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Apple is taking a small-step to unifying the attire of its U.S.-based Apple Store employees this upcoming week: the black shirts worn by Apple Store Business Team members for several years will be going into retirement, and all Apple Store employees will begin wearing the same, classic blue t-shirts as normally seen on the store sales floors. Is this a move from the handbook of Angela Ahrendts’ fashion background? Probably not. Sources say that the move happened in Europe a few months ago and the change-up is simply to unify the Apple Store teams as one. The business team will continue to exist in its current form (for now), so this is mostly just a visual change.

In other news, multiple sources also say that Apple is planning some significant operational changes within its stores to improve customer experience…

The first change that customers will experience in the near-future is an enhancement to the Genius Bar that will give customers more one-on-one time with a Genius. Right now, Apple Store appointments are supposed to be 10 minutes each. So, if you have a problem with your Mac, you get 10 minutes with an employee. If you also have an iPhone problem, you’ll need to create a separate 10 minute appointment. In the future, this policy will go away and customers will be able to book appointments with time limits based upon how many problems they’re bringing to the store at that particular time. There’s no ETA on a widespread rollout for this, but select stores have begun training for this and a small-scale rollout could be expected in the coming weeks or months.

Apple is also planning another shift, but exact details on what the change is are yet to become available. Sources say that Apple will be training its retail employees on a major new initiative between August 10th and August 28th. Genius Bar employees will be going through individual three hour training sessions, and sales staff members will each receive five hours of training over that roughly two-and-a-half weeks. One source thinks that the new initiative revolves around in-store iPhone activations, but that is uncertain. We’ll likely hear more about this one in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. (Update: Apple Stores to soon open up iPhone sales via AT&T Next, T-Mobile JUMP, & Verizon Edge)

These Apple Store changes come in the months following Angela Ahrendts taking over the Apple Retail division, and ahead of major new products such as larger iPhones, skinnier Macs, and wearable fitness/health bands. Ahrendts has already overseen some significant new store openings, and many more are planned in China, Europe, and the United States for later in 2014 and into 2015.

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61 Responses to “Apple Stores unify employee shirts as major customer service enhancements planned”

  1. They better fix things in England, I heard it’s pretty rough over there when it comes to free replacements.

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  2. I’ve had PC’s for roughly +25 years, when I changed to Apple/Mac a few years ago, I never ever needed any help from any genius at all. Because the years of experience with PC’s taught me all I need to know about computers in general.
    However, Apple people that have only ever had Apple, need all the help they can get, because when it comes to understanding what is “under the hood”, they’re the dumbest user group I’ve ever encountered in my whole life!
    And to think that Apple products are by far the simplest computers/gadgets to use, it amazes me how low of an IQ customers have to be in order to go to a genius.

    Like

    • genek10 says:

      A. Peterson: So you know all about washers and dryers, right? If ANYTHING needs to be fixed or learned about features on your modern appliances, you can do it all, right?

      Pretty ignorant rant above. You know nothing about why someone might visit a Genius Bar. Apple provides convenient extended customer service on their products to increase the benefits to their customers. Try to get that from any number of PC “manufacturers”.

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      • @genek10,
        Last time I checked washers and dryers weren’t computers.
        Generally “PC people” are more knowledgeable about problems e.t.c. so theres no use for such an extended customer service.
        Theres 2 years warranty on items purchased, compared to Apple “trying to enforce” a 1 year policy of warranty. However Apple can’t do that in the EU thankfully.

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      • @André
        Having done support for both PCs and Macs, trust me the ignorance is there on both sides. “PC People” don’t are not generally more knowledgable. They range in experience and knowledge just like people who use Macs. And there are plenty of Mac users that have never used a PC but can take a Mac apart and put it together again with no problems. So leave your gross generalizations at the door and stop trying to promote stereotypes.

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      • @Buck, sure, not everyone of course, but really many compared to the PC users.
        I suppose sitting in support you only get to hear about the problems.

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    • Generalising much? Way to feel superior there, Andre.

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    • From what i’ve seen *some* of those ‘dumb, low IQ’ customers you mention are elderly, or have never owned a PC before, or had an iPhone given to them as their first ever computing device and want to know more – not because they’re stupid but because they want to kick on and lead independent digital lives. It’s great you’ve had an opportunity to understand things under the hood, but frankly you could probably get away with toning down your assumptions regarding everyone else.

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    • So, when I made an appointment with a genius because my iphone wouldn’t play sound during phonecalls anymore, despite nothing else being wrong with it. After restoring the phone, and generally doing everything the forums mentioned I could possibly do I decided to go to the apple store with it. I must have such an amazingly low IQ according to you? Way to go judgemental there, buddy… So what’s your solution to hardware problems in the new macbook pro’s? Not really much you can do besides going to a genius, especially during the 2 year warranty peridoe because if you solve the hardware problems yourself you void the warranty. Whatever great things you may have learned in your 25+ years that you’ve had pc’s, it surely hasn’t thought you a lick of understanding of people obviously.

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      • Probably. But I of course can’t be certain about your IQ unless you take a test.

        An iPhone with no audio during phone calls? Unless its not the silent switch on the side of the phone. (This you checked I presume) then its a very simple speaker replacement. A simple fix that takes me about 20 minutes to perform. Have done it a few times, though I’m not an expert in this regard, I just used Google and did it myself. No need for a genius.
        You don’t void the warranty unless you on purpose break seals and make a cock up of the job.
        I suppose it takes a bit of experience. I’m fortunate.

        I guess by the amount of replies so far to my thread, Apple users really don’t know that much at all about general repairs. Lucky for you guys you can just go to a genius and let them solve your problems instead of trying to figure things out for yourselves. So my presumptions were correct :)

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      • Andre, I hate to burst your bubble but you DO void the warranty on any Apple product if it is serviced by an unauthorized technician. This is easily determined by those at the Genius Bar, especially if non-Apple parts have been used.

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      • @Joe,
        Yeah, you do void warranty like you say. (As it says in the EULA e.t.c.) however, you can just replace those parts with the original ones before handing it over to a genius (if you need to take it to a genius).

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      • iJonni says:

        True with some parts. Not with others. In the case of the battery, there’s no way you’re taking a battery out and placing another in without a tech realizing it has been removed at some point. Unless they don’t open it at all. But once opened, it’s pretty obvious to tell when a device has been modified. Unless you’re well stocked with high bond tape and especially skilled :)

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      • @iJonni,
        How can you tell exactly? Theres no “bond” or “warranty seal” on any screws relating to the battery (iPhone 4 and up)
        No tech will ever find out, unless you purposely scratch the heads of the screws, but if you’re careful and know what you’re doing, this won’t happen.

        See here:

        https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iPhone+4+Battery+Replacement/3141

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    • daveinpublic says:

      Ya, PCs are harder to use – but that doesn’t mean anyone is smarter for using them. I’m sure the warranties on PCs are well worn.

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    • @Andre What if the speaker still doesn’t work after you replace it?
      And just because people don’t know how to use computers doesn’t mean they’re dumb. They’re just inexperienced in computing and maybe their experienced in something you know diddly squat in. We all have our strengths and weaknesses.
      Did you also build your own house, do your own plumbing, do your own electrical work, be your own car mechanic, etc,? If not, why not? I’m sure you can Google how to do it.
      You just sound like a bitter ass.

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      • @Cali, if the speaker dosen’t work after replacement, could be a few things, depends on model, but you could then replace the buzzer/speaker drive PLCC (if you have the soldering equipment of course)

        Sure, there are many things I don’t know about, such as medical things.
        Yes I did parts of my house, yes I did own plumbing, yes I did own electrical, yes I did some mechanical work and tons of other stuff thanks to google/common sense. Saved money too, except in cases where I was just lazy so I’d rather pay someone to do it for me.

        And you’re right, dosen’t mean they’re dumb at life, just behind in computer things.
        However, the number of ignorant people vs. PC people is very high. Theres quite a difference there.
        I suppose its because Apple products “just work” and so you don’t need to take things apart like you do in the PC world where not everything works all the time, so you’re forced to learn new things instead.

        Please try not to get so personally offended if you don’t know technical things, its not worth it. You can always learn :)

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    • iJonni says:

      I’m willing to bet you live in a country that doesn’t have many customer service options and most people need to learn how to fix things on their own. Maybe not. But in my experience owning pc and Mac for over twenty five years, most PC users have no where to turn when they are in need of repair. Their solutions are erase everything and reinstall windows or get a new computer. You must be surrounded by very capable people who have no problem taking action and figuring things out on their own. However over here in New York state, many people own macs, iOS devices, cars, washers, television sets, etc, and don’t feel like they need to or want to learn how to fix these things to be able to use them as the manufacturer intended. So they go to a repair facility. Their is no universal PC repair shop, but thankfully there is a place for all things Apple. Have fun fixing your own problems. Let the rest of us, with more important things to do, let the technicians do their job. And stop being so judgmental and assumption. No one likes that.

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      • @iJonni, Thankfully I live in a rich 1st world country, theres plenty of options to get things repaired.
        Yeah, sadly Windows is a little “lacking” in terms of stability/usage and way too easy to get it messed up, so oftentimes the solution is just to format and reinstall.
        I suppose we do live in an age where people just buy new instead of repairing, unless the price is way cheaper to get it fixed.

        Still, even if they have more important things to do, why not do something yourself in 20 minutes instead of driving 30minutes and then waiting an hour for a repair (unless it takes days because of the need to order spare parts) that just dosen’t make sense. Thats just lack of optimizing time.

        Thankfully Apple products are of a high standard, much higher than other gadget/PC counterparts, so its rarely needed to fix something yourself. Hence the lack of experience when something does go wrong.

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    • daitenshe says:

      See guys! It IS easy.. to be a pretentious ass who doesn’t know nearly as much as he thinks he does. After a single symptom you and unilaterally declare that he just needs to “replace the speaker” when there are plenty other potential solutions? What a profound diagnosis. I’d love to see a doctor try that.

      “Doctor I have a cough I think-”
      “LUNG TRANSPLANT!”
      “No, doctor, I’m pretty sure it could be from something much less seriou-”
      “LUUUUUNNG TRANSPLANT!”

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      • @daitenshe,
        You can’t compare a cough(medical) to something technical.

        In my experience, its usually only the speaker that needs exchanging. You can’t “build” your own speaker from spare parts, its a single production unit.

        You say there are other solutions? Such as?
        Flipping the “silent” switch on the side of the iPhone?
        Pressing the volume up button on the side of the Phone?
        Altering settings?
        I presume the guy did such basic things already, if not, then theres a dire need to read the manual.

        But give me some examples of what else could be wrong, you say there are “plenty other potential solutions”, I’d really like to know :)

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      • daitenshe says:

        How can you not compare something medical to something electronic? You do understand how the body works, right?

        The worst part about how little you understand about these situations is the fact that you’re so smug at the same time. People give you examples like “do you know how to fix your washing machine” and you just dismiss them because “washers and dryers aren’t computers” You have knowledge in one area and assume that just because YOU know something that it should be general knowledge. Look up egocentrism. Should be enlightening for you.

        You declared it already to be a bad speaker and now decide to add in setting altering as an option as well despite being so positive after a one sentence description. It could be:

        A problem with the ambient noise cancellation software which could be disabled in the settings if needed

        If he has the phone in the bathroom while showing, the humidity could be affecting the speakers for a time, only to be fine a couple hours later (happened to mine)

        Could be a potential problem with the headphone jack, making it think that there’s headphones plugged in while there are none.

        Those are just a couple I could think of off the top of my head. I’m sure I could find more if I went forum diving

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      • @daitenshe,

        “A problem with the ambient noise cancellation software which could be disabled in the settings if needed”
        Read the manual – problem solved. Already mentioned this in other posts.
        iOS software dosen’t “fail”, it either works or it dosen’t.

        “If he has the phone in the bathroom while showing, the humidity could be affecting the speakers for a time, only to be fine a couple hours later (happened to mine)”
        Liquid damage – warranty void – read the manual.

        “Could be a potential problem with the headphone jack, making it think that there’s headphones plugged in while there are none.”
        Perhaps. Good point. Although I’ve never encountered this. Still in theory its possible.
        More likely some kind of mechanical damage from misuse – again, warranty void from physical force – read the manual.

        Forum diving? Great. Or google/search for problems / solutions. Saves going to a genius. Spare parts? Try eBay.

        Although I suppose some people can’t read manuals and some people are born with 10 thumbs.
        Good thing genius bar exists.

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      • daitenshe says:

        Wow. It must be really easy to feel so smug when you can so easily dismiss statements/questions that are inconvenient to what you’re saying.

        “Read the manual” So just comb through hundreds of pages worth of info in the hopes that what you’re looking for isn’t a bug in the newest OS which would completely negate what the manual says.

        “Liquid damage warranty void read the manual” Wrong again. No liquid sensors were tripped and after a few hours had passed the phone worked normally. Doesn’t void warranty. Especially if you have Appecare+

        “More likely a sign of mechanical damage from misuse” Well it’s a good thing you didn’t pull that out of your ass and had plenty of data to back that up. I’ve seen that happen a few times with some of the issues being caused by the Apple branded headphones (which are also under warranty) that come with the phone itself with no signs of misuse at all.

        “Spare parts? Try ebay”
        That’s the worst piece of “advice” I’ve seen from you so far. With how expertly acquainted you feel you are with how the warranty works, you’d have to know that replacing any parts voids the warranty. So replacing the battery yourself saves you a couple dollars but when a critically important and expensive part craps out on you 5 months later and they tell you “sorry but we can’t help you since you voided your warranty” how smug are you going to feel then?

        You are simply citing extremely vague answers for these problems that may or may not even be what the actual problem is and somehow (it’s beyond me) feeling superior at the same time. If I ever need a hypothetical technician who can just say, with no real certainty, exactly what the problem is with a device he hasn’t ever looked at, I’ll shoot you a message

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      • @daitenshe,
        Sorry, not my intention to avoid any questions as such. Thought I’d answered most things.
        Perhaps I do sound kind of smug, its difficult to be so clever and yet so humble at the same time :)
        Kidding aside, there are some things that enerve me thats all. I certainly don’t wish any harm on anyone e.t.c.
        Its fine by me if you’re so offended by what I say. It dosen’t affect me in the slightest, so try to keep your insults inside yourself.

        Now, changing the battery on an iPhone takes about 2-3mins, it dosen’t void warranty, because you don’t break any internal warranty seals. (Speaking about models after 3S) Its probably the easiest job.
        Apple tech would never know you had your phone taken apart, unless you do damage inside, like scratching, over-torqueing the screws.
        If your phone/mac is inside warranty, probably best to send it in officially for repairs.
        But we’re also speaking about gadgets that are outside warranty, yet people still seek geniuses for this.
        There are as many problems as there people, so covering them all is quite a task.

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      • Andre you are an idiot, had you REALLY known how apple functions you would know that by changing the battery outside of an apple store, your warranty IS voided. Apple does not rely on warranty seals but an independent verification of each part as they are serialized and marked, if your battery does not match the component verification in the systems, your device is rendered DoS (Denial of Service) and warranty is automatically voided. Please get your head out of your ass and think you can do everything yourself.

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      • daitenshe says:

        I don’t think we *were* talking about gadgets that were outside their warranty, especially since you cited twice said that the potential problems that I mentioned could’ve been due misuse and would’ve then voided the warranty. And, unless you buy an Apple branded battery (and from ebay, like your suggestion, the odds are you’re not) they most definitely can tell if the battery doesn’t match.

        “If your phone/mac is inside warranty, probably best to send it in officially for repairs.” I think you’re pretty confused, child. I don’t recall once seeing anyone saying that their phone was out of warranty before you started imparting your “wisdom” and now you say they should just take it to the genius? I thought you were just ignorant but now I really hope, for your sake, that you’re just trying to troll people

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      • @Orlando,
        Then put the old battery back before to take it in. How difficult can it possibly be?
        Problem solved.

        Like

      • @daitenshe,
        Is it possible for you to try to have a normal conversation without name-calling?
        Look, you’re taking things out of context:
        If your Mac/iPhone/whatever is broken and you can’t possibly repair it yourself in an easy manner (lacking skills, lacking tools, e.t.c.) then its better to send it in for repairs as a RMA.

        My point is that if you can do it yourself relatively easily and for minimal costs/risk, then do it.

        Don’t get offended at me because I know how to do things myself. Jealousy dosen’t become you.
        Take that energy and go learn something, you’ll be the better for it.
        Or just ignore me completely if you think I’m trolling :)

        Like

      • Air Burt says:

        Andre the ignorant troll just doesn’t know when to shut up. He’s certainly making a name for himself: one that lies out his ass about computers!

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      • @Air Burt,
        Jealous too I see. Then just ignore me, its that easy :)

        Like

    • luckydcxx says:

      they are more knowledgeable because they have spent years fixing their computers. the problem with apple comptuters is that they don’t break. /s

      Like

      • @luckydcxx,
        I agree, my thoughts exactly! :)
        So when something does go wrong, theres a lack of experience.

        Like

      • Kevin C. Brown says:

        Seems they do break given all of the comments here. Seriously, speaker not working on an iPhone because it was in the bathroom while showering? Time for a Galaxy! :)

        Like

      • @Kevin,
        Its not the iPhones fault that the user was stupid enough to take his iPhone with him into the shower.
        Under “normal” conditions, the iPhones reliability is far greater than other smart phones.
        If you drown a Galaxy under water, it too will fail and thats not normal usage.
        (yeah yeah, I understand the user didn’t take it into the actual shower, just into the bathroom)

        Like

    • The Wexler Adult Intelligence test I took and my phd both tell me my IQ is more than just fine. The fact that your “simple solution” was both wrong (it was something on the SoC) and something that would have voided the warranty despite not having broken any seals (no longer official apple speakers in there are a dead giveaway that you performed repairs yourself) just illustrate how wrong you were. Had you done it your way you would have lost more time and money on needless (because wrong) repairs. Don’t presume people are stupid because they go to the genius bar.

      Ever heard of the dunning-kruger effect? It boils down to this: stupid people think they’re very clever because they don’t really know the criteria to evaluate their own lack of knowledge while knowledgeable people do and therefor know their own limitations and think they’re rather stupid…. You can draw your own conclusions from that.

      Like

      • daitenshe says:

        Haha that last part is spot on. I didn’t know the name of the effect but that’s all I could think of when I was reading his other comments

        Like

      • As I’ve said before, usually its just the speaker. But difficult to know for sure, without the actual phone to diagnose isn’t it? You didn’t even say what model it was. Had you read my other replies, you would see this.

        But it dosen’t matter anyway, you can visit the genius bar all you want and do it that way, if you can’t do it any other way.

        Congratulations on your Phd, but it didn’t help you much with your iPhone it seems :)

        Like

    • I worked in one of the first Apple Stores for over three years. We had INSANELY high traffic. Hundreds of people an hour. You know how many PC users walked in, looked at the computers, were enticed, and then asked, “Are these Windows computers?” Countless ‘high IQ’ Windows users.

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    • Apple users tend to just want their products to work. I used to get nauseous hearing the windows PC boot up at work…stupid operating system. It was such a relief to go home to a machine that works the way it is intended to.

      When I am home, I don’t want headaches or hassles. I purchase the Apple Care plan so I won’t have to deal with it when ever a problem occurs.

      You say there are more smarter PC users than Mac owners….might be because you have a larger body of people using PCs instead of Macs. But I gurrantee you, there are plenty of PC people who have no clue what is going on on their screen let alone under the hood. Most people buy a PC because it is cheap on the front end not knowing the headaches, and expenses of upgrading their device it will be in the long run. To me, that reads lower IQ all over it for not looking at the full picture.

      Either way, there are plenty of people who know and don’t know how to fix their personal computers on both PC and Mac.

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      • Yeah, I use PC’s at work too. Since I got my Mac, I often wonder “should have changed sooner”.
        But yeah, you’re probably right, the amount of PC users far outnumber the amount of Mac users, but generally I think the reason is that if you’re a PC user, you’re “forced” learn more than just whats on the screen.

        You can upgrade a PC 3-4 times during the course of 5 years compared to what it costs for a Mac (from new, not used) so theres a trade off of system stability vs. faster/better machine.
        If you’re a gamer, PC’s are generally better, for the “average Joe” a Mac will be a lot less hassle/headache as you say.

        The operating system has a lot to say, i.e. Windows, but many components inside a PC and Mac are very similar (such as HD, RAM, CPU) so the “real” culprit here is Microsoft which copies a lot from OS X – and they didn’t even copy it well (Thought Steve Jobs said that at some time?)

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    • thomasskyg says:

      Yes. It seems that when many Apple users encounters a problem they would seek a genius. Whereas many Windows users would perhaps use the internet.
      But is it not easier to take a walk around the corner and drop it of, rather than spending hours searching for the exact same problem as you have, and not always guaranteeing finding a solution? You won’t learn much of course but what is the need for knowledge when you got other people to do it for you? ;-)

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      • Not sure from where you live? Your name is Scandinavian, but if you live in USA, then theres a good chance theres an Apple store “right around the corner”.

        Here I have to drive 3-5 hours to get to an official store, so doing something myself (if possible) is the better option for me. And if something is out of warranty, then it saves a lot of money too.

        When you live “right next door” and to save time/difficulties, then sure, Apple store is a better option for you :)

        Like

    • thomasskyg says:

      And btw, go Denmark! Such a rarity to see Danish people in here

      Like

    • What your saying only refers to software problems. What in the world are you supposed to do with your Mac if you have lets say a failed logic board, dead pixels on display or malfunctioning speaker? You can certainly try to repair it yourself but that would be a dumb move given the warranty and apple service guarantee you get with the product. The Genius bar serves both software and hardware issues.

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      • Sure, if its inside warranty and its such a major operation, then of course thats the best solution.
        However a Mac outside warranty will cost a lot of money if you ask Apple to do it for you (if they even offer that option?)
        Dead pixels on your display you can “try” to live with, as a new LCD costs a lot of money as a spare part, although I understand its not that easy and once you see it, you can’t look anywhere else :)
        Likewise logic boards also cost quite a bit.
        The newer (late 2012) iMacs are quite a hassle as they’re “fused” together with the frame. It can be done, but it takes quite a bit of skill.

        Like

    • thomasskyg says:

      @Andre
      I know.. nobody wants to go to Sweden

      Like

  3. iJonni says:

    Ok so, the tshirt thing is old news. They changed that about 2 months ago. And the appointment thing may never go around to all stores. They do minor test programs at multiple stores. If it’s effective then they roll out nationally/internationally. Local to me they’ve started not requiring appointments at all, but that’s not national.
    As for England….well apple doesn’t do free replacements of anything unless it’s a warranty issue. So I’m not sure what’s going on over there but it seems pretty standard practice.

    Like

    • I’ve had things replaced for free outside of the warranty a number of times, as have people I know. The policy is different (different laws etc) but it’s at their discretion if they want to give you a replacement or not. If you’re not an asshole to them and it’s a genuine issue (even something self inflicted, like water damage) they’re usually nice and replace it for you. Your milage may vary, but this has been my personal experience here in the UK.

      Like

      • Air Burt says:

        I’ve had 2 logic board replacements done outside of AppleCare for free with little fuss on my part. The key really is to be nice. Also, have a genuine issue lol

        Like

  4. Walk into an Apple store. It is incredibly busy. You may be greeted by an employee at the door. But maybe not. Trying to find someone to help you can be hard. And the first person you finally speak to pawns you off on someone else and you must patiently wait for your name to be called. Unless you slip through the cracks and keep waiting and waiting.

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  5. The Business Team shirts were changed last Fall!

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  6. Should be the opposite. There should be more different colored shirts so customers know who is capable of doing what. Supervisors should be in different from sales staff and sales staff should be different than Genius staff. Also, a dedicated line for Genius work as opposed to randomly standing in the middle of the store would be nice too.

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  7. Sean Shannon says:

    So I can feel like I am talking to a Wal*Mart employee?

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  8. Not to be too picky, but this article had a little bit of incorrect info. Currently a Mac can be seen for 15 min. at the Genius Bar, but iPhones, iPods, and iPads are for 10 min.

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  9. The change in shirts is nothing new. Everyone used to wear different shirts years back… Geniuses, Specialists, Concierge. So that’s nothing big. The customers booking blocks of time can go horribly wrong though. What a customer thinks is an easy fix can often take MUCH longer. There’s also the education aspect of it. Often, an issue isn’t that something is broken, it’s that the customer doesn’t know how to properly use it. Those are two very different appointments.

    Like