Apple announced Tuesday that dozens of new educational sessions will be launching next month across the 495 retail outlets the company operates in the United States and around the world.
These hands-on sessions, collectively called “Today at Apple,” have been offered at Apple’s flagship Union Square store in San Francisco since last year, with topics ranging from photo/video to music, coding, art, design and more. Apple says these sessions cater to all skill levels/ages and include how-to lessons, professional-level courses and more.
The free sessions will be led by highly-trained team members.
“Many sessions will be taught by new Creative Pros, the liberal arts equivalent to Apple’s technical Geniuses,” said the Cupertino firm. “Each Creative Pro is an expert in one or more areas of the arts, and highly trained to pass along their knowledge to Apple users of all levels.”
The initiative focuses on the features of Apple products customers love most.
For example, an iPhone user interested in photography can start with six How To sessions that cover shooting, organizing, editing and more.
More advanced photographers can join experiential Photo Walks that leave the store to dive into techniques including light and shadow, portraits and storytelling.
Going further, a Photo Lab features accomplished photographers on topics such as capturing candids, building a brand on social media or simply sharing their perspective.
In select cities, the sessions will be taught by “world-class artists, photographers and musicians.” Apple will be rolling out special software to support the initiative in all of its stores, many of which will be changed literally overnight.
Special programs for families and educators will be provided, too.
Teacher Tuesday, for example, will teach educators new ways to incorporate Apple technology into their classrooms. Other examples include courses for Apple’s programming language Swift and weekend sessions for families covering topics from music making to coding with robots. Even small business owners can engage with global and local entrepreneurs via a new Business Circuits program, available in select stores only.
Some of the more than 60 different topics in creative skills include the following sessions:
- Studio Hours are Apple’s version of a professor’s office hours. Creative Pros host 90-minute sessions on topics from art and design to documents and presentations. Anyone is welcome to bring in a personal project for advice from experts, or to use the space to work alongside others.
- Photo or Sketch Walks help attendees go beyond capturing moments by exploring new techniques hands-on as they interact in their local community. Photo Walks include sessions such as framing architecture or capturing action on video, while Sketch Walks explore observational drawings, watercolor and brush techniques, and more.
- Kids Hour is designed to spark imagination and creativity through fun, hands-on projects. Sessions include coding with Sphero robots, Creating Music with GarageBand and Making Movies Together with iMovie.
- Coding sessions introduce anyone to coding through Swift Playgrounds, an iPad app designed to make coding interactive and fun for beginners. These sessions will explore coding concepts with the same code professional developers use every day.
- Photo Labs bring in talented photographers to experiment with new techniques and styles or uncover a new point of view in hands-on sessions. Similarly, Music Labs explore different genres and beats to introduce new tools to musicians of all levels.
- Pro Series take advanced users on a deep dive into Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X with sessions on color correction and grading to post production, or audio mixing to editing for emotion, and more.
- Perspectives and Performances, offered at select stores, feature influential artists and musicians talking about their creative process or sharing their talents live.
To provide customers with the best possible educational experience, the company will outfit each store with mobile screens created by its design team, along with updated seating/sound and wall displays to showcase the products.
“Today at Apple” will launch worldwide in May, with sessions in every store.
Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail in charge of the company’s physical and online stores, said in a video interview with CBS’s “This Morning” that the company wishes to educate and inspire the communities it serves.
The aim, she says, is to create a modern-day town square where customers engage with their devices and their communities while learning new things to take their skill to the next level.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
A lot of the big online guys have said they’re opening stores. Amazon’s investing in stores. Google’s investing in stores. Starbucks figured it out, you know? Being a gathering place for—right? ‘Meet me at Starbucks’. And you know, I’ve told the teams, ‘I’ll know we’ve done a really, really great job if the next generation, if Gen Z says, “Meet me at Apple. Did you see what’s going on at Apple today?”’
Asked whether that apply to Android and Samsung users too, Ahrendts responded by saying, “Absolutely. Absolutely. And we have an incredible trade up program…”.
And here are a few video segments from CBS’s interview with Ahrendts.
Apple is also unveiling a redesigned store outside the world’s tallest building in Dubai.
Ahrendts collaborated closely with Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, who created Apple’s next-generation store design that first came to light with the launch of the Union Square outlet.
It’s the most significant redesign of the Apple Store since its inception 15+ years ago. Ahrendts, 56, is now one of the highest-paid executives at Apple and in the country for that matter.