Mac Geniuses are the soul of the growing network of Apple retail stores

“In an age when human help of any kind is hard to come by, the eight or nine [Mac] Geniuses on duty at any given time here [at Apple’s San Francisco retail store] are a welcome anomaly,” Katie Hafner writes for The New York Times. “In fact, go to any of the 102 Apple-owned retail stores in the world and – if you are willing to wait – you will be treated to what is an increasingly rare service: free face-to-face technical support.

“The walk-up assistance has existed since the first Apple Store opened in 2001, in Washington. Over the years, as the concept gained momentum, the bars have become what Ron Johnson, Apple’s senior vice president for retailing, calls the soul of the stores. ‘It’s the part of the store that people connect to emotionally more than any other,’ Mr. Johnson said,” Hafner writes.

“Paula Mauro, who lives in New York and recently spent several hours at the Genius Bar in the SoHo store, got that message when getting help with iPod-to-PC communication,” Hafner reports. “As she sat at the bar with her 10-year-old son, William, who aspires to Macintosh ownership, it became evident to her that synching an iPod to a Macintosh computer is relatively seamless, while her three-year-old PC posed no end of technical challenges. ‘The next computer I buy is going to be a Mac,’ she said.”

Full article here.


  1. I had a problem with my Mac and was invited to bring it into the Houston store.

    Aaron took great care with my machine and spent lots of time to make sure I understood what he was doing.

    After an archive and install, everything is great. More than 3 months of up-time since then.

    Help like that can only make Apple shine.


  2. Great article. I tell PC using friends about the Genius bar and they can’t believe it. They think there has to be a catch. Now if they would just put an Apple Store in Yokohama….

  3. My iPod would skip songs sometimes and they gave me a new one. There were lots of other people with broken iPods in line getting replacements. I wonder if Apple is really having lots of problems with iPods or if it is just easier – as it said in the article – to give them a new one. I say this because some others in line thought that meant Apple was having lots of quality problems. Maybe that is true, but I hope not. Anyway, I’m happy with my new iPod. So far, so good!

  4. Ah! I should mention this to a friend who’s considering an iBook, but who is notoriously reluctant to spend money on anything (or “tight as a gnat’s chuff”, if you prefer).

    Took him to the store last week, but it was so busy, we couldn’t even get to the upstairs section (where the geniuses live). I forgot to mention the free support.

  5. I think it’s obvious from the article that some of the people who had problems with the iPod just didn’t know how to use it. Hardly a problem with quality.

    Apple’s strategy is literally, pure genius. All my friends pull their hair out after dealing with the Dulls or Gatecrap tech support.

  6. It would be great to see a reversal in the expansion and role of call centres where non-expert, ill-informed staff waste your time. Maybe this is another of Apple’s leads that others will follow.

    Real people rock – Go Apple

  7. mr. hoaganocker writes: “I heard that the Mac Geniuses don’t make much money, and that Apple lowball’s most of ther retail wages.”

    Let’s assume that’s true. So does Southwest Airlines (where a close friend of mine works). Guess what? My friend is extremely happy with Southwest and the NY Times article points out that there are fifty candidates for each Apple Genius position. Southwest also has the same “problem” with its positions.

    Why would people take less money to work for a company that treats them with respect, that values them, and them motivates them to do the best they can?

    Better still, why would people take more money (if they didn’t have to) to become devalued, to work in a job they hate? Trust me, I’ve had both and being happy (as long as basic needs are met) is much more important in the long run.

    Furthermore, what do all we Apple folks (the CULT) have in common? A willingness, even eagerness to help each other with things Apple. Apple Geniuses get to satisfy this basic Apple desire while getting paid. If there were an Apple Store near me, that’s the job I would want when I retire. Assuming I’m good enough.

  8. I brought my Ti Powerbook to the bar because the cap for the ‘n’ key wouldn’t stay on. I asked the genius how much it would cost to fix it. He said if I had a few minutes, he’d take it in back and have it fixed for free. That’s service.

    Plus the geniuses ran the Apple camps for kids during the summer, and they couldn’t be any nicer to the kids or me.

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