During the Apple October event in Brooklyn NY, Angela Ahrendts spoke about “Today at Apple” sessions held in all 505 retail locations around the globe. Ahrendts described the program of live sessions as opportunities for Apple users to learn in labs and walks at all Apple Stores, where they won’t just sit and listen, but perform the various tasks they learn – with other people. “It is designed to encourage human connections…” was part of how she described the program. In the year and a half since they were introduced, they have held 18,000 live sessions.
Over the years, other tech companies have tried to crack the formula to dominate social, building platforms that collect user data, which has been the real value to those who collect and use that data. But then misuse of user data, and manipulation of user behavior was revealed to be a huge problem.
Apple has chosen another path, avoiding building social platforms based on the exploitation of user data, handling user information in much more private ways, finding ways to keep most sensitive data on-device.
The most social apps offered natively include iMessage, FaceTime, and the rather ordinary mail, contacts & calendars. Admittedly, these are all important tools for staying in touch with real people you actually know.
Ahrendts update on ‘Today at Apple’ sessions reveals how Apple sees social, encouraging real people to meet face to face in friendly ways, which is much more pleasant that arguing with strangers about politics on Facebook and Twitter, or allowing our real worlds to collide when our incompatible friends are thrown in all together.
Creative sessions at Apple gathering places involve 3,000 Creatives and 70,000 Apple team members. Ahrendts said that customers who participate in walks learn new features while exploring places together “in a real social way.” It would seem that Apple has discovered what we should have known all along, that real social involves genuine experiences when people actually spend time together.