Apple Stores shifting focus to software in bid for more switchers

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple plans to rearrange the layout of its retail stores to place a greater emphasis on its consumer software offerings in an effort to convert even more customers to the Mac.



ifoAppleStore claims that the front section of the redesigned shops will seek to reel in passersby, window shoppers and the curious with a "Why You'll Love a Mac" theme, featuring signs and brochures comparing the Mac to the Windows-based PC world.



The new plans are still being implemented, but Mac OS X applications will also take center stage in the Mac maker's bid for even more 'switchers.' The second section of the stores will be dedicated to the iLife digital lifestyle suite, while the third will be tabbed for iWork.



"The reorganization could begin as early as next week, but could take several weeks for staff retraining and graphics change-outs," the report said, adding that this is the third major interior design change – wood floors followed by a stainless steel interiors in 2006 – to take place since the stores' inception.



Apple has also changed its iPhone 3G and iPod touch displays to reflect the emphasis on software. The tables are arranged into categories of applications; including games, pleasure and travel, and others, with new acrylic information stands for each.







Each device is then loaded with many applications from their target category, making it simple for customers to learn more about whichever kinds of apps they're interested in.







Also worth noting is a redesign of the acrylic stands, which are actually no longer "stands". They are now laying almost flat on the table in a wedge shape, allowing them to be more easily read from where the customer stands. The horizontal displays improve upon the old design, which made shoppers either bend down or pick up the stands to read them.







Finally, the Apple Store-dedicated site notes that shopping bag dispensers have been placed underneath the tables, joining the printers already mounted there. Now employees, already using handheld devices to complete sales anywhere in the store, won't have to walk to the front-of-store checkout counter to bag customers' items.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    So on the computer side, Apple is only highlighting two software packages: iLife and iWork (one of which they'll get free if they buy a Mac). Wow, that sounds, well, kind of pathetic. Not even going to attempt to make the Mac look like it has a good selection of 3rd-party apps...
  • Reply 2 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by caliminius View Post


    So on the computer side, Apple is only highlighting two software packages: iLife and iWork (one of which they'll get free if they buy a Mac). Wow, that sounds, well, kind of pathetic. Not even going to attempt to make the Mac look like it has a good selection of 3rd-party apps...



    The whole concept of "a good selection of third party apps" is an old one at this point and not as relevant as you think it is. People mostly just want a computer nowadays that will do what they need it to do and run the apps that they commonly need to run. Mac beats Windows hands down on that front.



    I do agree with the articles premise that software should be the retail focus in that the machines pretty much sell themselves hardware wise.



    I'd like to see Apple port iWork over to the Windows for instance as it's just a better product than Office for anyone but the advanced business user (i.e. almost all consumers), and rather than inhibit sales of Mac hardware I think it would accelerate the conversion.
  • Reply 3 of 49
    Nice to see Apple continue to push the envelope to attract new users to the Mac. Growth over the past few years has been fueled by switchers and it's nice to see Apple continue to target these customers especially given the economic backdrop.
  • Reply 4 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by caliminius View Post


    So on the computer side, Apple is only highlighting two software packages: iLife and iWork (one of which they'll get free if they buy a Mac). Wow, that sounds, well, kind of pathetic. Not even going to attempt to make the Mac look like it has a good selection of 3rd-party apps...



    I don't follow your reasoning. The article said the effort is to get switchers. iLife seems like a great way to do that. They're not trying to sell software, they're trying to sell Macs to switchers. Can you clarify?
  • Reply 5 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post




    I'd like to see Apple port iWork over to the Windows for instance as it's just a better product than Office for anyone but the advanced business user (i.e. almost all consumers), and rather than inhibit sales of Mac hardware I think it would accelerate the conversion.



    I agree, although I also think they need to address the hardware pricing as well.
  • Reply 6 of 49
    if Apple does more than attractively display software, particularly 3rd-party software.



    I found a gem at the Apple Store, but I didn't buy it there. It's ViaCAD 2D/3D. I saw it at the store, went home, downloaded the trial version and eventually bought a license via Buy.com for $60 compared to the $99 list price charged by the Apple Store. I've used a lot of CAD systems -- from the simplest to the highest-end, NX and ProE. ViaCAD is a great VALUE; it's very powerful for the price.



    Now, if the Apple Store would load that software on a machine and maybe demo it, they can successfully sell copies.
  • Reply 7 of 49
    irelandireland Posts: 17,798member
    Not exactly shifting focus really, just rearranging the presentation a little. They always pushed the Mac to switchers at the Apple store. They are just being more proactive about it. Nothing to see here really.
  • Reply 8 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by walshbj View Post


    I don't follow your reasoning. The article said the effort is to get switchers. iLife seems like a great way to do that.



    I may be alone, but I've rarely found myself using most of the iLife software. Garageband seems like a really niche product. Likewise, though to a lesser exent, for iWeb and iDVD (I don't know if I've even opened iWeb in my 2 years of Mac ownership). That leaves 2 actually substantial products, iMovie and iPhoto. Neither is really a product most people will end up using very frequently.



    Quote:

    They're not trying to sell software, they're trying to sell Macs to switchers. Can you clarify?



    Go to your local Best Buy and you can walk down several aisles of PC software. Go to your local Wal-Mart and you'll find an aisle or 2 of PC software. When I go to my local Apple Store, I find a six foot span of wall with about 40 cubby holes for software. If they're trying to get switchers, shouldn't they make a better effort to show that they can match a PC's software selection?
  • Reply 9 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    I'd like to see Apple port iWork over to the Windows for instance as it's just a better product than Office for anyone but the advanced business user (i.e. almost all consumers), and rather than inhibit sales of Mac hardware I think it would accelerate the conversion.



    I'm curious. What aspects of the iWork suite make it better than the Office suite? I've read in-depth comparisions of both, and reviews and comments point to the contrary. You can't just cough up a comment like that and not explain what it is about iWork that makes it "just a better product" than Office.



    As one who admittedly uses Office, I find this interesting.
  • Reply 10 of 49
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    With the iMac, Mac Mini, Mac Pro, and Xserve being absent from refreshes they'll need every bit of marketing help.



    Apple should really license their OSX in a limited form. Meaning, allow licensees to build desktops and servers with OSX preinstalled but not their bread and butter laptop market. Apple seemingly cannot keep-up the refresh cycle with the industry in those markets.



    It is tiresome to keep asking for an xMac, a more powerful yet less expensive Mac Mini, and an iMac that isn't so prone to faulty design and manufacturing. Plus the server and pro workstatoin line really isn't Apple's expertise.



    Limited OEM licensing where it doesn't affect Apple's bottomline. That's what Apple needs to do.
  • Reply 11 of 49
    This innovation should have been done a long time ago. But it should go further. When I visit the the two Apple Stores near my place here in Boston, what I found lacking are the softwares that I hope to test drive or accidentally browse.



    Sure there are some software applications displayed but they seem to be focused more on just the mainstream applications either by Apple or big companies, like Microsoft. The teaching demos are mainly focused also on Apple software products. There is of course, the one-on-one tutorial for a very cheap $95 per year, but that would benefit mainly the local residents who already are Mac users.



    Apple must extend its outreach, perhaps including focused features of Mac softwares even those by third parties, as part of its feature daily (weekly) demos. Apple should also learn from the success of the Apps Store online to solidify the prominence of the iPhone and iPod Touch as portable computing, multimedia, internet and entertainment devices, one with capability as a cell phone, and the other with potential for internet phone device.



    The aforementioned model must be used to encourage software developers for the Mac, Apple TV and other devices that Apple may develop as one stop source of available software. Others in this and other sites have suggested similar ideas before. It will integrate already existing softwares available for the Mac to dispel the notion that there are only few applications available for the Mac. But more importantly, apart from attracting mainstream developers not yet tuned in to Mac, a similar software section of the Apps Store will attract potentially from all over the world indvidual and small group software developers -- perhaps with limited personnel or financial -- resources but yet have creative to dream of software applications, as was demonstrated from the more than 20,000 applications created for the iPhone and iPod Touch.



    The synergy would be for the physical Apple Stores to serve as hands on interaction of featured softwares for the Mac and other Apple devices. While they may not buy them in the store immediately, the Apps Store online will serve as a convenient way to purchase a desired software in the future.



    Let a thousand ideas bloom.
  • Reply 12 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by caliminius View Post


    I may be alone, but I've rarely found myself using most of the iLife software. Garageband seems like a really niche product. Likewise, though to a lesser exent, for iWeb and iDVD (I don't know if I've even opened iWeb in my 2 years of Mac ownership). That leaves 2 actually substantial products, iMovie and iPhoto. Neither is really a product most people will end up using very frequently.







    Go to your local Best Buy and you can walk down several aisles of PC software. Go to your local Wal-Mart and you'll find an aisle or 2 of PC software. When I go to my local Apple Store, I find a six foot span of wall with about 40 cubby holes for software. If they're trying to get switchers, shouldn't they make a better effort to show that they can match a PC's software selection?





    True, but from a software and PC point of view, there is nothing like iLife for the PC. Additionally, if one were a hobbyist and played with video programs, iMovie would look stellar, FCP and Titles would blow them away.



    True: A friend of mine built a PC and did some video editing with Video Vegas, he started by editing his own wedding. He then bought a dual G5 MAC and did the same. iMovie (was still iMovie 06) was leaps and bounds beyond the PC offerings. He then got FCP (Student) and edited his wedding again. He then started editing and shooting other weddings. (while working part time at a bar). Fast Forward to 2 years. He now moved back to his home state of Kansas with his wife, bought a house, has two children and is the Creative Manager for a post production company. He uses Mac and PC (some FX software is PC only, (3D software), and After Effects. Ironically, he loves AE and says to stay away from Motion as AE is where it's at, compared to motion. But he still uses a Mac for FCP.





    If you are a creative person and have a creative bone in your body, the Mac software and templates are going to jump out at you, especially since 90% of the US have never seen them.



    As another said, the software will result in hardware sales. Its actually a really good move.
  • Reply 13 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    I'd like to see Apple port iWork over to the Windows for instance as it's just a better product than Office for anyone but the advanced business user (i.e. almost all consumers), and rather than inhibit sales of Mac hardware I think it would accelerate the conversion.



    Doing battle with Microsoft on their home turf would be awfully risky. Microsoft currently sells MS Office on Mac because it makes them money. However, if Apple starts selling iWork on Windows to undercut office, then they risk aggravating Microsoft, who could discontinue MS Office on Mac, which in turn would kill a lot of the switcher market.



    I've been in an Apple store and overheard at least on one occasion a student saying they absolutely needed Microsoft Office if they were going to switch to Mac.
  • Reply 14 of 49
    I've always wished that Apple would highlight applications that are Macintosh only.



    Kind of like a "Only on Macintosh" campaign which would highlight the stellar Mac apps like.



    Scrivener

    Pixelmator

    Panic's Coda

    Delicious Library

    Skitch

    Xsliva Lightspeed



    and more.



    I think that PC users tend to only recognize the majors (well many Mac users as well) like Microsoft, Adobe, Intuit.



    The thing is the Mac platform is defined by software software software and I know that Apple spends a lot of time and money developing credibility with the majors but it sure would be nice to see the little guys strut their stuff.



    Once you start "looking" and enjoying apps from Micro ISV you can't stop. I thought the Mac Heist and Mac Zot bundles were stupid and gimmicky but like a drug pimp giving me a "Free" hit I got hooked. Now I need a freakin app to track my licenses.



    Software is what drives our platform and the gems are coming from these small "labour of love" shops (yes I'm British now lol)
  • Reply 15 of 49
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Want more switchers? Simply open up Apple's OS to other hardware manufacturers. Many PC people are just not that into Apple laptops even though many of you will find that hard to fathom.
  • Reply 16 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by caliminius View Post


    I may be alone, but I've rarely found myself using most of the iLife software. Garageband seems like a really niche product. Likewise, though to a lesser exent, for iWeb and iDVD (I don't know if I've even opened iWeb in my 2 years of Mac ownership). That leaves 2 actually substantial products, iMovie and iPhoto. Neither is really a product most people will end up using very frequently.







    Go to your local Best Buy and you can walk down several aisles of PC software. Go to your local Wal-Mart and you'll find an aisle or 2 of PC software. When I go to my local Apple Store, I find a six foot span of wall with about 40 cubby holes for software. If they're trying to get switchers, shouldn't they make a better effort to show that they can match a PC's software selection?



    I couldn't have put it better myself. Here in the UK, I guess PC World is the nearest to your Best Buy, with much the same situation - very little Apple or 3rd party software, compared to stacks of PC software. Apple needs to make a better show of third party software and do more to encourage developers, instead of P***ing them off.



    I only use iPhoto out of the bundled suite, I often read there are other better alternatives but I can't be bothered to change over. The rest of the bundled software suite I tend to agree with most of the PC crowd who call it "toy" software. In the mid 90's we had Avid software bundled with our computers, far superior to iMovie.
  • Reply 17 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by caliminius View Post


    Go to your local Best Buy and you can walk down several aisles of PC software. Go to your local Wal-Mart and you'll find an aisle or 2 of PC software. When I go to my local Apple Store, I find a six foot span of wall with about 40 cubby holes for software. If they're trying to get switchers, shouldn't they make a better effort to show that they can match a PC's software selection?



    I agree. In the UK if you go to PC World for example they have rows and rows of PC software but only a handful of Mac software titles. This just reinforces the misconception amongst PC users that there is limited 3rd party software for the Mac. So, if it was me I would put as many third party applications in each Apple store as possible and have them loaded onto the demo Macs so potential buyers can see that they are every bit as good as the PC version. Obviously highlight iWork and iLfe as well just please don't make them the only selling tool. Business users need applications for accounts, payroll, CRM, etc, etc.
  • Reply 18 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iReality85 View Post


    I'm curious. What aspects of the iWork suite make it better than the Office suite? I've read in-depth comparisions of both, and reviews and comments point to the contrary. You can't just cough up a comment like that and not explain what it is about iWork that makes it "just a better product" than Office.



    As one who admittedly uses Office, I find this interesting.



    Well any review will have it's biases including mine. I spend a good part of the day every day training people how to use software packages in a University environment and troubleshooting their issues however so I think I have some insight into actual use.



    I find most reviews of iWork to date have focussed on feature comparison with the classic "check-box" approach that really avoids talking about the average users needs, likes/dislikes etc. so when you read a review of iWork it's usually about how it lacks this obscure arcane feature or that, and how it's "not quite as good as office" as a result. The last version lacked a few fairly basic features like mail-merge etc. but the current version has pretty much patched up these holes IMO.



    This kind of criticism gets less and less useful as the product approaches feature parity also. If you envision an exponential curve, you'll get what I mean. Down at the low end of the curve, if one product lacks a really base level feature like printing or scrolling, the difference is crucial. At the top end of the curve (where we are now), the inability to do some smaller feature that only a tiny subset of users need is far less critical and the general criticism of non-parity on features kind of falls apart.



    A lot of reviews also focus on the business end of things and how iWork is not ready for business" (I disagree), and then mention obscure features that a fortune 500 company might find essential, but that the average small business user never encounters. They also never talk about the reality that the majority of users of Office, are not even of the level of a small business owner, but really just Joe and Jane consumer, college students, and bloggers. So this is essentially a false requirement placed on the product by the reviewer.



    When I talk about a "better" product, what I am talking about is really an ease of use argument and the fact that it is a "new" product designed form the ground up as opposed to the clunky feature-bloated patchwork that is Office and the many Office-clones (free and otherwise) you can find. Office has numerous bugs, gotchas, and workarounds. For instance one that always bugged me is that there are two completely different and completely incompatible ways to do pagination in Word and rather than highlight them as what they are (different), Office hides them under the same interface fooling you into thinking they are the same. When one interferes with the other (say in a compound document), they fail completely but the user is left with no idea *why* the page numbers are not working, let alone a way to fix it. Another Word problem is the way in which it deals with any English language that is not US English (it basically doesn't). As an English speaker, I must have lost thousands of hours over the last ten years just trying to force Word to operate properly in this regard.



    Office is literally chock-a-block full of these kinds of glitches and workarounds, whereas iwork is smooth, fast, and logical. Once you get used to the slightly different paradigm (because yes it is slightly different), everything works exactly as it should, is consistent, discoverable etc. iWork is an excellent product that is also an order of magnitude cheaper than Office and completely suitable for the average consumer, and right up to the level of a small business user or web concern. It won't be a choice that makes sense for a large corporation, but it's not intending to be.



    Like most Apple products, once people discover it and get over the initial "this is kinda different" situation, I find they generally like it so much it's hard to pry it out of their hands. Which is why I suggested it would be good to port to Windows.



    (apologies for the super-long post)
  • Reply 19 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTel View Post


    With the iMac, Mac Mini, Mac Pro, and Xserve being absent from refreshes they'll need every bit of marketing help.



    Apple should really license their OSX in a limited form. Meaning, allow licensees to build desktops and servers with OSX preinstalled but not their bread and butter laptop market. Apple seemingly cannot keep-up the refresh cycle with the industry in those markets.



    It is tiresome to keep asking for an xMac, a more powerful yet less expensive Mac Mini, and an iMac that isn't so prone to faulty design and manufacturing. Plus the server and pro workstatoin line really isn't Apple's expertise.



    Limited OEM licensing where it doesn't affect Apple's bottomline. That's what Apple needs to do.



    Strategically, licensing Mac OS X would undercut Apple's competitive position, the delivery of an end-to-end experience. By controlling both Mac OS X and the machines on which Mac OS X is installed (Macs), Apple controls the ecosystem and can truly innovate. From a strategy and business perspective it boils down to differentiation and segmentation. Licensing would undermine these two advantages.



    With respect to Broad based vs. Focused differentiation the goal for firms is to establish uniqueness while appealing to a broad range of customers. This is what Apple has done with Mac OS X and Macs, more so in the past few years.



    Pursuit of growth ... So how should Apple grow?

    The way to do this is to preserve and reinforce their strategy. Apple should concentrate their efforts to deepen their strategic position rather than broadening and compromising it. Hence, no licensing.
  • Reply 20 of 49
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    I've always wished that Apple would highlight applications that are Macintosh only.



    Kind of like a "Only on Macintosh" campaign which would highlight the stellar Mac apps like.



    Scrivener

    Pixelmator

    Panic's Coda

    Delicious Library

    Skitch

    Xsliva Lightspeed



    and more.



    I think that PC users tend to only recognize the majors (well many Mac users as well) like Microsoft, Adobe, Intuit.



    The thing is the Mac platform is defined by software software software and I know that Apple spends a lot of time and money developing credibility with the majors but it sure would be nice to see the little guys strut their stuff.



    Once you start "looking" and enjoying apps from Micro ISV you can't stop. I thought the Mac Heist and Mac Zot bundles were stupid and gimmicky but like a drug pimp giving me a "Free" hit I got hooked. Now I need a freakin app to track my licenses.



    Software is what drives our platform and the gems are coming from these small "labour of love" shops (yes I'm British now lol)



    I think you are on to something there - they out to have a Pro Tower 8 core 30" monitor prominently displayed with demo versions of all software titles available for Mac only - and a banner over it - Only on a Mac - with maybe a notebook or iMac on the flip side of the table with all the same software - showing that you don't need to spend $10,000 on the computer to get the same apps.



    Not sure if virtual software would qualify for that - but a machine running bootcamp and or VMware fusion or Parallels might help switchers as well - show that the Mac can do it all.



    Could even make a commercial - what do you want to do? pick an App - it works on Mac - pick a Windows only App - it also works on a Mac with bootcamp or virtual machine - Want to try out linux - it works on a Mac. etc.



    I have long thought that Apple commercials should show real people using real apps on the Mac.
Sign In or Register to comment.