It’s a bad time to purchase one of Apple’s latest iMacs if you’re living in Europe. Shipping times for the all-new, all-in-one have slipped for the second time in under a month, and customers are now facing lengthy waits for both the 21.5-inch and the 27-inch models. The former currently has a 3-4 week shipping delay, while its bigger brother will keep you waiting 4-6 weeks.
The recent departure of John Browett has left Apple searching for a new senior executive to lead its retail division. Internally, Apple has had a couple of execs who could fit the bill. One of the top contenders, retail VP Jerry McDougal, has now left Apple for personal reasons.
McDougal’s replacement will be VP of Finance Jim Bean, according to an official statement provided by Apple.
John Browett didn’t last long at Apple. He was brought on by Tim Cook at the beginning of last year to lead Apple’s retail division and then he was fired 9 months later. The former Dixons CEO didn’t mesh well with Apple’s culture, and he caused unrest among Apple Store employees.
Since legendary retail guru Ron Johnson left Apple for JC Penny, Apple hasn’t been able to find the right executive to fill his shoes. Now that Browett is gone, who should Apple give the reigns of Apple retail to?
Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage at today’s iPhone event and opened with an update on the company’s retail presence. Cook started by showing off Apple’s new Barcelona store and playing a video of the store’s launch.
Apple now has 380 retail stores in 12 countries. The company’s first Swedish store will open on Friday, September 14th. 83 million visitors walked through Apple’s retail stores last year, making the Cupertino company one of the most successful consumer electronics retail chains in history. “Apple stores offer the best buying experience and customer service on the planet,” exclaimed Cook.
While Apple retail is definitely a force to be reckoned with, the company’s digital downloads are also setting the industry standard. Apple customers have downloaded 7 million copies of Mountain Lion since its launch in July, according to Cook. That figure makes Mountain Lion the fastest selling OS X release in history.
Over the weekend, The NY Times posted another investigative piece in its iEconomy series that about Apple. This installment focused on Apple’s retail stores. As with previous articles in the series, this one focuses on legitimate concerns about the American economy in an age of globalization. Like the other pieces, this one targets Apple specifically and ignores the range of Apple competitors that employ similar practices.
The primary issue that the Times brings up with regard to Apple retail stores is that employees can sell thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of Apple products and still earn a relatively modest wage. The underlying sentiment is that if a retail employee sells so much hardware, he should earn more because he is contributing to Apple’s vast revenues.
The only way for things to shake out that way and remain fair would be if Apple offered performance-based awards or commissions. Apple chose not to do that because doing so would have delivered a fundamentally different customer experience than the one envisioned by Steve Jobs – a fact that the NY Times chose not to explore in any real depth.
One of concerns for IT departments as first iPhones and then iPads and other consumer-focused technologies began creeping into the workplace is how to support the personal devices and apps of employees. That issue took center stage this week as security vendor Fortinet identified that most millennial workers feel that support and security for their mobile devices and other technologies is their responsibility and not the responsibility of an employer or IT department.
What that means is that many IT departments may need to rethink what technical support means. That isn’t a new concept. Various studies and reports have shown that members of Gen-Y prefer to engage support resources using a range of technologies beyond a helpdesk phone line including email, texts, and social networks. As this new vision of support emerges, one model for the future help desk is the Genius Bar from Apple’s retail stores.
For many Apple fans, there’s a hypnotic allure to the idea of working for their favorite tech company, even if it’s just a job manning the Genius Bar at the local Apple Store. But what happens when you actually get called in for an interview? What’s it like to actually work at the Apple Store?
The truth is few applicants will ever know, as it’s almost impossible to get a job at an Apple Retail store at anything besides an entry-level, part-time sales position, no matter how qualified or educated you are. Once in, it’s almost impossible to move up the ladder, you will be poorly paid, you will probably never see a raise above basic inflation, you will be overworked and you will be abused day-in and day-out by customers. If you soldier through and rise up the ladder, the job can be rewarding, but more often than not, it’s not just retail hell… it’s worse than retail.
Apple’s online store delivers one of the most satisfying online retail experiences out there. According to customer experience researchers at ForeSee, only one company delivered a better experience than Apple – Amazon. ForeSee also said that Apple (and Amazon) had achieved what it refers to as “the threshold of excellence.”
Are you curious about what it’s like to work for Apple? Here’s a chance for you to find out. Career advice site CareerBliss recently complied a list of the “Happiest Companies For Young Professionals” – a top ten list for which Apple didn’t make the cut. Even though Apple didn’t make that list, CareerBliss does offer a lot of insight into what life is like for Apple employees.
CareerBliss allows people to rank and describe their experiences in their current or past workplaces. Users researching potential jobs and companies can then see overall rankings (based on a one to five ranking scale) and browse through the individual reports. For Apple fans, that means a treasure trove of data about what it’s like to actually work for the company.
JC Penny can’t get enough of Apple’s retail talent, as the American retailer has announced the hire of yet another Apple exec. Back in November, former Apple retail guru Ron Johnson left Apple to become the CEO of JC Penny. Now a high-level Apple retail exec has left to work under Johnson.
Ben Fay served for 8 years at Apple as the worldwide head of retail store design, and he will now be in charge of overseeing JC Penny’s own retail design strategy.