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50 New "Today at Apple" Events

"Greetings To AllTake a look at the article Gary T forwarded to me about classes at the Apple Store. This represents a significant upgrade to the sophistication and growth opportunities presented through in-store classes. But they have not abandoned more basic classes, they are still offered. Examine “Today at Apple” for an in depth review of all that is available. I will visit the local store this week to learn more ." Gary B Apple Stores Upgraded With Over 50 New 'Today At Apple' Events, Reviewed David PhelanThe new events at Apple Stores around the world have just gone live. I’ve tried out some of them and talked in depth to Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s Head of Retail since 2014. The new Video Lab session, now available worldwide.Apple “We’re excited because what we’re doing is changing so many things. Not just the face of retail, but the impact that companies can have on a community,” she said. “I would say that the architecture of the stores, that’s our hardware, and what we do inside is the software. This is an updated software release of the in-store experience. Basically, it’s a new store experience and it’s called Today at Apple.” It’s the live events, held in every Apple Store, which are changing. They are comprehensive and completely free - you don't even need to own an iPhone or iPad, they'll be loaned to you at the session. Ahrendts described where the new plan came from, beginning by referencing the late Steve Jobs, Apple's co-founder. “You know, Steve built Apple Retail. He told the teams when he hired them that they're not allowed to sell. He said they have no commission, no quotas. He told them, ‘Your job is to enrich their lives and you have to do it through the lens of education.’ He also said that Apple is the crossroads between liberal arts and technology. Well, we were brilliant in the stores at technology. But how do we unlock that liberal arts piece?” For the unlocking, she turned to the staff. Apple Stores employ 70,000 staff – team members, Apple calls them. “We crowd-sourced the team two years ago. We've always told them their job was to humanize technology. We said, we’re going to turn ourselves inside out because they know what their communities need more than we do. We asked them, ‘What do you think Apple should be doing more in your community?

Among the 70,000 staffers are 3,400 Creative Pros, experts in music, creativity and more. Ahrendts explained, “If you’re a photographer and that’s your passion, we’ll help make you a better photographer, we’ll demo a lens for you. That whole experience of what you do with your iPhone, we want to give you a rich physical experience as well.” The Pros helped update the store events.

The new events are the latest step to make the stores themselves community places, or town squares, as Apple calls them.

The town square is a particular focus for Ahrendts who wants the stores to be accessible. She feels that the company’s reach puts it in a perfect position to do more by inspiring people through sessions like these. “We've often said that if Apple Music is the largest streaming service in the world then why shouldn't we help discover the next young kids coming up? If we have the largest App Store in the world, why shouldn't we encourage kids to learn coding and create apps? It’s just all connected.”

Ahrendts talked about the new sessions. “We have over 50 new sessions. Altogether, there are 18,000 sessions a week worldwide. Customers love them, they come back six, seven, eight times.”

So, why is Apple expanding these free workshops just now? It’s something that’s easy to afford when sales of iPhones are skyrocketing, less when they are flat. The company has just revealed its latest financial results, and they were disappointing, as CEO Tim Cook said. The revenue from iPhone sales was down 15 per cent year-on-year, though at least sales of wearables and accessories, including Apple Watch and HomePod rose by 33 per cent and services revenue climbed.

Apple has been focusing on these services for a while now, especially when those services, like Apple Music or iCloud, yield revenue. It’s a time, then, when Apple needs to encourage people into its stores more than ever. But it seems to be something Apple values in an altruistic way.

Ahrendts is certainly committed. “Everybody knows about the Genius Bar. I mean, 40 million people go to the Genius Bar every year. And that's not selling, that's service, and our retail stores are really where most of that takes place. The Creative Pro teams have gone through three months of training getting ready for these new sessions and it's no different than somebody at the Genius Bar. We've also got one of the largest websites in the world. The website is a brilliant 2-D experience and the store is the 3-D experience and maybe it’s all about people. Maybe it’s about a different type of connection, one you don’t get online. These events are popular because people love to do things together, they love the human connection, the eye contact.”

So, what’s new? The new Today at Apple is a schedule of Skills, Walks and Labs. Skills are sessions to introduce apps or products. The guided walks concentrate on sketching or photography, for instance, and Labs are tutorials led by highly trained, knowledgeable staff. The sessions are all free and although they use Apple products, you don’t need to have bought one: they’ll lend you an iPad or whatever to use during the event. There is no selling involved, though the staff can advise on what product might suit you best.

There will still be the more exclusively educational sessions called Product Skills for introductions to Apple products or focus on accessibility capabilities. The special events where a band performs, or a celebrity appears, will also continue. To discover whether the Today at Apple events any good, any use for real people, I’ve tried out some of the new sessions.

They are organized according to the Creative Pros’ expertise, which could be photography, music, art and design, computer coding or app development. The new workshops also include health and fitness events, and video experiences.

Like “Video Lab: Small Screen Magic, co-created with Zach King”, an in-depth workshop showing how to use a jump-cut technique in Apple’s short video app, which is called Clips. It was led by a Creative Pro in front of a huge video wall, where a specially recorded introduction video from the YouTube star known for his “digital sleight of hand” was screened. This Lab followed the three-act structure common to all the sessions I tried: first, an introduction designed to encourage and educate. Then, a participation section, which here involved a lot of filming of objects being frantically juggled and people falling hard on the floor. The final section was a celebration of what had been created, in this case displaying the, surprisingly accomplished, videos the attendees had just made on the video wall. The photo walks and sketch walks are engrossing, starting in the Apple Store and taking an iPhone or iPad into streets nearby – the London stores have held these for some time, for instance – and reveal parts of your city you haven’t seen before, or not in that way.

Headphones and iPads are supplied at a Garageband Skills session.Brooks Kraft/Apple A Garageband session designed to help attendees quickly and simply create a beat using the app's beat sequencer was straightforward. The Creative Pro managed to perform that clever trick of explaining in a way that was understandable to novices without being patronizing to the more experienced.

The sessions I attended were uniformly slick, professionally presented by people who know their subject well and just can’t contain their need to share it. The Pros were sincere and passionate, and the overall effect was useful and informative. If you have a hankering to improve your Instagram shots, or need to understand how to make the most of creative apps like Procreate and Garageband, these events are unintimidating, genuinely helpful and even inspiring. __________ If you enjoyed this story, you might also like these: Affordable iPad And iPad Mini 5 May Land Soon, Dazzling iPad Pro Tipped For 2020 AirPods 2 Revealed In Leak To Be Nearly Here, Boasting Brilliant New Feature Apple Leaks Predict New iPads, iPad Mini And, Astonishingly, A New iPod AirPods 2 Rumored To Be Here Within 6 Months With Surprise Upgrade iPad 2019 Leak: New iPad Mini And Exciting, Redesigned iPad Coming Soon Follow me on Twitter@davidphelan2009andInstagram. You can read all of my Forbes articles onmy profile page. Article provided by Gary Tougas

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