* Prices may differ from that shown
I have been to the Apple Store for many reasons and sadly most of the time it was to return blown up iPads or charger cables. The stores are very few and far between outside of London and my nearest is about 30 miles away. Rather annoying and inconvenient. Apple if you're listening, please build one in Mansfield or Nottingham City Centre! The store is absolutely fantastic and the facilities are above and beyond what you'd expect from a computer retailer. Their stores aren't just for buying apple products, you can come in to get advice, speak to genius guys, play on the Mac's, use the FREE wifi service which in itself is pretty amazing, and browse the latest software and hardware. I go in the store when I see them for all the reasons above, not just to buy products. Their staff attitude and customer service is matched by no one else, they are in a league of their own. Staff are very cheerful, knowledgeable and helpful. They are also polite and don't mess you about or give you a hard sell. They generally hover about the store but most of them are sat behind the genius bar. You can talk to them as they move about because they're always happy to help even if they're in the middle of something. The only negative i can think of is that because they are so popular and because their stores are always rammed, they do need to occupy bigger premises at their popular stores. The one at Meadowhall is so crowded it's a chore getting from one end to the other and finding a seat is almost impossible so waiting in a queue for the genius appointments is a real pain. The store is well laid out though and there's some very comfy (but very expensive at £200 EACH) chairs which are sort of space age blobs for you to sit on. The equipment is spaced out but it's not bare. They stock a wide variety of products like the iPad's, and the ones on display are usually white but there's a lot on the shelves and in the back rooms. I've never been told something is out of stock. Overall this is quite possibly the best retail store ever. They care about their customers with impeccable service, they go above and beyond the call of duty, you come in and they just have a chat with you like a normal person, not trying to make money and shove products in your face which actually works in their favour because now I write a positive review about them, and I want to buy products from them! A truly unique shopping experience, even if you're not shopping. Come in and have a chat with them, they're great people.
I first visited the Apple store in the Trafford Centre, Manchester, in September 2010 with my four year old (and therefore out of warranty) Macbook, which had cracked on the white outer casing around the magnetic catches which hold the lid closed. I had Googled the issue and found it to be a design flaw, so I called up the store (there was around a 10 minute wait, but they are a very very busy store, and you do get to speak to the staff direct rather than an automated message) who advised me to bring it in and it could be fixed free of charge. Brilliant, I thought. And then like the great big klutz I am, went right ahead and dropped the laptop causing my 'f' key to fall off. Whoops. So I was fully prepared to pay up for that to be repaired (every one needs an f in their life). The Apple store has as part of it's design a service called the Genius Bar which is a by-appointment helpdesk for all matters Apple, both hardware and software. I duly made an appointment on the Apple website, which was easy to do, and there were plenty of slots right up to 8pm weekdays. On entering the store and approaching the Genius Bar, you have to register with one of the blue-t-shirted staff, who mark you down as arrived on an iPad (all the staff have iPads or iPhones, and rather than there being a till to pay at, every member of staff carries a card machine. It's pretty nifty). I was seen almost instantly and a very friendly techie examined my Macbook, took some basic details and said he'd have my Mac back within the hour. I was chuffed! I had originally been told it might take 6 weeks depending on parts, but they had exactly the right parts in the store. Bonus! He also said that as the casing was one unit, I'd be getting a new keyboard as standard, complete with f, so there would be no charge whatsoever - I even got a new mouse trackpad and button (my old one had gone a bit yellowy, so I was happy about that). He was very very helpful and polite and brought me a seat when he saw how pregnant I was, and then rang me when he'd fixed my laptop (he was less than an hour). Absolutely brilliant service. But...I went into the Apple Store today expecting a similarly good service, but was let down badly. See, as my Macbook is now almost five years old, and still runs an old operating system (10.4 Tiger, for those interested!) I wished to upgrade to 10.6 Snow Leopard, two operating systems 'up'. I'd Googled the ins and outs, and it turned out I just needed the Snow Leopard CD priced at £26. I'd checked that my Mac was Intel based and had the right amount of RAM, and I thought it'd be a pretty painless purchase. But when I picked up the CD in-store, I checked with a young female member of staff by saying 'I can upgrade from Tiger with this, right?' and was told 'oh no, you need to upgrade using the family pack priced £120 - it's on the top shelf'. '£120?!' I thought. Flipping nora. I'm not paying that (well, I am from Yorkshire..) - but seriously, my laptop's only worth £300 tops, and I only wanted the upgrade as Apple themselves no longer support Tiger for new browsers and programs. I checked the family pack, and found it was simply the same Snow Leopard CD bundled with iWork and iLife (neither of which I needed or wanted). My husband was sure that as the CD was the same then I could simply buy it standalone (saving almost £100). So whilst standing confused at the shelf, another member of staff asked if they could help (I can't fault them there, they are enthusiastic). I asked again, can I upgrade from Tiger, and again was told, oh no, you need the (whatever-it's-called) edition, priced £77. Arrgh. I checked this edition, and the only difference was that I could use it on five Macs. I only have one Mac. I was so utterly confused at the differing information, I left without purchase. On checking with Mac via phone, I have been informed that the original £26 CD would have worked absolutely fine and the only differences in the versions are the licence agreements for different types of users. I'm annoyed I took the time to go to the store to be given such differing information, which was incorrect, and could have potentially cost me a serious amount of unnecessary money. It was my opinion that as much as the staff have clearly been trained, they're not actually Mac users day to day, and therefore, trotting out the sales pitch parrot fashion without any technical understanding really isn't serving their customer well. I've used Macs for years and I'd expect better. So...a mixed bag for me. I've had some outstanding service from Apple, and I can't fault them on their hardware support. Their staff are extremely polite, approachable, and enthusiastic, and the stores are clean, bright, white and welcoming with all the latest technology ready to be played with (and purchased!). But their support for long-time users isn't great at all and their confusing advice in terms of differing prices is frustrating. If you go in the store with a broken Macbook, wish to purchase an iPhone, or fancy a new iPad, chances are you'll love the service you get at the Apple store, even when it is bustling with customers. But if your question is even slightly off the regular track, concerns legacy software, or is a bit more technical, it is unlikely the floor staff will be able to give you a reliable answer to your question. I cannot, however, fault the Genius Bar which is a fabulous service. I'll give the store overall a 4/5 despite the problems I had today as generally the store is very high in terms of service. I've learnt my lesson however and will stick to calling customer support or making a booking with a techie on the Genius Bar should I have any problems with my 'ancient' 2007 edition Macbook!
When my partners iphone of only two months completely died - and I mean nothing at all, I started the process of going about getting it fixed. I started by going online and searching the apple support on it's website, but nothing that it suggested worked. My next route was to telephone the apple care support telephone line and speak to an advisor. I was expecting to wait in a queue for a while as you do - but I was in for a surprise..... after a quick couple of automated questions to direct my problem to the iphone section, I was connected to an advisor within minutes! After telling him the problems, he tlked me through a few ways to try and solve it (this meant being by a plug to charge the phone and being online with itunes). These processes only took about five minutes further, but it was apparent my iphone was not going to play :( Next he asked if I could get to an apple store and said that he could arrange an appointment now with them. I decided to ring them myself only as we thought we would combine the trip with some retail therapy and had to decide where to go. We decided on a Bristol branch; I telephoned and spoke with a member of staff, explained the above and was swiftly booked into a slot the next day. On arriving at the apple store I was surprised how many staff there were - easily enough to help everyone quickly even though this was the ipad launch week. We made our way to the "genius bar" as directed and were asked to take a seat at what is like a bar with stools. While we waited our name was frequently flased up in a queue list with the others before and after us. Useful as at least you have a general idea of when you time will come. We were actually seen within five minutes of our time slot - I was impressed. The guy grabbed his laptop plugged our phone in, tried a couple of things - and agreed it had died. To my hock he just said no problem we will just give you another one!! and they did there and then. Obviously how long you would be depends on the problems and how they fix it. Throughout the process I was amazed at how quick and efficant he service was. The staff were all polite and not condisending in anyway, and at the end we had a new, happy, healthy iphone :) Review maybe posted on dooyoo and ciao under the same username
*The following review relates to my experience in the Apple Store at the West Quay shopping centre Southampton* Computers are wonderful things - that is, until they stop working... something which happened to me last Friday. I love my Macbook, and until the events of last week I have always had complete faith in Apple, and have recommended the brand to everyone I know. I was minding my own business, using a popular social networking site, when the screen suddenly froze, followed by an ominous grey box which popped up and told me to restart the computer. This I did, but I soon released (when the screen remained blank) that something was horribly, horribly wrong. I did the obvious thing and switched it off for a couple of hours, hoping it just needed rest - but alas, there was no change. I also tried swearing at it, threatening it with physical violence, and finally begging it - but to no avail. A frantic phone call to my boyfriend confirmed my worst fears that my hard-drive was essentially dead! There was only one thing for it - I needed to see an expert... I decided to take by laptop to my nearest Apple Store which is in Southampton, to see if they could save the day and hopefully retrieve any data from my hard-drive - such was my complete faith in my Mac, I stupidly hadn't backed up any of my stuff (this included my half-written novel... now i'll never be the next JK Rowling!). The Apple Store in West Quay is fairly small, with a predominately white and futuristic / spaceship-like interior, with lots of demo computers and iPods running the length of each wall. The day of my visit was a Sunday (two days after 'the incident'), the shop had only been open twenty minutes and to my surprise, it was already packed full of potential customers. I could see plenty of blue t-shirted Apple staff (I was surprised to find out later that the shop employs sixty-five people, even though it's quite small) but they all seemed really busy, so I made my way to the desks at the back of the store, known as the 'Genius Bar'. At first I was worried that I was going to be ignored by all the staff standing behind the long row of computers, and spent a few minutes staring at a wall dedicated solely to Apple accessories - there's a ridiculous amount of iPod covers, and chargers etc packed from floor to ceiling. It wasn't long before lots of other people began to congregate around the Genius Bar, but soon enough a young man came round to speak to everyone, taking their names and checking they had an appointment. Unfortunately, I had simply turned up, chancing my luck that they would be able to fit me in. After consulting his computer, the man said that the only appointment left was at 4.30 - which meant I'd be waiting around for five hours - I suppose beggars can't be choosers! However, when he went to book me in, the appointment had disappeared, snapped up by another customer while we were talking! Oh no! that meant it could potentially be another week before I could get my laptop seen, let alone fixed! My heart sank at the thought of a whole week without my precious Macbook. However, like a knight in shining Apple-branded armour, my Mac man disappeared out back to find out what was going on - he came back a few minutes later with amazing news, there was a free slot at 12.20 which meant I only had to wait 50 minutes. When they finally examined my Macbook I was told that the hard drive was beyond repair, and all my data was lost (including my unfinished masterpiece). They couldn't tell me precisely what had happened to it, but I was reassured to know that it wasn't anything I had done! I have had the machine for nearly three years so it was well out of warranty and I was informed that it could potentially cost me over £150 to install a new hard-drive! It seemed though that this was my lucky day and was told that I would not be charged for the repair - I have no idea why, but I am clearly not going to ask questions if they are willing to do the work for free! As well as the free hard-drive, which had been upgraded to twice the storage space (from 80 to 160GB), the lovely man also replaced the plastic top casing around the keyboard and trackpad which was a little worn. To put the icing on the cake, when I got home and turned on my now working machine, I noticed that my system software had been upgraded to the recently released OSX 10.6 'Snow Leopard'. I don't know why, but before I arrived at the store I was expecting a load of weekend staff who wouldn't know anything or care about my problem - in reality I couldn't have been more wrong! The two staff members who helped me were extremely knowledgeable, friendly and conscientious, and had my Macbook repaired and back in my hands by the time the store closed at 5'oclock. From my limited experience in the Apple store I would highly recommend a visit - my computer was repaired in a quick and professional manner. If you want to purchase a new computer, there are plenty of expert staff at hand who are willing to advise you on the best model available for you, and in general, my faith in Apple has been restored. Apple Store Southampton Opening Hours - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Monday - Friday: 9am - 8pm Saturday: 9am - 7pm Sunday: 11am - 5pm Telephone: 023 8030 1050
In recent years Apple has come to the uk High Street. The shop is all about theatre and buying experience. The amount of staff is crazy there is almost one to one ratio of customers to staff. Most people I think browse rather than buying as the accessory prices are much more expensive than other places on the High Street. The shops use a lot of glass and light to be modern and fresh and copy the fashion of trendy New York retail. The best part of the shop though apart from seeing all the apple products in the flesh and trying them out is the customer service. Anyone can sell you a product and take your card on the spot so no more queuing to pay. Every store also has a genius bar which is where you go for help and support. The store will also run workshops and classes to educate you on your new purchase for free. My only problem with the genius bar that also the service is good and my smashed iphone was fixed in ten mins is the lack of knowledge of some of the staff behind the counter. It is quite easy to trip them up and get the response of "I am not sure off the top of my head" which is not really good enough for a service which is so popular you have to book in advance
I am a big fan of apple and have a lot of their products including the a mac and an iphone. I order online quite a lot and have been into the store a few times but a few weeks ago I had such a great experience at the Apple Store in Westfield Shopping Centre that I thought I would review it here. 18 months ago I bought my husband a Bowers and Wilkes Zeppelin speaker for his ipod from the Apple Store in Westfield. I am very bad at keeping receipts and so, as usual, I just threw this one away after giving him the speaker. Everything was fine until about a month ago it just stopped recognising the ipod when it was docked. My husband found some reviews online which said that similar things had happened to other people and that John Lewis sent one back to B&W and had it returned in a few weeks. Off we went to the Apple Store (I was a bit cross as I didn't want to trek all that way as it wasn't actually our nearest one!) and when we arrived we were greeted straightaway by a helpful salesman. When I said I didn't have the receipt anymore, he took my credit card number, looked it up on the system and found the purchase. About five minutes later he gave us two receipts and said - Here is your old receipt, and here's todays receipt. If you just come with me then I will get you a new one - and proceeded to just replace our speaker! I was really impressed as they hadn't even checked our story - just trusted us that it was broken. It saved us a lot of time and effort to have to go back and get it if it was sent back to B&W. The Apple Store has great customer service, they are always very helpful but not pushy. There are a lot of staff available too. They also have the genius bar for things that aren't working. The stores are normally huge, with an impressive array of computers, laptops, speakers and ipods that you can try out, as well as a lot of accessories and gadgets. If you are a gadget fan then definitely make a trip to the Apple Store!
I have always been a fan of apple and their amazing products, their online service when i have bought products in the past has been impeccable! Recently they opened an apple retail store in my home town and excitement was indeed pending! I had previously only visited store in london which i loved but couldn't head to too frequently. The store opened and was fantastic before i had even walked in, the front of the store featured its simple logo on the front which looked great! As soon as i walked into the store i was greeted warmly by a member of staff who asked if i needed any help and was not pushy! Exactly what i would look for in a store! As i looked around i could see that each section had its own expert on hand for that field ready to answer any questions. I left the store feeling very welcomed and definently attempted to come back! A few months later i decided i wanted to purchase an iMac from apple as i get a good discount through my university. I went into the store and was greeted exactly like before and when i said what i wanted to purchased i was asked to wait for a few minutes when an export of that area came over and sat me down to go through what i wanted, every detail was asked but yet i never felt like it was a full questionnaire, even when it came to the discount i was entitled to that was no issues and was done with no hassle! The process from original meeting to final payment was very quick but not as quick as for me to feel as 'just another customer' i very much felt like a personal shopper to the store. I left the store with my new toy in hand having had a fantastic service! I would recommend this store to anyone! Whether you are in for a look around or to shop, you will feel very welcomed and wanting to go back and spend even more money! Fantastic service!
The Apple Retail store is quite a recent addition to the Glasgow shopping experience, please note that any comment in this review is based on the service etc in that store. Firstly it is a very well presented building on the outside as well as in. Inside is a sea of white and high gloss sleek surfaces. Much like all of apples products incidentally. Computers, Ipods and Iphones are littered throughout the store that anyone can have a small test drive in. I have found that the staff are not overly pushy at this stage and you are free to play about with the product to your hearts content which is nice. In relation to the staff I found them to be quite pushy when trying to add extras to a product that you are trying to buy. It is plain that they work on commission and despite several repetitions of the word NO the salesman kept repeating his offers. Which was irritating when you are spending close to 1000 pounds to start with. After navigating the sales process however Apple are friendly to deal with and are happy to give plenty of help and offer classes to help people with their new mac or iphone etc.
Apple, yeah not the fruit, but the company that makes the really nice computers and mp3 players. Well if you need an apple product here is the place to come, but not to purchase it.... Apples stores are wonderful places, with minimalist design and plenty of sleek products awaiting to tempt you. Most major cities have Apple stores and they can be recognised instantly by the distinctive Apple Logo, glass and A LOT of people. Apple Stores are the most fun of all highstreet shops, mainly because of the display units of all the technology on offer, most stores are equipped with tables each containing various iPods, Macs and more. Next to each product is its name, price and specifications so that you can make an informed buying decision. The one problem wit the store is that all the items are sold for full price (unless you are eligible for a student discount), this means that other retailers both highstreet and online can offer better prices. For this reason I would recommend that you buy your lovely Apple Product wherever sells it cheapest and not to be drawn in by Apple's shops. However, these stores offer you the great advantage over most products as it allows you to fully test the product in the store to see how it would suit your needs. A word of warning however, they may place more powerful versions of computers in place of others, to make sure you click the Apple Logo in the top left corner and then click 'About this Mac' this will allow you to see if the speediness an attribute of the product you want. e.g. when I was testing out the 13" MacBook Pro I found the one I was using in the shop had a 2.56Ghz processor and 4GB of RAM, but I intended on buying the 2.26GHz with 2GB of RAM. So I looked for one with my desired specs, which I did find eventually. The stores, aswell as selling Apple's hardware and software, also sell accessories from many leading brands such as 'Bose', 'Gear4' and many more. These accessories come in the form of iPod docks, Laptop sleeves, headphones, etc... The stores are also staffed by clearly labelled staff members who are very knowledgeable and are always warm and friendly. As well as just acting as a shop you can also get your Apple product fixed (if under Apple Care and only in selected stores) or you can pay to have a one-on-one session with one of the staff members you can guide you n your way to converting to 'Mac' (once you go Mac, you never go back). Overall Apple Stores are a must-visit every time you walk past, just to ogle at some of the gorgeous technology and see what yearly revisions they have made to some of their products. Oh and if you need directions or access to the Internet whilst 'on-the-go' you can use the shops as free Internet cafes. The success of these stores has even lead to Microsoft following suit, with a trial Microsoft Store in one American city or another,
I've used the Apple retail store on a number of occasions for a number of different purposes, and the high level of customer service that Apple deliver has never been anything but exceptionally good. Every Apple retail store has a uniform feel, they're all pretty much one and the same, but I feel that this adds to the experience as you always know exactly what you are going to get. The staff are always visible in their bright blue t-shirts (these change seasonally), all members of staff are approachable and the product knowledge of the staff is second to none. For example, if you express interest in any product, the staff will be happy to give you a full demonstration, making note of what you wish to use the product for, and tailoring the demonstration to your needs. They're also happy to explain add-ons such as Applecare and so forth but are not pushy in forcing you to purchase them. All products are highly visible in store. The computers, iPods, Iphones and a variety of other products are laid out on large tables around the store in order to allow customers to try before they buy. All of the products are fully functional to allow the customer to have a full trial before making the decision to purchase. This is something that PC World and many other computer stores don't allow you to do. Furthermore, there is a dedicated area in each store for software purchases and accessories so everything is easy to locate. Making purchases in the Apple store is a smooth process. Your customer service adviser will put your order through the computer, and take the payment on their portable machine (or take you to one of the cash-sale points in store), while a runner will bring the product to you, ready to go. If you pay by card, there is the option to have the receipt e-mailed to you to save paper, which is a great idea! Overall, the transactions are smooth and quick, and all of the information such as your product serial numbers are scanned into the portable machine to save time. The Apple store however, does not just offer the opportunity to purchase items. All Apple stores offer the 'genius bar' service. The 'genius bar' is an appointment-only service where you can take your Apple products to be fixed by one of their technical support specialists. The geniuses will assess the problem and do their best to fix it as soon as they possibly can. And for those whose product is still under warranty or who have applecare this service is totally free. It can be hard to get a weekend appointment, but early appointments tend to be the most available on weekends. Furthermore, most Apple stores now offer classes for those who are new to Apple products in order to help them learn to use the products to their full potential. There is a price for these classes, however the general consensus appears to be that they are exceptionally helpful. Overall, the Apple retail store is a great customer experience, which is to be expected due to the high quality products that are available in store. The services offered are second to none and for anybody wishing to purchase an Apple product I highly recommend buying in store for the maximum support and guidance in making the correct purchase.
With the recent surge in the success and popularity of Apple products the company have slowly begun to increase their high street visability through the opening of Apple stores which are like their products in that they are fresh and vibrant but are they anything more? The Apple store I have visited is the one in the centre of Glasgow when my wife was looking to get me a new Ipod and upon entering the store we were impressed with the spacious, airy, modern and fresh feel to the store...this was not like other stores out there. The items being sold were all offered in a well laid out and welcoming manner with macbooks laid out on large tables allow you to play about on them and experience what they are truly like to use. The same has to be said of the Ipods and Iphones as these are also laid out on tables around the store allowing you to stick on the headphones on offer and listen to the sound quality whilst also using the Ipod itself to choose your songs, change the volume and just get a general feel for the machine itself. All of the items on offer have clear and helpfull information on offer with the price clearly displayed along with memory information, battery life and more. The store also offers a variety of accessories for the products on offer and in the Glasgow store this is in a seperate section upstairs where you can find covers for your Ipod and Iphone, macbook cases, headphones, earphones, speakers and more with the variety on offer ranging accross a broad price range to offer good quality items for everyone. The staff in the store we visited were excellent with them offering help when needed but not being pushy. They were very friendly and cheerful and there were plenty about so that you were not needing to go and stand in queues for ages. When you have decided on your purchase it is a lot simpler than in other stores as you can go to a till or the staff will come to you and they have machines on them to allow your purchase to be put through and even the option of an e-mailed receipt to save paper which I thought was very good. The stores also have training sessions to allow you free help to learn to use your new product to its fullest which I was very impressed with. Positives: - Excellent staff - Modern and fresh feeling store with plenty of space - Well laid out products with plenty of clear and concise information on offer - Prices are the same as what you pay in other stores - Training sessions are available for learning to use the products to their fullest - Quick and easy transactions Negatives: - None This is the place to pick up your Apple products and makes the entire experience so much more relaxed and impressive than I thought possible.
Apple are known for their stylish & great looking products from their lovely macbooks to their Ipod range & of course the Iphone which is taking the market by storm. As well as being able to buy their products from their online site, you can also pop into one of their stores. Unfortunately they only have a few of these stores spread across the UK. I have been fortunate to visit three of these, their flagship store in London's Regent Street as well as the ones in Manchester & Milton Keynes. Their stores just like their products are well designed and look great making them a pleasure to browse around. You will normally be blown away with the technology on offer. One thing I love though is how you can just try out the product as they have a number of each item out on display & working ready to test out. The staff are also very helpful & will come over to you within no time to see if they can be of any help. They are also quite knowledgable & will be able to help you if you're not sure about a particular product. If you do happen to pass one of these stores, do pop on & take a look if only for a browse.
The Apple Retail Store is like no other - it's like walking into a new world. You are just taken away by the technology within. Every Apple Store that I have visited in the UK has been packed with people as they begin to realise the true technology behind Apple and their products. There are many Apple stores around the UK but you sometimes have to travel a bit to find one. They are in all major cities such as London, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh. You can easily spot an apple store as they have a large apple logo outside, which is white. They also have a very light atmosphere as if you are walking towards the light - towards heaven. As you enter the store, you will notice that there are always plenty of staff. Apple stores are never short of staff, as they are necessary to help you find what you're looking for and provide quality information on products. They are really helpful too and they can always help you find what you're looking for. I explained I wanted a kit to help charge my iPod abroad like in France, Spain and the USA etc, and they bought me right to the perfect product to do so. The store is laid out nicely but it can get quite busy so you can easily miss things. There are usually a lot of computers available to try out including all the very latest iMacs, Macbooks, Mac Mini and more. They also have on display all the other gadgets such as iPods, which you can try out and touch to give you a feel for what they're like. Besides this, the Apple store is the number one place to find any accessories you need. They also have a whole wall of Mac games - yes, Macs do have games! In fact, they have loads of games just like PCs. The staffs are really helpful but the only problem I found was that they are a bit slow sometimes. They can be very slow at the till, especially when it's so busy and you get manic people rushing around asking for help. Overall, it's a super store and has a great atmosphere. It's very simply laid out and the whole atmosphere emphasises the one that Apple try to create with their electronics. The stores are simple, quick and easy. I wouldn't say they are as quick as the other two features due to the slow staff at tills sometimes, but they are generally very helpful. One important thing is that the staff are very knowledgeable too and can help you make a decision on what may be an investment. Thanks for reading, Dan ©
I own a few Apple products, all bought because of how much I was impressed with my first iPod some years ago. I discovered the Apple Store soon after. The first thing that strikes you about the store is you can try all of the Apple products before you buy them. You can immediately see all of the different iPods, Macs and Macbooks all just waiting to be played with! Each iPod has headphones attached, is tethered to the bench, and is docked so that the battery is always charged. Pop a set of headphones on and you're ready to play. This is really useful as you can see if the interface suits you, and get a feel for the size and styling of the device. Interestingly, all of the iPod range are attached to great headphones rather than the ones you get with the device. I assume the reasons for this are two-fold: firstly these headphones show off the iPod's sound quality better, and secondly the standard headphones would be hard to secure in the shop and so may get stolen. Macs are lined up down the sides, including Mac Minis attached to a variety of displays in different sizes, there's even one attached to a musical keyboard for those with any talent in that direction (I leave it well alone!) MacBooks are in the middle of the store and, importantly with laptops, you can try the keyboard and mousepad out to make sure it suits. At the back of the store is the Genius Bar (which I assumed was a place someone like me would be able to get a pint, but I wasn't in luck!) where Apple staff can guide you through aspects of all things Apple. You can also visit the store, by appointment, for lessons in Max OS X and other Apple software, so you can turn yourself into an Apple expert a lot quicker than struggling at home. The last thing you notice in the store are the staff. They are there to help, but it seems they don't have a mission to sell. Apple let the products sell themselves it seems. The staff may say hello but, unless you look completely lost they just leave you to browse, which I find a nice change from other stores selling high value items. All the staff know what they are talking about if you're stuck, and still won't push you for a sale. Then, once you've decided what you want, all you have to do is find a member of staff, and they will get your products for you, and you can pay (on card) right there in the middle of the store, no queueing at checkouts here. They even email you a receipt automatically, so you can't lose it on your way home.
The Apple store is definitely an interesting retail experience, or more accurately an experience as a whole. The store does do something rather obvious, it sells Apple products - their whole range in fact. If you want an Apple computer, iPod, keyboard/mouse, anything - they'll have it there. What isn't surprising either is that they sell at their own recommended retail price, but what is a little known fact is that the Apple store can do education discounts in store if you can prove that you are a teacher or student of some sort. The buying process is actually surprisingly non-pushy in my experience, you go in say what you want (ask questions if needed) and get answers, tell them what you want and they'll process it there and then, often without going to the tills, see the staff now use iPhones (or possibly iPod touches, I'm not certain which!) to process it using custom Apps. Occasionally they'll try and sell you a higher model, but if you just say politely that you want what you have decided on you'll get little argument. They will often try and sell you Applecare, an extended warranty, usually a little over £100, definitely worth a buy in my books - I got it for free by fluke many years ago and it's saved me a fortune in a number of areas, both phone support and replacement parts. Getting service at a retail store is a pleasure too, visit the website first, book an appointment for up to 2 days in advance and then turn up 10 minutes before to book in and be seen, of course they are occasionally a little late but the appointments are quite generous so this is rarely the case, and the guys tend to know their stuff, and help explain in laymen's terms to you. Repairs tend to take 5 days if parts aren't easily changeable, but if you push a little they can do things in an hour if you can't get back to store. Seriously this is one of the best stores that I've ever been in for service, can't rate them highly enough. The stores keep all of their stock on display so you can try things out before you buy them which is a really useful way of finding out whether a product is for you or not, whether it be an iPod shuffle or a Mac Pro. Training can also be received in store, admittedly for smaller things they'll turn around and do it for you there and then, for more advanced projects they'll book you in and charge you, but then, we've got to learn somewhere! A genuinely amazing retail experience, enough to make the premium you pay for Macs well worth it in my opinion.