'Apple Express' store streamlines online order pickups, Genius Bar appointments

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2020
Apple is trialing a new in-and-out store concept in California as it prepares for an unprecedented annual fall hardware launch cycle set to take place in the era of coronavirus.

Apple Express
Source: Marci Harris via Twitter


Dubbed "Apple Express," the reimagining of Apple's brick-and-mortar operation has whittled down the retail experience to two essentials: order pickups and Genius Bar appointments.

As seen in photos posted to Twitter by PopVox co-founder and CEO Marci Harris, Apple's Burlingame store has been transformed into a makeshift hub for express pickups of online orders and one-on-one Genius Bar sessions. Both services are available by appointment only.

A temporary partition erected just inside the store's glass doors features wood counters, display cases and room for at least four staffers. Store employees are positioned at six-foot intervals along the facade behind what appears to be plexiglass barriers. A small pass-through section is situated at counter level, while a speaker system provides a means of communication at each window.

Product display cases containing iPhone and iPad accessories, AirPods and other devices separate the service stations. Black dots on the floor indicate where customers should stand in order to stay at a safe distance from other visitors.

While not explicitly noted on store signage, occupancy appears to be limited to one customer at a time per window. Those with appointments are welcomed to queue up outside.

Apple Express
Source: Marci Harris via Twitter


Customers who opted for Express Pickup when checking out through Apple's online store or app are asked to present their QR code receipt and government-issued ID to a store representative. A separate sign displays QR codes that lead to Apple's support app and Apple.com.

According to Harris, Apple Burlingame is the first store to test the new system.

9to5Mac reported on "Apple Express" without attributing Harris' tweet on Monday.

Whether Apple plans to expand "Apple Express" to other outlets remains unclear, though the company's lucrative retail operation has been severely impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. While stores in some regions have reopened, the situation is more fluid in the U.S., which has yet contain the virus.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    Please let this expand nationwide. The current system, at my store anyway, is a complete cluster f*. I had an appointed time to pick up a simple watch band and ended up waiting 45 minutes past it. Since then, deliveries only for me. Totally inefficient. Has anyone else had a similar experience?
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 2 of 10
    Yeah... here’s my story my from a Mac user since black & white Classic, pizza box LC and many more Apple products over last 3 decades.

    A month ago my 64 G/6 Gen iPod touch battery swelled up enough to push up screen and slide around Home button.   Since it was an obvious defect, abet beyond warranty,  I was told by a Genius that the best they could do was exchange it for another for $80 even after I asked if I could purchase a 7 Gen  (now only available with 32 or 128G) paying the difference as 6 gen is dead ended at 12.4.8.  “No thanks, I’ll take it up with home office.”  Then store temporarily closed due to Corvus-19 and after multiple calls and a Google search to see if others had swollen batteries, they said the would swap it for another 6Gen/64 no charge.  I made the appointment  to swap and when I got there
    they didn’t have one in stock so now awaiting word when I get to go again.  While I can appreciate and empathize with  what the staff has to now deal with their curbside M*A*S*H* Unit,  my beef is with Apple brass with what I perceive is being a tad stingy for a trillion dollar company towards this long time Apple advocate and faithful customer. 😏
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 3 of 10
    While I understand the reasons/need for this I will definitely miss being able to walk around the store and try out things. And what a shame that Burlingame, CA store, which I’ve been to more than any other, has been turned into this. The remodel they did there a couple of years ago is beautiful. Oh well, “this too shall pass”??
  • Reply 4 of 10
    Japhey said:
    Please let this expand nationwide. The current system, at my store anyway, is a complete cluster f*. I had an appointed time to pick up a simple watch band and ended up waiting 45 minutes past it. Since then, deliveries only for me. Totally inefficient. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

    I did....   Twice!
    When I went to buy a new USB-C to Lightening cable I found a long line outside of the store.   When I got to the head of the line I was pointed to a staffer standing outside of the store.   When I told her what I wanted she ran into the store and brought the new cable outside to sell it to me like a street vendor.

    When I needed a replacement for my right Airpod Pro I went back to the same store and again waited in line.   When I got to the front of the line I was told that I had to make an appointment with a technician -- and the first appointment was over a week away!

    If my Apple Store is any indication, Apple Stores are a mess right now and simply won't be able to handle a major product rollout -- which will likely be today or within a week.

    They REALLY have to do something!  Quick!
    I was happy when Obrien took over and I saw significant improvements in professionalism and competence.   But the pandemic took things the wrong way.   While I applaud them for promoting safety for their staff and customers, it is inexplicable why, suddenly technical geniuses have become so scarce they require a week's leadtime to see a customer!   That just makes no sense.   And, they seem to be overdoing blocking people from entering the store.
  • Reply 5 of 10
    Here is one of my favorites. We all know that Apple cords are notoriously bad and fall apart at the connection point. I bought a MacBook Pro for over $3000 and within a year, the cord had frayed and had exposed wires. I happened to be going to the Mall for something so I threw the laptop and cord in the bag figuring I could swap it. I get there and they tell me I have to have a Genius Bar appointment to have it assessed and the nearest one was 6 hours later (pre-pandemic). This Mall is an hour from my house so I'm not staying or coming back.

    I'm like, "What do you mean "assess" you can see the cord is frayed, please just give me another cord."
    "I'm sorry sir, we can't do that."
    "Wait, what do you mean you can't do that?"
    "Sir, repairs have to be tracked through the Genius Bar."
    "It's not getting "repaired", it is a cord."
    "I'm sorry sir, can you come back at 7:45PM?"
    "No, I cannot, here's what I am going to do. I am going to walk over to the wall and I am going to buy a power adapter, then I am going to put this broken one in that box and return it. Or.... you can just give me another cord."
    "Let me speak to my manager." 10 minutes later. "Ok, sir, we have checked you in for a Genius Bar appointment right now. The manger would like me to point out that this is a one time exception and you will have to make a Genius Bar appointment for any issues like this in the future. Do you have the laptop?"
    "Sure, but why do you need the laptop?"
    15 minutes of computer diagnostics and paperwork later.
    "Here is your cord sir. We don't have any replacement units so I have pulled one off the shelf for you."

    Holy crap, all this to swap out a defective cord with visible wires exposed? I was probably in there for 45 minutes. All with the attitude like you're doing me a favor?

    Apple's customer service used to be topnotch. Before they figured out how much money they could make on overpriced repairs none of this was an issue and I felt like a KING at the Apple Store. I once when in with a busted click wheel iPod 1 month outside of AppleCare and they just handed me a new one. Now that was an "exception" and made me feel grateful and loyal.

    The Genius Bar is one of the reasons I have started to lose appreciation for Apple products. I'm already paying a premium for these products, don't make me feel part of a herd of cattle being pushed into a grinder when those expensive products are defective.

    edited September 2020 fred1GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 6 of 10
    wwchris said:
    We all know that Apple cords are notoriously bad and fall apart at the connection point.
    As a 25+ years customer of Apple that's happened to me exactly once; and that was with a laptop cord that I used to wrap hard around the brick.

    Not sure how people go about wearing out their cables all the time; and as a long-term Apple user I have about a gazillion spares.
    hammeroftruth
  • Reply 7 of 10
    wwchris said:
    We all know that Apple cords are notoriously bad and fall apart at the connection point.
    We do not all know that, I think Apple cords are pretty resilient. Never had a power cord fail, owner multiple MacBooks. I also have a 2013 MacBook Pro with original transformer and cord, all in great condition. I also wrap my cord around the adapter hooks when I’m on the go. 
    hammeroftruth
  • Reply 8 of 10
    dr. xdr. x Posts: 268member
    wwchris said:
    We all know that Apple cords are notoriously bad and fall apart at the connection point.
    We do not all know that, I think Apple cords are pretty resilient. Never had a power cord fail, owner multiple MacBooks. I also have a 2013 MacBook Pro with original transformer and cord, all in great condition. I also wrap my cord around the adapter hooks when I’m on the go. 

    I wouldn't wrap the cord around the adapter hooks, it just puts unnecessary strain on the cable. I usually just throw my adapter in my bag loosely or wrap the cord in a coil to avoid the strain.
  • Reply 9 of 10
    wwchris said:
    Here is one of my favorites. We all know that Apple cords are notoriously bad and fall apart at the connection point. I bought a MacBook Pro for over $3000 and within a year, the cord had frayed and had exposed wires. I happened to be going to the Mall for something so I threw the laptop and cord in the bag figuring I could swap it. I get there and they tell me I have to have a Genius Bar appointment to have it assessed and the nearest one was 6 hours later (pre-pandemic). This Mall is an hour from my house so I'm not staying or coming back.

    I'm like, "What do you mean "assess" you can see the cord is frayed, please just give me another cord."
    "I'm sorry sir, we can't do that."
    "Wait, what do you mean you can't do that?"
    "Sir, repairs have to be tracked through the Genius Bar."
    "It's not getting "repaired", it is a cord."
    "I'm sorry sir, can you come back at 7:45PM?"
    "No, I cannot, here's what I am going to do. I am going to walk over to the wall and I am going to buy a power adapter, then I am going to put this broken one in that box and return it. Or.... you can just give me another cord."
    "Let me speak to my manager." 10 minutes later. "Ok, sir, we have checked you in for a Genius Bar appointment right now. The manger would like me to point out that this is a one time exception and you will have to make a Genius Bar appointment for any issues like this in the future. Do you have the laptop?"
    "Sure, but why do you need the laptop?"
    15 minutes of computer diagnostics and paperwork later.
    "Here is your cord sir. We don't have any replacement units so I have pulled one off the shelf for you."

    Holy crap, all this to swap out a defective cord with visible wires exposed? I was probably in there for 45 minutes. All with the attitude like you're doing me a favor?

    Apple's customer service used to be topnotch. Before they figured out how much money they could make on overpriced repairs none of this was an issue and I felt like a KING at the Apple Store. I once when in with a busted click wheel iPod 1 month outside of AppleCare and they just handed me a new one. Now that was an "exception" and made me feel grateful and loyal.

    The Genius Bar is one of the reasons I have started to lose appreciation for Apple products. I'm already paying a premium for these products, don't make me feel part of a herd of cattle being pushed into a grinder when those expensive products are defective.


    Replacing an Airpod -- either in or out of warranty is a similar experience.   It's feels like a they're putting up roadblocks for no discernible reason! 
    One thing I did learn the last time I was actually in an Apple Store (it feels like a lifetime ago!) is that the cords are covered under AppleCare+ just like the device.   That was nice to know -- and a nice touch by Apple.
    wwchris
  • Reply 10 of 10
    svanstrom said:
    wwchris said:
    We all know that Apple cords are notoriously bad and fall apart at the connection point.
    As a 25+ years customer of Apple that's happened to me exactly once; and that was with a laptop cord that I used to wrap hard around the brick.

    Not sure how people go about wearing out their cables all the time; and as a long-term Apple user I have about a gazillion spares.
    I know this is old, but just saw the responses. I have also been a customer for longer that that, and during the "magnetic power cord" years (another AMAZING innovation that they have let go) I have literally had at least eight MacBook chargers go bad (wife and kids). As far as iPhone lightning and previous 30 pin cables I have had dozens go bad that needed to be replaced. I can't tell you how many people I have worked with or known that I have seen with frayed cables.

    Apple literally has created a massive industry around just selling cables. They are in every gas station, Walmart, Target, Apple Store, Amazon and roadside fruit stand (ok, kidding about the last one - sort of). I'll bet if you just added up APPLE Store only cord and power supply sales they would be in the top 1000 companies in the world. Those aren't all lost cables. The vast majority are damaged.

    On the Apple site, a USB-C to lightning cable (first accessory listed) is $35. $35? An Amazon basics Apple MFi certified cable is $9.99. For $35 I should get a lifetime warranty instead of 1 year. This comes back to Apple quality customer support. Replace the cord if it goes bad. Don't make me book a Genius Bar appointment to swap a cable.
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