Tag Archives: Apple Store

Dear Steve

Dear Steve,

Yesterday we headed down to the opening day of your new store in Festival Place, Basingstoke. First off I have to say that after many years having to either head into London or drive a long way to find an Apple Store it is great having two within a short drive, with you having opened a store in the Oracle, Reading just last month. We did avoid the craziness in the morning but we had a great time none the less.

I went along with my two year old daughter, who has been using Apple products for pretty well all of her life. It didn’t take long for her to get the hang of the touchscreen interface on my iPhone, iPod and iPad, indeed now she expects most devices to have such a screen and gets frustrated when they don’t. This brings me to a first suggestion, your children’s area. Whilst it is nice having a low level table, and child sized seating, the devices there are all Mac’s. Although children do quite easily pick up the concept of a mouse and pointer, my daughter is much happier with the direct interaction of a touch screen – as you have said on a number of occasions recently, we’re living in a post PC world now.

Look where we ended up... As a result we went to look at the iPad’s which do have children’s software installed, but are all on tables at a very child unfriendly height. In the end my daughter asked for a chair, and one of your excellent staff kindly obliged with a stool from the Genius Bar.

As you can see from the picture that put her on just the right height to play some games on the iPad.

Games weren’t the only thing we tried. My daughter wanted to talk to Mummy, so we thought we’d try out another of the features of the iPad – Facetime.

We have used your video calling application quite frequently at home – calling between Apple products it seems to pretty consistently produce a better quality video connection than the most obvious competitor Skype, indeed in one situation recently Facetime made a connection easily when Skype couldn’t get through at all. However as I’m sure you’re aware Facetime only works over wi-fi.

No problem of course as your stores have free wi-fi. Looking at the strength display it had a full strength signal, however it fairly obviously was not a good internet connection, the demonstration iPad struggled to produce a reasonable picture with a decidedly low quality result. It would certainly be worthwhile investing in some faster wi-fi connections for the store to enable a good demonstration of this feature.

Anyway, one last idea which comes from my daughter – she would like you to provide beds at the Apple Store so she doesn’t have to go home. The store kept her occupied and entertained for all of a wet afternoon, and she didn’t want to leave! I did eventually manage to get her out and heading home, but I am sure we will be back.

Yours,

An Apple Owning Parent

Apple Store Personal Shopper

I just thought I’d post a few words about the Apple Store Personal Shopper service, which Apple have been plugging in their UK stores – and probably across the rest of the world too. The basic idea is simple, it’s a free service where you book an appointment slot, and for that period you get a dedicated member of staff to take you through all the products you are interested in.

On Saturday, we went with Mum off to her local Apple Store, which is in the Brent Cross shopping centre just off the end of the M1, to look about upgrading her Mac. We had a basic shopping list of what she needed in terms of software, but there were a couple of key questions – specifically over the size of iMac she wanted – 20“ or 24â€?, and she also wanted to replace her current separate printer and scanner with an all-in-one, so wanted to look at those. As with pretty well every other Apple Store it is absolutely heaving on a Saturday afternoon, but having booked an appointment with the personal shopper they had a couple of demonstration iMac’s available, and an assistant available to answer questions.

It certainly was beneficial, as Mum was able to try both the 20“ and the 24â€? models and decided fairly swiftly that the 24“ was a bit too big, from there we were also able to look at the selection of all-in-one’s they had, and opt for a Canon unit on which the store was offering a £60 cashback offer, and also pick up copies of iWork and Filemaker Bento too to cover a couple of other requirements she had for the machine.

The Personal Shopper service does seem to be very much set up for people who are new to Apple, so certainly the assistant we had was improvising slightly rather than working through what would be her usual routine as we already knew about a lot of the stuff she was going to show. Having said that there was a big advantage in that when we were talking software and printers she was pretty much immediately able to look up stock and in one case go and get a package from the store room, and then to round it all off they helped us take all the packages to the car as well.

Mac Expo and the Launch of Leopard

Lots of Space as No Apple Stand!

I have to say that if I’d paid £15 per person to come into this years Mac Expo I’d be decidedly disappointed. In our case, having got complimentary tickets we made the best of it and headed off into central London.

Anyway, what was wrong with the expo? Firstly it was noticeably smaller – although having the seminar theatre made up for it a bit, the biggest absence was glaringly obvious the moment you walked through the door – Apple themselves.

Last year they had the largest stand at the show, and had their entire range of hardware and software on show for you to play with. I wanted to have a play with the new iPod’s and they were nowhere to be seen – other stands had the new iMac’s to play with, and the organisers had managed to pull together a number of Mac’s to demonstrate what you could do with the platform. There were some big stands though – with Quark, HP and Microsoft all having big stands. Amusingly Microsoft were trying to plug Office 2008 – but demo wise aside from the Mac version of Expression, only had Office 2004 to show.

So where on earth were Apple? You didn’t have to go very far to find out. A trip on the Underground up to Regent Street and at the flagship UK Apple Store and you found out – it was absolute chaos!

An Empty Apple Store

When we got there at 4pm the store itself was closed, but was filled with a lot of staff frantically rushing around ready for the 6pm launch of Leopard. There were seemingly as many on the pavement outside. Several were managing the queue that even at this point was around the corner of the block and halfway over to Hannover Square – many sitting there with MacBook’s open. Other staff were fielding questions from people wanting to go into the store – one was even running an impromptu Genius Bar with a girl who had come up especially with a MacBook problem.

We hung around outside the store for a bit, and overheard a couple of conversations which highlights quite what the store is known for. Firstly a guy came past and asked why the store was closed, and was told it was for the launch of a new operating system – “What, for the iPod?â€? came the reply. I heard other people describe it as “The iPod Storeâ€? too.

Not wanting to hang around in the queue – I’m doing my usual wait-and-see with regards to Leopard – we headed off to have some dinner, and came back just after 6pm to see how it was going.

After 6pm it was even more chaotic. Crowded around the doors were camera crews filming the events, the rush hour commuters were all trying to get past on the street, and the queue had now reached back round into Hannover Square itself, despite the store now being full of customers putting down the cash for Leopard and in some cases putting down a lot more money to buy a new Mac. If you want to see what the launch was like from someone in the queue, check out this great photo set by Christianno Betta – as you can see from this set he also got a copy of Leopard too.

So that it seems was where Apple were. Whilst the Mac Expo organisers we’re busily trying to attract people by opening late for the launch – the real action, and all the hard-core Apple fans were queuing outside the Apple Store hence it was all hands on deck for that, and I guess they couldn’t spare the staff to man a stand at the show.

Just as a postscript, looking at the seminar schedule, Apple are going to be there today – demonstrating Leopard not surprisingly! It wasn’t a total dead loss from our point of view either, as over in the corner we found the stock picture site that Beth has been using for some of the online look of Displaced Moose who said that there are no problems with her using the same images on her business cards – the only no-no is reselling the pictures themselves.