Molly McHugh, the Ringer:
Retail was supposed to be Apple’s big sell. Fashion executive Angela Ahrendts left Burberry and joined Apple in 2014 to transform the company’s retail strategy; the idea was for the brick-and-mortar shops to feel less like a store and more like a community center. Ahrendts is now departing Apple, and while certain elements of the stores have been upgraded, Genius Bars were not a primary focus. For starters, Ahrendts launched the Today in Apple series, free seminars held at Apple Stores that teach people everything from how to use the iPhone’s photo-editing tools to programming in Swift. Ahrendts also wanted to evolve the look of Apple Stores, making them more of a place to hang out and explore Apple’s products (and, you know, maybe buy one) versus getting help with them. But in reality, consumers don’t need more space to kill time and play with their iPhones — the existing Apple Stores have already filled that role very well. What is lacking and what they do need are well-trained and readily available support services to help with them. Slivka says that while Ahrendts did redesign the Genius Bar to be more physically integrated into Apple Store’s layouts, little else changed on the support side. He says he’s optimistic about what her replacement, Deirdre O’Brien, a 30-year Apple veteran, will do with the retail operations moving forward.
Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today:
I suggested this idea four years ago. It never came to fruition, but I still think it’s a timely idea: Apple should open small retail stores — Apple mini stores, if you will — in towns that are too small for the traditional, bigger Apple retail stores and Mac Specialists.
I always liked the old “mini” stores but they are clearly too small for today’s crowds.
I don’t know that Apple needs to be directly involved in operating smaller stores for repairs. If anything, I’d like to see them invest more in flagship stores and simultaneously giving greater support to the Authorized Service Provider network. These third-party shops should be able to repair common problems like broken displays and replacing old batteries, but also the more complex things that may be impeded by the T2 chip in Apple’s newest Macs. I’m not buying into the fear, uncertainty, and doubt around the T2; I just think that third-party repair shops should be afforded the opportunity to repair as many aspects of these products as possible.