Category Archives: Tim Cook

Apple Store retail plan for Watch: 15 min. appointments, 10+ try-on stations, Experts for Edition

IMG_0018

Apple will introduce several major initiatives to ready its retail stores for the Apple Watch’s launch in April, according to sources briefed on the upcoming changes. Starting on April 10th, Apple will allocate 15 minutes per customer for in-store try-on appointments, using 10 or more try-on stations to manage what’s expected to be a steady flow of customers interested in having hands-on time with the Watch. While customers will not necessarily be required to have an appointment, they will be time-limited and guided during the hands-on experience. Additionally, they will be given the opportunity to place a reservation at the time of try-on for a particular model, and make a follow-up appointment to pick the watch up during the April 24th launch date. Stores will also have launch day stock for walk-in appointments.

Each Apple Store will be provided with a special-hands on table filled with Apple Watch demo units, as Apple announced at its keynote earlier this month. Most stores will be provided one table with at least 10 surrounding Apple Watch try-on stations, while some Apple Stores will be given more tables to meet demand. Apple Stores will begin setting up the Apple Watch tables on April 9th and 10th during special overnight sessions for employees. Employees will also begin a few hours of more extensive Apple Watch training in the coming days, a follow-up to secretive training some employees received before the Spring Forward event at locations in Cupertino, Los Angeles, Austin, and Atlanta.

To offer more personalized attention for certain Apple Watch customers, Apple will split its retail staff into four “zones” when hands-on trials and sales begin. The first set of retail employees will be stationed at the Apple Watch try-on areas to assist customers in trying on the aluminum Apple Watch Sport or stainless steel Apple Watch. A second zone is for sales, and will include two lines: one for people who know exactly which Apple Watch they want to purchase, and another for those who still are undecided about the right watch casing and band choice. The third group of employees will answer general questions about the Watch’s functionality and explain features.

Finally, a special fourth group of employees will be dedicated to assisting buyers of the gold Apple Watch Edition models. This group of employees will be made up of “Experts,” Apple Store employees who have worked at the company for an extensive period of time and have completed extra customer service training. A pair of “Experts” from each Apple Store in the Apple Watch launch countries were taught additional sales methods and customer service techniques for the Apple Watch Edition at the aforementioned February training sessions. The Apple Watch Edition starts at $10,000 and will be sold in limited quantities at select Apple Store locations.

During the preview sessions beginning on April 10th, between 75% and 90% of store retail staff will be allocated to assisting customers with the Apple Watch. The amount of employees allocated to Apple Watch sales will differ daily based on store Apple Watch inventory numbers, according to the sources. Apple has also considered utilizing the same new text-message based appointments system as its Genius Bar to organize Apple Watch try-on appointments. This would allow a person without a pre-scheduled time to receive a text message as a walk-in appointment when there is time for them to view the Watch. However, it is not yet confirmed if Apple will use this approach from the beginning for the Watch.

With the Apple Watch’s launch approaching, Apple has already begun promoting the device in stores with large banners with images similar to those on Apple’s website and in a recent issue of Vogue magazine. While these details provide insight into how Apple Store Watch sales will be structured, we also previously reported on Apple’s sales pitch for the device. According to sources, Apple will utilize a soft-shell sales approach that focuses on the device’s three key features (Health & Fitness, Communicating, and Timekeeping), bands and accessories, and iPhone hardware upgrades. Apple, as soon as next week, will launch a new trade-in program for Android users to more easily upgrade to iPhones compatible with the Apple Watch.


Filed under: AAPL Company, Apple Watch Tagged: Android, Angela Ahrendts, Apple Store, Apple watch, Apple Watch Edition, Apple Watch Sport, custom, iPhone, Jony Ive, Personzlied, Retail Overhaul, sales, Tim Cook, trade-in, Training

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Apple Store retail plan for Watch: 15 min. appointments, 10+ try-on stations, Experts for Edition

IMG_0018

Apple will introduce several major initiatives to ready its retail stores for the Apple Watch’s launch in April, according to sources briefed on the upcoming changes. Starting on April 10th, Apple will allocate 15 minutes per customer for in-store try-on appointments, using 10 or more try-on stations to manage what’s expected to be a steady flow of customers interested in having hands-on time with the Watch. While customers will not necessarily be required to have an appointment, they will be time-limited and guided during the hands-on experience. Additionally, they will be given the opportunity to place a reservation at the time of try-on for a particular model, and make a follow-up appointment to pick the watch up during the April 24th launch date. Stores will also have launch day stock for walk-in appointments.

Each Apple Store will be provided with a special-hands on table filled with Apple Watch demo units, as Apple announced at its keynote earlier this month. Most stores will be provided one table with at least 10 surrounding Apple Watch try-on stations, while some Apple Stores will be given more tables to meet demand. Apple Stores will begin setting up the Apple Watch tables on April 9th and 10th during special overnight sessions for employees. Employees will also begin a few hours of more extensive Apple Watch training in the coming days, a follow-up to secretive training some employees received before the Spring Forward event at locations in Cupertino, Los Angeles, Austin, and Atlanta.

To offer more personalized attention for certain Apple Watch customers, Apple will split its retail staff into four “zones” when hands-on trials and sales begin. The first set of retail employees will be stationed at the Apple Watch try-on areas to assist customers in trying on the aluminum Apple Watch Sport or stainless steel Apple Watch. A second zone is for sales, and will include two lines: one for people who know exactly which Apple Watch they want to purchase, and another for those who still are undecided about the right watch casing and band choice. The third group of employees will answer general questions about the Watch’s functionality and explain features.

Finally, a special fourth group of employees will be dedicated to assisting buyers of the gold Apple Watch Edition models. This group of employees will be made up of “Experts,” Apple Store employees who have worked at the company for an extensive period of time and have completed extra customer service training. A pair of “Experts” from each Apple Store in the Apple Watch launch countries were taught additional sales methods and customer service techniques for the Apple Watch Edition at the aforementioned February training sessions. The Apple Watch Edition starts at $10,000 and will be sold in limited quantities at select Apple Store locations.

During the preview sessions beginning on April 10th, between 75% and 90% of store retail staff will be allocated to assisting customers with the Apple Watch. The amount of employees allocated to Apple Watch sales will differ daily based on store Apple Watch inventory numbers, according to the sources. Apple has also considered utilizing the same new text-message based appointments system as its Genius Bar to organize Apple Watch try-on appointments. This would allow a person without a pre-scheduled time to receive a text message as a walk-in appointment when there is time for them to view the Watch. However, it is not yet confirmed if Apple will use this approach from the beginning for the Watch.

With the Apple Watch’s launch approaching, Apple has already begun promoting the device in stores with large banners with images similar to those on Apple’s website and in a recent issue of Vogue magazine. While these details provide insight into how Apple Store Watch sales will be structured, we also previously reported on Apple’s sales pitch for the device. According to sources, Apple will utilize a soft-shell sales approach that focuses on the device’s three key features (Health & Fitness, Communicating, and Timekeeping), bands and accessories, and iPhone hardware upgrades. Apple, as soon as next week, will launch a new trade-in program for Android users to more easily upgrade to iPhones compatible with the Apple Watch.


Filed under: AAPL Company, Apple Watch Tagged: Android, Angela Ahrendts, Apple Store, Apple watch, Apple Watch Edition, Apple Watch Sport, custom, iPhone, Jony Ive, Personzlied, Retail Overhaul, sales, Tim Cook, trade-in, Training

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FastCo interview: Tim Cook talks Apple philosophy/legacy, Apple watch skepticism, new Campus & more

tim-cook-on-steve-jobs

Fast Company has an extensive interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook, focusing on what has changed and what has stayed the same since he took over from Steve Jobs. The interview comes a day after FastCo published a sizeable excerpt from the book Becoming Steve Jobs, in which Cook criticized the portrayal of Jobs in Isaacson’s biography.

Cook said that while much has changed, the culture–the fundamental goal of the company–remained the same.

Steve felt that if Apple could do that—make great products and great tools for people—they in turn would do great things. He felt strongly that this would be his contribution to the world at large. We still very much believe that. That’s still the core of this company.

The company has never tried to be first to market, he said, but rather to “have the patience to get it right” … 

Apple took the same approach to the Apple Watch as it took to the iPod, iPhone and iPad, he said.

We weren’t first on the MP3 player; we weren’t first on the tablet; we weren’t first on the smartphone. But we were arguably the first modern smartphone, and we will be the first modern smartwatch—the first one that matters.

Cook said he wasn’t concerned that, so far, many people find it hard to see the value of the Apple Watch.

Yes, but people didn’t realize they had to have an iPod, and they really didn’t realize they had to have the iPhone. And the iPad was totally panned. Critics asked, “Why do you need this?” Honestly, I don’t think anything revolutionary that we have done was predicted to be a hit when released. It was only in retrospect that people could see its value. Maybe this will be received the same way.

He admitted that it is harder for Apple to remain nimble, to resist bureaucracy, as the company has grown.

It’s harder, and you are fighting gravity. […] We’ve turned up the volume on collaboration because it’s so clear that in order for us to be incredibly successful we have to be the best collaborators in the world. The magic of Apple, from a product point of view, happens at this intersection of hardware, software, and services. It’s that intersection. Without collaboration, you get a Windows product […] That’s what’s now happening in Android land.

Part of the secret, Cook said, was a willingness to move on, to walk away from approaches that are no longer appropriate. Apple has repeatedly done this with legacy technologies.

Apple has always had the discipline to make the bold decision to walk away. We walked away from the floppy disk when that was popular with many users. Instead of doing things in the more traditional way of diversifying and minimizing risk, we took out the optical drive, which some people loved. We changed our connector, even though many people loved the 30-pin connector. Some of these things were not popular for quite a while. But you have to be willing to lose sight of the shore and go. We still do that.

Asked if there were areas in which the company had moved on from Steve’s way of doing things, he said that constant change was Steve’s way of doing things.

We change every day. We changed every day when he was here, and we’ve been changing every day since he’s not been here. But the core, the values in the core remain the same as they were in ’98, as they were in ’05, as they were in ’10. I don’t think the values should change. But everything else can change [and] Steve was the best flipper in the world.

Cook sees the new spaceship campus as essential to Apple’s future.

It’s critical that Apple do everything it can to stay informal. And one of the ways that you stay informal is to be together. One of the ways that you ensure collaboration is to make sure people run into each other—not just at the meetings that are scheduled on your calendar, but all the serendipitous stuff that happens every day in the cafeteria and walking around.

Steve’s office in the current campus building is famously still there, just as he left it. Will there be a Steve Jobs office in the new campus, he was asked?

What we’ll do over time, I don’t know. I didn’t want to move in there. I think he’s an irreplaceable person and so it didn’t feel right . . . for anything to go on in that office. So his computer is still in there as it was, his desk is still in there as it was, he’s got a bunch of books in there. Laurene took some things to the house.

I don’t know. His name should still be on the door. That’s just the way it should be. 

While the interview does cover some familiar territory, the whole thing is well worth reading.

Photo: Pete Marovich, Getty Images


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: AAPL, Apple Campus, Apple Campus 2, Apple Inc, Apple Spaceship Campus, Apple watch, Spaceship Campus, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, Tim Cook interview, Tim Cook profile

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From ‘Becoming Steve Jobs’: Cook says Isaacson book was a tremendous disservice, succession planning began in 2004, more

steve_jobs_tim_cook

Fast Company has today published a sizeable excerpt from Becoming Steve Jobs, the upcoming book about Jobs’ life and his mannerisms. Unlike previous efforts, Apple is openly promoting this book and many executives, Tim Cook included, have participated in interviews. This has yielded some very interesting stories.

Following the story of Cook offering to give Jobs his liver, Cook is quoted as saying the Isaacson book did the late CEO a ‘disservice’. In very similar words to how Cue described the (unrelated) film about Jobs at SXSW, Cook says ‘The person I read about there is somebody I would never have wanted to work with over all this time’.

“The Steve that I met in early ’98 was brash and confident and passionate and all of those things. But there was a soft side of him as well, and that soft side became a larger portion of him over the next 13 years. You’d see that show up in different ways. There were different employees and spouses here that had health issues, and he would go out of his way to turn heaven and earth to make sure they had proper medical attention. He did that in a major way, not in a minor, ‘Call me and get back to me if you need my help’ kind of way.

Cook also recalls how Jobs would call up his mother on the pretence of finding Cook, but in reality just wanted to talk to his parents about convincing Cook to have more of a social life. ‘Someone who’s viewing life only as a transactional relationship with people…doesn’t do that’.

The excerpt also features Eddy Cue, who says Jobs ‘worked his ass off’ even in the final years, seemingly wanting to be treated as a normal person, not sick. As time went by, Jobs prioritized marketing, design and product introductions as to how he spent his time. Succession planning began in 2004 but was accelerated by Jobs’ declining health.

This also ties in with Apple University, which is a way to teach future company leaders about the decision making process of original Apple. Cook says that Jobs became more open to explaining his thought-process about things he had done.

“Steve cared deeply about the why,” says Cook. “The why of the decision. In the younger days I would see him just do something. But as the days went on he would spend more time with me and with other people explaining why he thought or did something, or why he looked at something in a certain way. This was why he came up with Apple U., so we could train and educate the next generation of leaders by teaching them all we had been through, and how we had made the terrible decisions we made and also how we made the really good ones.”

Jobs also focused on the new spaceship headquarters, according to the book. Cook says Jobs always wanted to imbue ethical values into the company, something which Cook has amplified since his death.

This belief in Apple as a special place—as a company as magical, perhaps, as an iPad—was something Steve shared with Cook and was certainly part of the reason he urged the board of directors to sign off on Cook as his successor. “This was a significant common thread we had,” says Cook. “I really love Apple, and I do think Apple is here for a bigger reason. There are very few companies like that on the face of the earth anymore.”

On August 11th, Cook says Jobs called him to decide that he was going to be the next CEO. For context, Jobs died two months later, in October.  The direct anecdote from this quote has been recalled before, but the excerpt does a good job of capturing Cook’s mixed feelings.

“He says, ‘You make all the decisions.’ I go, ‘Wait. Let me ask you a question.’ I tried to pick something that would incite him. So I said, ‘You mean that if I review an ad and I like it, it should just run without your okay?’ And he laughed and said, ‘Well, I hope you’d at least ask me!’ I asked him two or three times, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’

Cook describes how he thought Jobs would act as chairman for much longer than two months, with in-depth discussions about the arrangements. He says he saw Jobs ‘getting better’.

Eight weeks after Steve told Cook he was making him CEO, things took a sudden turn for the worse. “I watched a movie with him the Friday before he passed away,” Cook remembers. “We watched Remember the Titans [a sentimental football story about an underdog]. I was so surprised he wanted to watch that movie. I was like, ‘Are you sure?’ Steve was not interested in sports at all. And we watched and we talked about a number of things and I left thinking that he was pretty happy. And then all of a sudden things went to hell that weekend.”

You can read the full excerpt over at Fast Company. Becoming Steve Jobs will be released on March 24th. You can pre-order from the iBookstore now.


Filed under: iOS, iOS Devices Tagged: 2004, Becoming Steve Jobs, Book, disservice, Eddy Cue, interview, quote, succession, Tim Cook

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