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60 Minutes goes inside Apple’s weekly exec meeting, design studio, spaceship campus, & more

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As expected, this weekend’s episode of 60 Minutes on CBS was chockfull of Apple news and anecdotes. Retail chief Angela Ahrendts, design head Jony Ive, CEO Tim Cook, and many more all joined host Charlie Rose to discuss a wide range of topics, including encryption, terrorism, design, retail, and much more…

First off, Cook again talked about how users shouldn’t have to choose between privacy and national security. “I think that’s an overly simplistic view,” Cook explained. “We’re America. We should have both.” Building on that, Cook reiterated the fact that there shouldn’t be a backdoor for anybody into consumer devices. This is a stance Cook has taken many times in the past, despite the recent issues of terror around the world.

Cook explained that iOS devices nowadays hold so much personal information, including health data, financial data, intimate conversations, and much more. It takes a special key to access that data, Cook said. And that’s a key to which even Apple doesn’t have access.

“If there’s a way to get in, somebody will find the way in. There have been people who suggest that we should have a back door. But the reality is if you put a back door in, that back door’s for everybody, for good guys and bad guys.”

Moving on, Cook and Rose discussed Apple’s use of Chinese labor and some of the issues that go along with it. Cook said that Apple’s use of foreign labor has nothing to do with wages, but rather with the skills that those workers possess and many American workers lack. This, Cook explained, is due to China putting an enormous focus on manufacturing, while the U.S. moved away from a focus on vocational skills:

“China put an enormous focus on manufacturing. The U.S., over time, began to stop having as many vocational kind of skills. I mean, you can take every tool and die maker in the United States and probably put them in a room that we’re currently sitting in. In China, you would have to have multiple football fields.”

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One issue that has surrounded Apple is the conditions in which workers operate in China. When asked if Apple has a responsibility to pay attention to conditions overseas, Cook said it does have a responsibility and it does it.

“We have a responsibility and we do it. We are constantly auditing our supply chain. Making sure that safety standards are, are, you know, are the highest. We’re making sure that working conditions are the highest. All of the things that you would expect us to look for and more, we’re doing it.”

Rose then asked Cook about recent allegations that Apple has moved away from the drive to perfect products that it had under late-CEO Steve Jobs. Cook said, however, that Apple is still very much Steve’s company. “This is still Steve’s company,” Cook said. “It was born that way, it’s still that way. I’ve never met anyone on the face of the earth [like Jobs],” Cook remarked. “He had this incredible and uncanny ability to see around the corner. Who had this relentless driving force for perfection.”

Cook and Rose also talked about what exactly it takes to get a job at Apple. Cook explained to Rose that it takes a lot more than just a skill to work in Cupertino. Rather, people at Apple have to have an uncanny drive at wanting to change the world and have to be idealists who dream big and can know what kind of technology is the future.

You look for people who work for a different reason. People who want to change the world and work with a passion and an idealism. People that don’t take no for an answer. People that don’t accept the status quo. People that inherently aren’t satisfied with things. People who see things and know it should be different and sit and focus on it until they find an answer. People that can’t be told things are impossible.

When asked how Apple looks for people like that, Cook was quick to note that the company doesn’t test, but rather looks people, again, with a drive and a passion:

We don’t test. We don’t put someone through one interview. We have like 10 or 12 people who interview. We look at candidates through different points of views and we have a very diverse population. We’re looking for wicked smart and people that have a point of view and can debate that point of view.

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Also this week, Charlie rose got a demonstration of iPhone camera technology from Apple’s senior director of camera hardware Graham Townsend. Townsend showed how Apple simulates every possible lighting situation in its labs to ensure that the iPhone is capable of handling anything a user throws at it.

Rose also got a look at the weekly, mandatory executive meeting held at Apple’s headquarters every Monday. Attendance, Rose explained, is mandatory.

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Next, Rose got a tour of Jony Ive’s uber secret design studio. Rose first noticed that nearly all of the tables in the studio were covered up with blankets, which Ive said is due to the fact that if Rose could have seen what was there, he would have seen a “glimpse of the future.”

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Ive then showed Rose the 10 different variants that Apple considered for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Ive explained that the reason Apple chose the design it did was because of an “emotional” connection Ive and his team felt to the design.

Rose was then taken to an unmarked building off of its main campus. The building, unknown to Rose, turned out to be a mockup Apple Retail Store. Rose then talked to retail chief Angela Ahrendts, who said that she holds meetings in that mockup store every week to discuss potential changes to retail design and more.

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Rose also sat down with Phil Schiller to talk about the idea that one Apple product could cannibalize another. “It’s by design. You need for each to fight for their space. The iPhone has to be so great you don’t know why you want an iPad,” Schiller explained. “The iPad has to be so great you don’t know why you want a notebook. The notebook has to be so great you don’t know why you want a desktop. Each one’s job is to compete with the other ones.”

Rose and Cook then discussed Apple Watch and some of the allegations that it’s not as refined as it should be. “Every product can be improved,” Cook explained. “And the Watch is no exception to that. I’m not disappointed in it. When we launch a product, we’re already working on the next one. And sometimes even the next next one. We always see things we can do to improve,” Cook said.

Finally, Cook was asked about the potential of Apple developing a car and as he has done in the past, he avoided the question. “One of the great things about Apple is that we probably have more secrecy here than the CIA,” the Apple executive joked.

Ive, when asked about the idea of Apple becoming “too rich” said that it’s certainly a possibility.

“That possibility absolutely exists. I think one of the things that also has the possibility to exist is that our heads are down on these tables worrying about these designs and our heads don’t tend to be up looking around us. We’re more aware of us and the perfection we’re chasing.”

Cook and Rose also dove into the personal details of Cook’s life, including his decision to come out as gay. Cook explained that while he is a very private person, he did it to help those who struggle with that aspect of their lives.

“I value my privacy. I’m a very private person. But it became increasingly clear to me that if I said something, that it could help other people. And I’m glad because I think that some kid somewhere, some kid in Alabama, I think if they just for a moment stop and say, “If it didn’t limit him, it may not limit me.” Or this kid that’s getting bullied or worse, I’ve gotten notes from people contemplating suicide. And so if I could touch just one of those, it’s worth it. And I couldn’t look myself in the mirror without doing it.”

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A full transcript of Rose’s interviews with Phil Schiller, Angela Ahrendts, Tim Cook, Jony Ive, Graham Townsend, and Eddy Cue can be read here. Earlier this week, 60 Minutes shared a clip of Cook talking to Rose about Apple’s tax policies. Those comments, including Cook calling claims that Apple avoids taxes “total political crap,” can be read here.

 


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: 60 Minutes, Angela Ahrendts, Apple, interview, Jony Ive, Phil Schiller, Tim Cook

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December 21st

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Charlie Rose to tour Jony Ive’s ‘secret design studio’ and new Store design for CBS on Sunday

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Jony Ive will give a rare look into Apple’s secret design studio in Cupertino this coming Sunday, December 20th. Ive will lead Charlie Rose through the secret design study for his popular show 60 Minutes on CBS. In addition to a tour of the design lab, Rose will also get a “first look at Apple’s store of the future” from retail chief Angela Ahrendts.

The news was revealed in a pair of tweets from the 60 Minutes Twitter account tonight, both of which included a teaser image. In one image, Ive can be seen showing Rose a portion of his secret design lab in Cupertino. In the other, Ahrendts can be seen leading Rose into an unidentified Apple Store.

This isn’t the first time Charlie Rose has landed an interview with notable Apple executives. In 2013, Rose sat down with Jony Ive and Marc Newson to discuss Apple’s partnership with RED, as well as other details about the design process at Apple. Last year, Tim Cook joined Charlie Rose to discuss Steve Jobs, Beats, Apple TV, and much more.

60 Minutes with Jony Ive and Angela Ahrendts airs this Sunday, December 20th, at 7:30PM ET & 7PM PT on CBS in the United States. The teaser tweets can be seen below:


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Chance Miller

December 18th

Apple

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Apple’s Craig Federighi discusses open sourcing Swift and more on The Talk Show

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Earlier this month, Apple made good on its promise and made its Swift programming language open source. Following the announcement, Apple’s senior vice president of software Craig Federighi did a pair of interviews to discuss the motivation behind open sourcing the platform and what the future holds. Now, Federighi has joined John Gruber on his podcast The Talk Show to further discuss Swift

Federighi opened the interview by discussing what kind of things Apple has noticed during the first week of Swift being open source. The Apple exec noted that Swift is more active than any other language on Github and that because of this, the Swift team within Apple is more engaged with developers than any other team in the company.

Federighi also explained that many teams within Apple are incredibly excited about using Swift. For instance, the iCloud team has started applying Swift to variety of their projects, while the OS X team is also working on converting aspects of the platform to Swift. Specifically, Federighi mentioned the dock and window management tools in OS X converting to Swift. “Teams recognize what’s practical and what’s not practical and find ways to use Swift where they can,” he said.

Much like he did last week, Federighi explained that one of the biggest benefits of Swift going public is that it can now be easily taught in schools everywhere. CEO Tim Cook expressed last week that he believes coding should be taught in every public school in America, and Swift being open source enables that to be a possibility. Federighi also again mentioned that Swift will be the major language for the next 20 years.

When asked about the downsides of making Swift open source, Federighi said that there weren’t many. He explained that Apple has accepted the fact that Swift can and will now be used in all kinds of contexts outside of Apple and that developers are going to do things that aren’t related to Apple’s businesses.

In terms of timing, Federighi explained that Apple knew it wanted to open source Swift, but it wasn’t sure if it would happen this year or next year. Leading up to WWDC 2015, however, Federighi said that the “hunger was great to do it this year.”

At WWDC this year, Federighi made the comment that Swift is Objective C without the baggage, which led to some criticism from developers and fans of Objective C. On The Talk Show, however, Federighi clarified and elaborated on that comment. “What we were able to retain is the literate nature of APIS that Objective C enabled, plus a syntax that is much more concise,” he stated.

The full interview can be listened to on Gruber’s website.


Filed under: Developers Tagged: Apple, interview, Swift

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December 15th

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J.J. Abrams Told Us the Origin Story of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars is something that’s so special to so many people, that the mere idea of actually creating something new and fresh in that universe would be daunting. And yet, that’s what J.J. Abrams did with The Force Awakens.

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December 9th

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Craig Federighi explains motivation behind making Swift open source & what the future holds

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Earlier today Apple made good on its promise and released source code for its Swift programming language to the public. To go along with making Swift open source, Apple’s senior vice president of software Craig Federighi has sat down for a pair of interviews to discuss the benefits of open souring Swift and what’s in store for the future…

In an interview with The Next Web, Federighi touted that Apple believes Swift is the next major programming language and the one developers will program in for the “coming several decades.” That’s a bold statement on the Apple executive’s part, but he believes that the combination of the langauge’s ease of use and versatility will lend itself nicely to developers.

We think Swift is the next major programming language; the one people are going to be programming in for the coming several decades. We think it’s a combination of it being a great systems and apps programming language that’s fast and safe, but also being really expressive and easy to learn.

Regarding the future of Objective C, Federighi said that Apple will continue to support the language for both itself and the developer community. “I don’t think anyone should have to fear for the future of Objective C,” Federighi said. For new developers, however, he encourages everyone to start with Swift.

Federighi went on to note that the main goal of an open source Swift is letting everyone adopt it and know everything about it. If a university wants to revise their core curriculum and start teaching programming in Swift, it being open source really makes that an easy decision for them to make,” he explained. Federighi says that Apple has no concerns about where it doesn’t want developers to adopt Swift. “The more Swift the merrier,” Federighi said.

In an interview with Ars Technica, Federighi elaborated more on the idea of Swift being taught to up and coming developers, both those learning in a university and own their own.

“We’re working with educators, and many professors are very interested in teaching Swift because it’s such an expressive language that’s such a great way to introduce all sorts of programming concepts. And enabling it as open source makes it possible for them to incorporate Swift really as part of the core curriculum.”

Federighi also elaborated that another reason Apple open sourced Swift is to increase interaction with developers. The Apple executive noted that many of the changes made in Swift 2.0 were things that the company learned in interacting with early adopters of the platform. Now that Swift is completely open source, Apple hopes that interaction will deepen.

“When you look at many of the language features that we announced in Swift 2.0 that are now out in terms of error handling and the guard statements, availability, controls, and so forth, these were all based on that dialogue that’s been ongoing with developers who’ve been adopting Swift in their real applications. With Swift being developed out in the open in open source, we think it’s going to deepen that interaction considerably.”


Filed under: Developers Tagged: Apple, craig federighi, interview, Swift

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December 4th

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Jimmy Iovine & Mary J. Blige discuss Apple Music ad, curation, & more in new interview

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Apple executive Jimmy Iovine and popular recording artist Mary J. Blige sat down with the hosts of CBS This Morning earlier today to discuss Apple Music. A couple of months back, Apple debuted a new TV ad for its music streaming service starring Blige along with actresses Kerry Washington and Taraji P. Henson. In the ad, the three stars described Apple music as the “Instant boyfriend mixtape service” and touted that the For You feature is the equivalent of having a boyfriend inside your computer.

In today’s interview with CBS, Iovine discussed the inspiration behind the ad, explaining that he believes women have trouble finding music to listen to (a quote some have found to be controversial). “Women find it very difficult at times – some women – to find music, …and Apple Music helps makes it easier with playlists curated by real people,” Iovine said. Jimmy touted that Apple Music playlists are created by humans, not by an “algorithm.”

For her part, Blige explained that being in the Apple Music ad meant a lot to her because Apple Music is the platform that she wishes she had built. When Iovine first presented it to her, Blige explained that she immediately wished she had done it herself.

Iovine went on to elaborate that he had a specific scenario in mind when thinking up the advertisement and Apple’s For You service. Iovine also noted that he originally wanted Oprah in the ad, but was unable to convince her.

I thought of a problem, you know: girls are sitting around, you know, talking about boys. Or complaining about boys when they’re hearts are broken or whatever. And they need music for that, right? So it’s hard to find the right music, you know. Not everybody has the right lists, or knows a DJ or something.”

Iovine also commented that Apple Music has “well over” 6.5 million paying subscribers, a number that Tim Cook initially revealed last month. Blige and Iovine then went on to talk about how streaming is the future of music. While Iovine noted that he initially wanted to work with Apple when he realized how ahead of the curve the company was in terms of digital offerings. Iovine has previously told this story.

You can watch the full CBS This Morning interview below:


Filed under: Apple Music Tagged: Apple Music, Beats, interview, Jimmy Iovine, Mary J Blige, Music, streaming

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November 20th

Apple

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Jony Ive talks Apple Pencil, calls other tools ‘poor representation of the analog world’

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Alongside iPad Pro, Apple revealed a new tool to accompany the device, the Apple Pencil. While Apple Pencil has been hard to come by in terms of availability, those who have managed to get their hands on one have seemingly been impressed with the $99 Jony Ive-deisgned accessory. Now Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, has sat down with Wallpaper Magazine and The Telegraph to discuss his inspiration to make Apple Pencil…

One big thing Ive made sure to note during his interview with Wallpaper Magazine was that the Apple Pencil is not meant to replace the finger as the main input device of the iPad Pro. Apple Pencil is meant to accompany the finger as an input device used when a user is “exclusively making marks.”

I think there’s a potential to confuse the role of the Pencil with the role of your finger in iOS, and I actually think it’s very clear the Pencil is for making marks, and the finger is a fundamental point of interface for everything within the operating system. And those are two very different activities with two very different goals. The traditional pencil could have been replaced by a dish of powdered charcoal, which you dipped your finger into to make marks with. And that didn’t happen.

Regarding the name of Apple Pencil, Ive explained how me felt the word pencil better exemplified Apple’s goal than “stylus” or “pen” did. Ive noted of how everyone associates the word “stylus” with technology, whereas they associate pencil with the very simple and analogue idea of tasks like painting and drawing.

I like the name Pencil much more than stylus because stylus seems a product that’s about technology. Pencil, to me, seems very analogue in its association. But what is challenging is that it will become many things. There’s an incredible painting app and very powerful drawing apps. For some people it will be a graphic instrument and to others it will be a fountain pen. One of the technologies within the Pencil means that as well as detecting pressure, we are also detecting the angle of the pencil.

Ive’s comments on the use cases and name of Apple Pencil really explemify how the company doesn’t believe it went against Steve Jobs’ early saying of never needing a stylus to use an iOS device when he introduced the original iPhone in 2007.  Apple really believes that its Pencil tool is far more than just a stylus.

Ive also was sure to point out that while the design of Apple Pencil is simple, there’s a lot going on inside the device to give it the ability to do what it can do. One thing Ive said he was proud of was the device’s charging capability. Often mocked, Apple Pencil can be charged by simply being plugged into the Lightning port of the iPad Pro:

And one thing that I was excited about is the ease of charging. If you are in the middle of drawing something, you can easily just plug it into the iPad Pro and it recharges extremely fast. Just that alone, having the very fast recharge, was an important attribute so that you could work with confidence and not feel that you would have to manage a number of battery lives. I think you relax knowing whatever happens, you can very quickly recharge it.

This comment specifically shows how Ive really believes that Apple knows what the consumer wants more than the consumer knows what he or she wants. Charging the Apple Pencil by plugging it in to iPad Pro was slammed when the device was originally announced, but Ive still stands by the notion that it’s the best way to charge the accessory.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Ive explained of how Apple Pencil has led many on his design team to start using iPad to sketch. Ive told of how his team has almost exclusively used paper and pencil to sketch in the past, but the combination of iPad Pro and Apple Pencil is leading some to change their habits. This, Ive said, is due in large part to every other stylus being a “pretty poor representation of the analogue world.”

“Many of us in the design team have worked together for 20 plus years. We’ve always drawn in our sketchbooks, and for the first time – despite flirting with some alternatives a couple of years ago – I’m seeing people starting to use the iPad and Apple Pencil. Our personal experience has been that there are definitely affordances and opportunities now that you have a much more natural and intuitive environment to make marks, there are clearly things you can do sketching and writing on the iPad which you could never dream of doing in the analogue world.”

To get the most out of Apple Pencil and iPad Pro, Ive encourages users to just “start drawing.” The Apple executive believes that until you start using something with a sense of carelessness, you won’t get the most out of it. You have to stop thinking about what you’re doing and just draw.

“I always like when you start to use something with a little less reverence. You start to use it a little carelessly, and with a little less thought, because then, I think, you’re using it very naturally. What I’ve enjoyed is when I’m just thinking, holding the Pencil as I would my pen with a sketchpad and I just start drawing.

When you start to realise you’re doing that without great intent and you’re just using it for the tool that it is, you realise that you’ve crossed over from demoing it and you’re actually starting to use it. As you cross that line, that’s when it actually feels the most powerful.”

Ive’s comments on Apple Pencil show just how much Apple is buying into the idea that iPad Pro truly is the best device for the creative professional. Ive makes it clear that Apple worked hard to perfect the features of Apple Pencil, like palm rejection, pressure sensing, and angle sensing.

Of course, Apple Pencil is still very hard to find. The accessory is listed as shipping 4-5 weeks after you purchase, with Apple Stores only getting random shipments of it. In the meantime, check out Zac’s hands-on with Apple Pencil here, as we was lucky enough to win the Pencil lottery.


Filed under: iOS Devices Tagged: Apple Pencil, interview, iPad Pro, Jony Ive

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Chance Miller

November 18th

Apple

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I’m Jane Ni Dhulchaointigh, Inventor and CEO of Sugru, and This Is How I Work

Give a child a lump of clay and they’ll be busy for an hour. No one needs guidance when given a malleable medium with which you can express your ideas, and that’s why Sugru just works—you don’t need to know anything about design to put it to use. You just follow your instincts.

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November 11th

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Apple’s Angela Ahrendts talks her relationship w/ retail employees, Black Friday, & more

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Ahead of her appearance at Bloomberg’s ‘Year Ahead’ business summit tomorrow, Apple’s SVP of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts has today made an appearance at Fast Company’s Innovation Festival in New York City. Ahrendts sat down with Fast Company Editor at Large Rick Tetzei to discuss her role at Apple since joining the company in 2014…

Ahrendts first noted that when she originally joined Apple, she spent the first 6 months on the job visiting the company’s retail locations in 40 markets and listening to the thoughts and opinions of retail employees. Ahrendts said that more than three billion people visit Apple.com’s online store, while 390 million people visit Apple’s retail locations each year. She noted that Jony Ive designed the Apple Store tables and that they will never change, “no matter what.”

The Apple executive also added some color on the company’s decision to make itself part of social problems, something Tim Cook has done a lot of since he became CEO. Ahrendts pointed out that “big isn’t good unless big does good,” meaning that if Apple isn’t voicing its opinion on important issues, then it’s not a good thing that the company is so large and powerful.

Ahrendts said that working at Apple allows her to do so much more than working at Burberry. At Burberry, Ahrendts said she was “touching one percent of the one percent,” while at Apple, she can reach a much larger audience and manage a much larger team of employees. Regarding her relationship with employees, Ahrendts said that there’s a “pretty flat organization” and that retail staffers often email her directly with feedback. Likewise, her “3 things in under 3 minutes” videos allow her to quickly connect with her 60k retail employees.

Ahrendts also noted that even part-time employees receive Apple stock because it’s easier and more cost-effective to retain and make employees happy than it is to hire new ones. She also noted that Apple measures employee happiness three times per year. The executive said that Apple has an 81 percent retention rate when it comes to retail employees.

Regarding Black Friday, a retail tradition that Apple largely dropped last year, Ahrendts explained that Apple backed away from the annual tradition because “being good to your employees will always be good for business.”

Heading into the future, Ahrendts said Apple is currently halfway done with merging its retail locations with its online operations. Furthermore, China is still a huge market of interest for the company. Ahrendts noted that by 2025, twenty of the world’s top cities will be in China, hence why Apple is investing so much into the country.

Image via Harry McCracken 


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Angela Ahrendts, Apple, Apple Retail, interview, retail, retail stores

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November 9th

Apple

Mac

Apple’s Angela Ahrendts talks her relationship w/ retail employees, Black Friday, & more

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 6.38.12 PM

Ahead of her appearance at Bloomberg’s ‘Year Ahead’ business summit tomorrow, Apple’s SVP of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts has today made an appearance at Fast Company’s Innovation Festival in New York City. Ahrendts sat down with Fast Company Editor at Large Rick Tetzei to discuss her role at Apple since joining the company in 2014…

Ahrendts first noted that when she originally joined Apple, she spent the first 6 months on the job visiting the company’s retail locations in 40 markets and listening to the thoughts and opinions of retail employees. Ahrendts said that more than three billion people visit Apple.com’s online store, while 390 million people visit Apple’s retail locations each year. She noted that Jony Ive designed the Apple Store tables and that they will never change, “no matter what.”

The Apple executive also added some color on the company’s decision to make itself part of social problems, something Tim Cook has done a lot of since he became CEO. Ahrendts pointed out that “big isn’t good unless big does good,” meaning that if Apple isn’t voicing its opinion on important issues, then it’s not a good thing that the company is so large and powerful.

Ahrendts said that working at Apple allows her to do so much more than working at Burberry. At Burberry, Ahrendts said she was “touching one percent of the one percent,” while at Apple, she can reach a much larger audience and manage a much larger team of employees. Regarding her relationship with employees, Ahrendts said that there’s a “pretty flat organization” and that retail staffers often email her directly with feedback. Likewise, her “3 things in under 3 minutes” videos allow her to quickly connect with her 60k retail employees.

Ahrendts also noted that even part-time employees receive Apple stock because it’s easier and more cost-effective to retain and make employees happy than it is to hire new ones. She also noted that Apple measures employee happiness three times per year. The executive said that Apple has an 81 percent retention rate when it comes to retail employees.

Regarding Black Friday, a retail tradition that Apple largely dropped last year, Ahrendts explained that Apple backed away from the annual tradition because “being good to your employees will always be good for business.”

Heading into the future, Ahrendts said Apple is currently halfway done with merging its retail locations with its online operations. Furthermore, China is still a huge market of interest for the company. Ahrendts noted that by 2025, twenty of the world’s top cities will be in China, hence why Apple is investing so much into the country.

Image via Harry McCracken 


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November 9th

Apple

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