June 25, 2012

Apple retail employees cheering ahead of third-generation iPad launch (SJMN)

Over the weekend, The New York Times profiled Apple’s retail operations and controversially touched upon Apple’s retail employees. The profile put out a simple, yet controversial, statement about the wages given to those who act as ushers for turning people into new Apple customers and product advocates:

About 30,000 of the 43,000 Apple employees in this country work in Apple Stores, as members of the service economy, and many of them earn about $25,000 a year. They work inside the world’s fastest growing industry, for the most valuable company, run by one of the country’s most richly compensated chief executives, Tim Cook. Last year, he received stock grants, which vest over a 10-year period, that at today’s share price would be worth more than $570 million.

The NYT goes on to say that each employee, while making an average of $25,000 a year, nets Apple approximately $473,000 per year. With the profile and the above statements in mind, we polled several current and some former Apple retail employees about their thoughts on the profile. We provided a few guiding questions that many of the employees used to compile their answers. Some employees defend the NYT’s article, and some completely disagree. The breakdown of feelings towards Apple Retail is interesting.

Some of these questions include: how has your general Apple retail experience been? Has it improved your life? Do you think that working for Apple in retail will better your future? What are your specific responses to the article’s controversial claims? What are your thoughts on the NYT’s statement about employees making a very small percentage of the amount of money that they actually bring in for Apple?

As you will read, some responses defend and agree with the New York Times, and some reflect it by praising Apple and the opportunities that the company has provided them. The common theme, though, is that many (not all, some completely agree with the NYT) employees seem to agree that Apple retail has provided them with incredible benefits and opportunities that set it apart (positively) from any other retail organization.

At the regularly scheduled quarterly store meetings last night, Apple managers defended Apple and pointed out how important every retail employee is to the company. Managers were instructed to show employees this Fortune list proclaiming Apple as the number 1 most admired company.

We’ve compiled some of the answers (with no edits) after the break, and it is an amazing and sometimes intense read. The answers are broken down into a question/answer section and a long-form reflection section. 

We have previously been able to pull data from PreEVT iPhone 5,1 and iPhone 5,2 prototypes codenamed “N41AP (5,1)” and “N42AP (5,2)”, which lead us to believe that the new iPhone will have a bigger 1,136-by-640 display. We also detailed a lot of the hardware (here), but we forgot one very important bit of information. Further investigation into this hardware code dump leads us to believe that these iPhones also have Near Field Communication controllers directly connected to the Power Management Unit.

The implications are obviously monstrous. With the recently announced PassBook application (which we detailed prior to its announcement while speculating about an NFC tie-in), Apple will be set to compete with Google Wallet and Microsoft’s similar service that unveiled last week. Apple could tie in with a payment processor like Citibank’s PayPass system for credit card transactions—or it could become a payment processor of sorts with its hundreds of millions of credit cards already on file at iTunes.

NFC would also allow iPhone users a quick and easy way to share files from one iOS device to another.

Jim Peters, CTO of SITA, agrees that NFC is coming to iPhone and retailers should prepare…

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June 24, 2012

Tonight, Apple Stores held quarterly meetings across the United States. These meetings rarely unveil anything of significance for consumers, and tonight’s meeting was close to no exception. According to several retail sources, tonight’s meetings focused on numbers and on past store results. However, a new employee training initiative was announced. Apple promised employees that more details will be revealed in the coming days, perhaps even starting tomorrow, but we have some tidbits:

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