A Visit to the Apple Store

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We took our kids to the Apple Store in the University Village this past weekend to buy my wife a Mac and to hopefully get my iPhone fixed. It doesn’t seem to charge well. I had never been to an Apple Store before so I was curious. The kids were fired up to say the least.

Up until this visit, every Apple product I have ever bought was purchased online and arrived in one of their neat little white, artistic pop-open boxes. For those who buy Apple products, you know what i mean. Sort of the opposite of buying Microsoft products.

Now, I will caveat this article with the following facts about myself. Up until 3 years ago:

  1. The only laptops or PCs I had ever used were Windows-based
  2. Outlook had been the only calendaring / contact management / email system I had ever used (except for a brief flirt with Lotus Domino in the late 90’s)
  3. All of my mobile phones had been Blackberries, and before that I was a Palm Pilot guy.

In fact, I truly believe I was the last person off the Blackberry ship before it hit the iceberg.

The final straw was the release of the Storm in 2008. It was almost embarrassing compared to an iPhone 3G back then. I hated it so much I wanted to fly to Ontario and chuck it at their front doors demanding they stick 10 click wheels on it.

Which leads me back to the Apple Store. When you walk through one, you can’t help but be impressed with 2 things: the energy throughout the store and the amount of business they are doing. Just in the first few minutes I witnessed a number of people walk out with shiny new MacBooks and iMacs. Quite impressive.

Of course I forgot to make an appointment (who knew?) but was lucky that one slot at 11am was available. I had a feeling this place was packed most weekends. The guy who helped me was nice enough but apparently I was out of warranty, so was stuck with my limping iPhone another 2 months until my upgrade was available. Ugh – should have come in 3 months prior.

The next guy in the Mac section was great. You got the feeling he really, really LOVED MacBooks and was fired up just talking about them. I was already a convert and felt a little sorry he didn’t get evangelize more, but, hey, at least he made the sale!

Finally, there is no checkout line. You ask for the Mac, another friendly helper in a blue shirt brings it out, they swipe your card on an iPhone, you sign with your finger, done. Less than a minute. Streamlined and efficient. Makes you want to buy more stuff just to see it in action again. Meanwhile I forgot I even had kids since they were too busy playing Cut the Rope on iPads.

I try and be open minded when it comes to technology. I don’t care who makes what as long as it works and doesn’t create more work for me. As I have gotten older, my Outlook has been replaced by a corporate Gmail account, my Windows laptop is now a Macbook, my Blackberry is now an iPhone and Dropbox has replaced external hard drives for my file storage. Customization has been replaced by efficiency.

These tools represent a significant shift away from what used to be termed a fat client environment (software on the computer) into what is now termed a cloud-based environment (everything on the cloud – no software). Most companies have already moved into this direction and those that have not will be left behind, if they haven’t already been.

It all works amazing well together and the real benefit is that one day, in the not so distant future, when I upgrade to a new Mac or iPhone (or whatever comes next), everything will seamlessly come across to all of my devices without any software to load.

Upgrading is completed in minutes, not hours like in the old days, back when we rode dinosaurs and loaded software…disc after disc.

Matthew Achak

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