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Today at Apple sessions aim to make Apple stores the modern-day town square

Move over, Starbucks. Apple wants to be the gathering spot for younger generations.

This week, Apple announced a series of educational sessions in all 495 Apple store locations around the U.S., starting in May. Titled “Today at Apple,” the hands-on sessions will bring together artists, photographers, and musicians at the top of their game to give customers tips on how to best use their Apple gear and software.

“‘Today at Apple’ is one of the ways we’re evolving our experience to better serve local customers and entrepreneurs,” Apple’s senior vp of retail Angela Ahrendts said. “We’re creating a modern-day town square, where everyone is welcome in a space where the best of Apple comes together to connect with one another, discover a new passion, or take their skill to the next level.

The free sessions will cater to customers of all skill levels, ranging from coding lessons for kids to “Photo Walks” where iPhone photographers will get to venture out to learn about natural lighting and Portrait mode. “Today at Apple” also has sessions geared towards educators with Teacher Tuesday.

Most sessions will be taught by Apple’s new Creative Pros, which Apple describes as “the liberal arts equivalent to Apple’s technical Geniuses.” To sign up for a free session, check out your local Apple store's website.

Why this matters: ”Today at Apple” has Ahrendts’s fingerprints all over it. In an interview with CBS News, Ahrendts revealed her vision for the sessions is to make Apple stores more than a place where you buy stuff and get technical help. “Today at Apple” will also help Apple’s retail locations distinguish themselves from other online giants who are opening up brick-and-mortar stores.

“A lot of the big online guys have said they’re opening stores. Amazon’s investing in stores. Google’s investing in stores...Starbucks figured it out, you know? ‘Meet me at Starbucks,”’ Ahrendts said. “I’ll know we’ve done a really, really great job if the next generation, if Gen Z says, ‘Meet me at Apple. Did you see what’s going on at Apple today?’”

IDG Insider

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