The Genius Bar
is a tech support
station located inside every Apple Retail Store
, the purpose of which is to offer help and support for Apple
products. Ron Johnson
, the Senior Vice President for Retail, has often referred to the Genius Bar as the "heart and soul of our stores. Employees are specially trained and certified at the Genius Bar. Their role is to help customers with Apple hardware and software. All in-store repairs of Apple products are carried out by Mac Geniuses.
The layout of a Genius Bar consists of at least two 15" MacBookPro/PowerBook computers, often mounted on "floating" stands. LCD screens behind the Bar play looped videos which offer tips to customers waiting to speak to a Genius, as well as updates on the status of the reservation queue. The "Red Telephone" sometimes seen behind the Genius Bar was a direct line to AppleCare's Tier 2 agents, allowing for problems and questions too complicated for the in-store employees to answer. This phone is no longer installed in newer Apple Retail Stores.
The employees can also be viewed as the local representatives of AppleCare. They offer personal support when customers have problems or questions with their Apple products. Most services carried out at the Genius Bar are free. Non-warranty service (which is paid for by the customer when repairs are complete) is also routinely performed. Damaged laptop computers (or ones that need major repair) can be shipped to Apple's repair centers. All desktop repairs are done in the Store by Geniuses, usually within a few days.
Larger Mac Genius teams are headed up by the "Lead Genius," who schedules workers, makes judgment calls, and handles customer service issues at the Genius Bar. The Lead Genius is assisted by the "Mac Genius Admin," who is in charge of the administrative paperwork, backing up customer units, and other daily tasks.
Mac Geniuses in training (referred to as "GYO," or Grow-Your-Own Geniuses) are not certified, but trained for iPod and iPhone issues, and help out where needed before going to formal training and certification at one of several training locations world-wide, including Cupertino, California, and Cork, Ireland.
The Genius Bars currently operate on a reservation system. Customers can schedule a reservation time online before coming in (choosing a time up to 48 hours in advance) or may choose to sign up when they walk in the store. ProCare
members are able to access open reservations up to 14 days in advance and take advantage of other features, like Fast Track, which allows for priority repairs.
As of 2008, customers could also "Quick Drop" Mac computers at the front of the Store. A Mac Genius would look at and troubleshoot the computer and call the customer back within 24 hours with a course of action and any costs associated with the planned repair.
The Studio and the iPod bar, two offshoots of the Genius Bar concept are present in many new and renovated stores.
- The Studio is staffed by "trainers" who serve customers with questions about many Apple consumer and pro applications, such as iLife, iWork, Final Cut Pro, and Aperture. Third party applications are not officially supported.
- The iPod Bar serves to separate out the customers with iPod-related questions to allow the Genius Bar to focus on customers with Macintosh-specific queries.
Pro Labs and Open Lab were introduced with the opening of the Apple Store on West 14th Street in New York City, and to date are only offered at that location.
- Pro Labs consist of eight hours of training, spread across a series of four two-hour sessions. Much like The Studio, these sessions focus on Apple's "Pro Apps" such as Aperture and Final Cut Pro, as well as other third-party applications such as Photoshop, however, they are much more in-depth and focused than sessions at The Studio.
- Open Lab provides first-come, first-served assistance to customers with various applications, much like the early days of the Genius Bar, but with an emphasis on software as opposed to the Genius Bar's focus on hardware.