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Exclusive: Apple to hold 7AM training, all staffers may get iPads

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
Exclusive: Apple is reportedly calling all of its retail store employees to a top secret, all hands on deck meeting tomorrow at 7AM to train them on the iPad, and will possibly involve each team member receiving a 16GB WiFi iPad.

Rumors that Apple might hand out iPads to its retail employees first appeared during a corporate town hall meeting with Ron Johnson (the company's Senior Vice President of Retail Operations), where the subject was casually mentioned but not confirmed, one person familiar with Apple's retail operations said. Apple previously assigned its employees free iPhones and iPod touches.

A second person reported that the iPad retail launch will begin with an overnight security patrol to monitor each store's inventory, which will continue even after a manager and team of five to ten employees begin the day at 3AM. A third person confirmed that the reports are consistent with Apple's other product launches, adding that "security guards are routine for a product launch, with the guards partly there to handle the waiting lines."

Leave your stuff at home?

When all other employees arrive at 7AM (everyone is scheduled to work a full day tomorrow), they'll be required to sign an non-disclosure agreement and hand in their iPhones to management before entering the building.

"This is the first time in retail history that employees had to hand in their iPhones (or normal phones) to prevent any leaks on launch day," the original source reported to AppleInsider. That suggests that there's possibly "one more thing" on the iPad that nobody's yet aware of, and that Apple doesn't want to leak until the lines are formed and the media shows up to cover the iPad launch event.

However, a confirming source said that "employees are usually encouraged not to bring their laptops, iPods and iPhones to the store during their shift, so handing them over isn't such a big deal--most won't bring anything.

"I have heard nothing about giving out a free iPad to employees, although that's been done with the iPod and iPhone," the source said. "I believe there's some continued employment requirement after receiving the device (have to be there 6 months or 1 year after receiving it?). I can confirm the 7AM training sessions and that everyone will work until 10AM. At that point, part-time employees who were scheduled to work later in the day go home, and then come back for their later shift."

Update 1: A fourth retail source reports: "I'm a former Apple Genius with many ties to retail. Employees were never given iPod touches, just iPhones, and you were only given an iPhone if you were a full-time employee or had been part-time for at least a year.

"This is not the first time retail employees were required to check in iPhones and other devices with cameras. Just before the original iPhone launch, we were required to check in our phones for the week prior and encouraged to leave all other equipment at home.

"If employees are given gifts like iPhones and other devices, we are taxed on them just like a bonus and they are never handed out the day of a release. Generally it will be at least 6-8 weeks before those gifts (same is true for all software) to be handed out."

Update 2:Additional readers with experience dating back to the release of the original iPod noted: "You have some information incorrect about tomorrow's launch. Not all employees need to report at 7, or at least not all at our location. Only the employees who are opening the store need to.

"As for free hardware, we (retail employees at least) have received the 3G iPod (the one with the four buttons across the top). These were considered Apple property, and we had to turn them in if we left within one year of receiving them. I think some of the later employees got a 4G with the same strings. AFAIK, we were never taxed on this iPod.

"We also received free 1st and 2nd gen shuffles, and 1st gen iPhones, and were taxed on the value of these as compensation. We were also given a few gift cards during the holidays, and again we taxed if we accepted them. We never got iPod touches. We were also able to purchase the original iPod at half-off. Of course, everyone is hoping to get a free iPad.

"Also, employees of some of the first stores (pre 9-11 opens I think) were given 100 options with about a $11 strike price (adjusted for splits)."

No love for Apple's Authorized Resellers

While Apple is focusing the iPad launch on its own retail stores, it will also be delivering inventories of the new tablet to select BestBuy locations with a "store within a store," as well as its Apple Specialists authorized resellers. However, the company has specifically barred its third party dealer network from advertising the iPad's availability or taking pre-orders, apparently in a bid to funnel all early interest in front of the cameras that will be covering the launch event.

On March 18, Apple reportedly sent an notice to its resellers that said, "you are only allowed to verbally respond to inquiries from customers about your iPad authorization as follows: 'Yes, [Your Reseller Name] will be authorized to sell the Apple iPad. We are not taking any pre-orders at this time. However, if you'd like, we can take your name and contact information. When [Reseller Name] is prepared to take orders, we will provide you with those details at that time.'

"You are not to provide Customers with any estimated ship dates or availability dates. All other correspondence, advertising, marketing and communications (in any format) are not approved and may not be communicated by your organization."

Then, on March 31, Apple notified its dealers: "Please be advised that you may begin to verbally communicate to customers that you will be authorized to sell the iPad." The notices are somewhat puzzling because in a legal context, "verbal communication" means ideas that are expressed in words as opposed to "implied communications." In context, it appears Apple meant to say "oral communication," which denotes spoken conversation rather than print. A verbal contract is not necessarily an oral contract.

"Apple Specialists are locally owned and operated Apple resellers, most have beenÂ*operating long before Apple opened their own retail stores," a dealer advocate explained. "If you want to support locally owned businesses you can find your nearest AppleÂ*Specialist by going to http://www.applespecialist.com."

Update 3: An Apple Specialist wrote in to say, "I wanted to let you know what iPad inventory looks like. I work at a smaller store and we received about 20 iPads that were not reserved or going on display. Inventory is going to be tight tomorrow."
post #2 of 47
Maybe a camera after all?

From the teardowns it seems like there is room for one?

We can hope can't we.
post #3 of 47
Put on your decoder rings and the cone of silence!

It's "just one more thing" time again!
post #4 of 47
Well for what it's worth, the reseller on my college campus has been taking preorders for about 2 weeks now and is having a MIDNIGHT release party. They have put posters up around campus...

Interesting...
post #5 of 47
Is Apple hiring?
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無心 The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders., Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit__Edward Abbey
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post #6 of 47
It'll be written on the back of the box of the iPad,

"You really thought we would sell these without cameras? Gotchya."

-Steve Jobs (haha)
post #7 of 47
Nice to dream but there won't be any new feature and certainly not a camera. Do you really think all the tech journalists would have been given anything but the real and final iPad?

There's a reason they are given advanced copies- so they can report on all the features to the masses. Hiding 'one more thing' from them simply doesn't make good marketing sense.
post #8 of 47
Maybe but other companies that are doing iPad killer will loose the only "real" edge they think they would had over the iPad. Ever considered this? It's maybe not a conventional marketing strategy but fits well to Steve Jobs senses of humor. And since when apple ever did anything in a coventional way ?

But of course the chances i'm wrong and you're right are more likely.
post #9 of 47
Looking back Apple doesn't do the 'one more thing' thing. So historically speaking it doesn't make sense for them to start now.
post #10 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtalati View Post

Maybe a camera after all?

From the teardowns it seems like there is room for one?

We can hope can't we.

Yeah, first thing I thought of: They managed to add the camera. Which means they managed to add videoconferencing and a bunch of other stuff, as a last-minute buzz generator. It's a Big Deal.
post #11 of 47
Historically thinking, since Steve returns. Most product launch have been jokes to other companies, they never took it seriously until their success shows up in their face on a everyday-basis.

But this time everything change, their competitors arn't making fun of apple decision like they used to. They are all prepared to launch a tablet the same year, this time they are taking apple vision seriously.

So i was thinking... maybe apple came up with something ?

Then again, im prolly wrong.
post #12 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by satchmo View Post

Do you really think all the tech journalists would have been given anything but the real and final iPad?

Actually, yes: If they weren't sure they could get the cameras they needed/wanted in time for mass production.

From a marketing POV: Uh, Apple wasn't going to hurt for publicity one way or the other - or didn't you notice? Adding the camera at the last hour before the things ship will only add a fresh wave of buzz.

There's absolutely no downside to giving journalists a device this new without a feature or two. None, zip, zero. Not for this product, which launches a sort-of new category, and especially not for Apple.
post #13 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtalati View Post

Maybe a camera after all?

From the teardowns it seems like there is room for one?

We can hope can't we.

I thought I read some people had already received their expedited iPads, so we'd know that surely. Was that not true?
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post #14 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"This is the first time in retail history that employees had to hand in their iPhones (or normal phones) to prevent any leaks on launch day"



Ummm... is info getting out a few hours early really a leak? Esp. with stores putting the iPad on sale at midnight?
This is begging for (another) SNL skit, where Apple products are SO secret that nobody can ever be told about them.

Anyway, my take is Apple's requiring the phone hand-in so employees actually pay attention to the meeting (versus trying to post the first Facebook photos).

Quote:
"I have heard nothing about giving out a free iPad to employees, although that's been done with the iPod and iPhone," the source said. "I believe there's some continued employment requirement after receiving the device (have to be there 6 months or 1 year after receiving it?).

Makes sense that there'd be a catch. When your "most important product ever" is in short supply on its debut, why would you give it away in-house & leave your own customers waiting?
post #15 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by satchmo View Post

Nice to dream but there won't be any new feature and certainly not a camera. Do you really think all the tech journalists would have been given anything but the real and final iPad?

There's a reason they are given advanced copies- so they can report on all the features to the masses. Hiding 'one more thing' from them simply doesn't make good marketing sense.

I am guessing a camera would be too hard to pull off logistically!

Maybe there is a secret new Apple App?

Marcus
post #16 of 47
Another Sensational last minute change would be a price change, shift 499 to 399.

All pre-orders would get a 100$ refund of course with tax calculated.

Would obviously force other companies to rethink about their product/price/production.

Honestly i think that would be really funny.

Once again, speculation.
post #17 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtalati View Post

Maybe a camera after all?

From the teardowns it seems like there is room for one?

We can hope can't we.

I would imagine that for the iPad to have a camera, it would have to be included in the iPad Manual that Apple is required by law to submit to the FCC.

As we see, it was not in today's last piece, i.e., the "User Manual final"* or anything other document submitted to the FCC.

*https://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/prod/oet/f...ive_or_pdf=pdf

https://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/oetcf/eas/...7BCG-E2381A%27
post #18 of 47
I posted this on another forum 3 weeks ago:

"Think about it, what was different about the January event public revealing which ALL have seen versus the secretive locked in blackend windows that some elite developers have access to that even the iPad simulator could not simulate? GPS?, compass?, to actually touch it? If so, theres nothing to be secretive about but they are. Come April 3rd and it will be the longest "One more thing..."
People who are going to wait for 2nd gen will have second thoughts. "

and

"Let's look back: SDK components, the non-disclosed shipment details of hardware components and lastly the delay.

All I can say when you add it all up is there was a hardware change."
post #19 of 47
Apple could've done one of the following:

A. Supplied reviewers with versions of the iPads withOUT the camera, which doesn't seem likely although possible to provide. It wouldn't take them much to provide 15 iPads without the camera for reviewers and promotional purposes.

or the most likely....

B. Made anybody with the iPad sign a disclosure, which prohibits them from revealing the camera or hinting at its inclusion.

C. Possible case scenario.... Apple could've handed out iPads with the camera function 'disabled'.

So a 'one more thing' secret feature, is possible..... although not likely.
post #20 of 47
Could just one person explain to me how one is supposed to use a conference camera that is built into a device that is a free floating; always constantly moving (to some degree); handheld-hand controlled device?
Please? Anybody?
Is this camera supposed to be mounted in some fluid filled - auto aligning - face tracking - auto focusing - multi gimbaled housing??
I mean; it could happen. But for all the talk about it over these many months, I've not heard one person describe how it would be practically used. I mean how it would function and actually be usable in a tablet.
post #21 of 47
@isaidso
Quote:
Is this camera supposed to be mounted in some fluid filled - auto aligning - face tracking - auto focusing - multi gimbaled housing??

The rest of us just like to call that system "hands". You see yourself in a little box in the corner and make sure your face is in it, then you don't move it too much. If it drifts you adjust an inch or so. It's quite magical.

Appleinsider is unusually cruel giving false hope about some secret thing on the device when it's quite clear from those that have review iPads and early shipments there is nothing "extra". April fools was yesterday, you know, not today.

I suppose it's possible there is a GPS device in it. That's about the only thing I can think of. Someone mentioned $100 off which would make little sense, but I'll take it if it's offered!

I suspect Apple just doesn't want anyone sharing a bad experience before the launch event in case something crops up. For instance, maybe a shipment has 10 cracked screens in it or something. Actually doesn't mean anything given how many there are, but it would send a negative wave through all of the initial iPad buzz.
post #22 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Snitch View Post

Actually, yes: If they weren't sure they could get the cameras they needed/wanted in time for mass production.

From a marketing POV: Uh, Apple wasn't going to hurt for publicity one way or the other - or didn't you notice? Adding the camera at the last hour before the things ship will only add a fresh wave of buzz.

There's absolutely no downside to giving journalists a device this new without a feature or two. None, zip, zero. Not for this product, which launches a sort-of new category, and especially not for Apple.

This is not some simulation or business class we're talking about. Corporations don't make changes at the 11th hour because it's cool want to get extra buzz. Doing so, simply makes them look like amateurs who cater to the whim of nerds who cry over missing features.

Apple has it's reasons for excluding it at this point. But they only look indecisive and incompetent if they flip flop on this. That's not to say future iPads won't have a camera. In fact, they more than likely will. Plus, it's not like this iPad hasn't received it's share of publicity already.
post #23 of 47
i dunno about the camera but i was leaning more towards multi-tasking in the OS?
post #24 of 47
Can't wait till that UPS truck pulls up tomorrow. This thread has to be one of the funniest of all time. One more thing.....hahahahaha. Uhhhhhh. No.
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post #25 of 47
Did I miss something? What in this story implies a previously unadvertised feature?
Please don't be insane.
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post #26 of 47
A camera doesn't seem like something Apple would disclose at the last moment.

Surely a feature like that would be a significant decision maker for those who considered the 3G model at one point, but decided to only get the WiFi version.

By the way, first post here at AI, although I've been following for years
post #27 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

I would imagine that for the iPad to have a camera, it would have to be included in the iPad Manual that Apple is required by law to submit to the FCC.

As we see, it was not in today's last piece, i.e., the "User Manual final"* or anything other document submitted to the FCC.

*https://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/prod/oet/f...ive_or_pdf=pdf

https://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/oetcf/eas/...7BCG-E2381A%27

First sober post in this thread (incl. the article).
post #28 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Did I miss something? What in this story implies a previously unadvertised feature?

Simple... AI readers simply aren't happy unless 11th hour news over inflates their hopes only to get tragically slapped back into reality in the final moments of the release/unboxing/keynote/etc day. I remember being sucked in consistently over the years... but just like the saying goes, 4312 times bitten twice shy...
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post #29 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Simple... AI readers simply aren't happy unless 11th hour news over inflates their hopes only to get tragically slapped back into reality in the final moments of the release/unboxing/keynote/etc day. I remember being sucked in consistently over the years... but just like the saying goes, 4312 times bitten twice shy...

Can't argue with that logic except in this case it's not news. It isn't even a rumor. It's just a fabrication of over-active imaginations.
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post #30 of 47
software maybe, hardware, unlikely. one more thing is Steve-o's fun.

though all units with 64gb/3G would be hilarious. $499
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post #31 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronsullivan View Post

@isaidso
The rest of us just like to call that system "hands". You see yourself in a little box in the corner and make sure your face is in it, then you don't move it too much. If it drifts you adjust an inch or so. It's quite magical.

Guaranteed to drive you nuts.

I gather you don't do much video conferencing, because if you did, the camera is made stationary and as any good director will tell you, "look directly into the camera."

The problem with computer video cams is that they tend to force you to look either at the image of the person to whom you are speaking or yourself. May not seem like much, but it looks as if you are talking to someone else. And that can get quite annoying, and worse if the camera is bobbling all over the place.
post #32 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Can't argue with that logic except in this case it's not news. It isn't even a rumor. It's just a fabrication of over-active imaginations.

News? Rumors?? Why muddy the waters with those silly and clearly unnecessary notions... This is the internet after all, if you want to inject some random afterthought as quasi-sensational rumor you just DO IT man!

As you can see it works quite brilliantly...
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post #33 of 47
All this excess secrecy is just silly. Two hours to train their staff on the product? No wonder the Apple employees are so often completely clueless...their company doesn't give them time for proper training. Is all that matter is getting the product out the door as fast as possible?
post #34 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

All this excess secrecy is just silly. Two hours to train their staff on the product? No wonder the Apple employees are so often completely clueless...their company doesn't give them time for proper training. Is all that matter is getting the product out the door as fast as possible?

I wonder if Apple hired the security guards that also work for the De Beers diamond company again, as they did for the first iPhone shipments?

Marcus
post #35 of 47
I just don't get the people still expecting a camera. Wishing one had been included is another thing, but holding out that it will still arrive when you wake up tomorrow makes no sense to me.
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post #36 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

All this excess secrecy is just silly. Two hours to train their staff on the product? No wonder the Apple employees are so often completely clueless...their company doesn't give them time for proper training. Is all that matter is getting the product out the door as fast as possible?

Secrecy has nothing to do with it. Managing an orderly product introduction is everything. It's going to be a one-of-a-kind busy day and the store folk need to be prepped for handling the eager throngs and sending them away happy..

What experiences have you had to state that Apple employees are clueless? Among store experiences, I'd say they're exceptionally competent and helpful, and I've never left their store without all my questions being fully answered and issues fully resolved. Independent consumer surveys back that up. Perhaps you're confusing Apple people with your visits to Best Buy and RadioShack.

Using an iPad isn't meant to be complicated. If it's going to take more than five minutes for a user to learn how to use an iPad or an employee to learn how to explain it, Apple will have failed in its design goals. Read Andy Ihnatko's comment in that regard in this week's Chicago Sun-Times review: "The most compelling sign that Apple got this right is the fact that despite the novelty of the iPad, the excitement slips away after about ten seconds and youre completely focused on the task at hand ... whether its reading a book, writing a report, or working on clearing your Inbox."

Finally, the employees are going to make sure to help buyers download every app or function that they want or need before they leave the store. The list can include connecting through WiFi or downloading Pages, Numbers and Keynote as well as iBooks, MobileMe and even Kindle if they want. They need a short meeting to review those selling and fulfillment procedures.

So now, perhaps, you're the one who is just a little less clueless?

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post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post

Secrecy has nothing to do with it.

Using an iPad isn't meant to be complicated. If it's going to take more than five minutes for a user to learn how to use an iPad or an employee to learn how to explain it, Apple will have failed in its design goals.

I agree with lamewing that all the secrecy up to the last minute is stupid. Training employees on an unseen product during the two hours before opening the store on intro day is ridiculous.

And you overestimate the average non-tech person's ability to learn how to use a new device in five minutes. I don't care if it's an iPad or a toaster. Some people just don't get it very quickly.
post #38 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by isaidso View Post

Could just one person explain to me how one is supposed to use a conference camera that is built into a device that is a free floating; always constantly moving (to some degree); handheld-hand controlled device?
Please? Anybody?
Is this camera supposed to be mounted in some fluid filled - auto aligning - face tracking - auto focusing - multi gimbaled housing??
I mean; it could happen. But for all the talk about it over these many months, I've not heard one person describe how it would be practically used. I mean how it would function and actually be usable in a tablet.

I completely agree. That's what I was thinking as well - how practical is such a camera in reality. I am not keen on watching someone constantly adjusting his iPad.
post #39 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacApfel View Post

I completely agree. That's what I was thinking as well - how practical is such a camera in reality. I am not keen on watching someone constantly adjusting his iPad.

On top of that, people will want the camera for shooting images and video, which is only slightly more practical if on the backside.

I assume that some of the mockups we've seen of early prototypes are real and the camera was included at some point, along with other screen dimensions to see how these might work but excluded because tech to make them viable just doesn't exist yet.

I'm always baffled by anyone who thinks a company should add a feature simply because it's technically possible and double baffled when think that company should be Apple.
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post #40 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacApfel View Post

I completely agree. That's what I was thinking as well - how practical is such a camera in reality. I am not keen on watching someone constantly adjusting his iPad.

A lot of modern cell phones with video conferencing use software-based image stabilization. They track objects, especially faces, and show a stationary image.
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