10 most expensive acquisitions with a publicized purchase price, here’s what we come up with.
NeXT - $404 million
Power Computing - $100 million
P.A. Semi - $278 million
Quattro Wireless - $275 million
Intrinsity - $121 million
C3 Technologies - $267 million
Anobit - $390 million
AuthenTec - $356 million
PrimeSense - $345 million
Topsy - $200 million
Grignon had been part of the iPhone rehearsal team at Apple and later at the presentation site in San Francisco’s Moscone Center. He had rarely seen Jobs make it all the way through his 90-minute show without a glitch. Jobs had been practicing for five days, yet even on the last day of rehearsals the iPhone was still randomly dropping calls, losing its Internet connection, freezing or simply shutting down.
“At first it was just really cool to be at rehearsals at all — kind of like a cred badge,” Grignon says. Only a chosen few were allowed to attend. “But it quickly got really uncomfortable. Very rarely did I see him become completely unglued — it happened, but mostly he just looked at you and very directly said in a very loud and stern voice, ‘You are [expletive] up my company,’ or, ‘If we fail, it will be because of you.’ He was just very intense. And you would always feel an inch tall.” Grignon, like everyone else at rehearsals, knew that if those glitches showed up during the real presentation, Jobs would not be blaming himself for the problems. “It felt like we’d gone through the demo a hundred times, and each time something went wrong,” Grignon says. “It wasn’t a good feeling.”
The preparations were top-secret. From Thursday through the end of the following week, Apple completely took over Moscone. Backstage, it built an eight-by-eight-foot electronics lab to house and test the iPhones. Next to that it built a greenroom with a sofa for Jobs. Then it posted more than a dozen security guards 24 hours a day in front of those rooms and at doors throughout the building. No one got in without having his or her ID electronically checked and compared with a master list that Jobs had personally approved. The auditorium where Jobs was rehearsing was off limits to all but a small group of executives. Jobs was so obsessed with leaks that he tried to have all the contractors Apple hired — from people manning booths and doing demos to those responsible for lighting and sound — sleep in the building the night before his presentation. Aides talked him out of it.
When a company called FlatWorld Interactives LLC filed suit against Apple just over a year ago, it looked like a typical “patent troll” lawsuit against a tech company, brought by someone who no longer had much of a business beyond lawsuits.
Court documents unsealed this week reveal who’s behind FlatWorld, and it’s anything but typical. FlatWorld is partly owned by the named inventor on the patents, a Philadelphia design professor named Slavko Milekic. But 35 percent of the company has been quietly controlled by an attorney at one of Apple’s own go-to law firms, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. E-mail logs show that the attorney, John McAleese, worked together with his wife and began planning a wide-ranging patent attack against Apple’s touch-screen products in January 2007—just days after the iPhone was revealed to the world.
Jennifer McAleese reached out to numerous “troll patent” companies, as she called them, convinced that she and Milekic had an “excellent position against Apple” if and when they chose to sue. She e-mailed top patent lawyers at Google and Nokia, competitors known to be in patent clashes with Apple.
The whole time she was advised by her husband, a lawyer who had access to reams of confidential Apple data—but who says he never touched it. (Apple doesn’t see it that way.) Together, the McAleeses created “an indirect and covert pipeline” of information pumped to FlatWorld’s attorneys according to Apple lawyers. Now Apple wants FlatWorld’s law firm, Seattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, kicked off the case.
Oh, for crying out loud. This is an insane story.
This is funny, a web page devoted to quotes from people who predicted the original iPad would be a disastrous flop and that Apple was no longer an innovative company. All of these experts still have jobs predicting the future of technology. John Dvorak, who claimed the iPad would be a disaster also famously wrote that Apple should cancel the iPhone after it was announced, because they would never make any money on phones. He still has a job. In the world of punditry — political, technical, or sports-related — you can’t be fired for being wrong.
A day after it emerged that Wall Street bonuses rose to twenty billion dollars last year, and that the typical financial-industry grunt received a payment on top of his salary that was more than twice the median household income, the latest corporate executive to run afoul of the Street…
We truly do live in Bizarro Businessland, when the person called on to ‘explain’ his company’s performance is Tim Cook. It’s almost like that dipshit, Mike Daisey, is the new president of the Wall Street press corps.