Apple is launching a series of varied educational sessions next month in its 495 stores around the world, ranging in topics from photography and video to music, coding, art and design, and more. The hands-on sessions, collectively called Today at Apple, will be led by trained team members – and in select cities, by world-class artists, photographers and musicians – teaching sessions from basics and how-to lessons to professional-level programmes.
“At the heart of every Apple Store is the desire to educate and inspire the communities we serve,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice-president of retail. “‘Today at Apple’ is one of the ways we’re evolving our experience to better serve local customers and entrepreneurs. 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. We think it will be a fun and enlightening experience for everyone who joins.”
The free programmes, designed for all skill levels and ages, focus on the features of Apple products that the company says its customers like most. For example, an iPhone user interested in photography can start with six ‘How To’ sessions that cover photography, organising pictures, editing, and more. More advanced photographers can join experiential ‘Photo Walks’ that leave the store to explore techniques including light and shadow, portraits and storytelling. A ‘Photo Lab’ will feature accomplished photographers on topics such as building a brand on social media.
Apple also plans to offer special programmes for families and educators. Teachers can meet for ‘Teacher Tuesday’ to learn new ways to incorporate technology into their classrooms, or aspiring coders of all ages can learn how to code in Swift, Apple’s programming language for iOS and Mac apps. Families can join weekend ‘Kids Hour’ sessions ranging from music making to coding with robots. Small business owners can engage with global and local entrepreneurs in the new ‘Business Circuits’ programme.
The announcement came as the company showcased its newest store in Dubai, featuring a 186-foot curved storefront and balcony overlooking Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain. Envisioned as a space for the community to gather, learn and be entertained, the company said Apple Dubai Mall will serve as a venue to watch the spectacular evening fountain shows and host Today at Apple sessions.
“We view our stores as a modern-day town square, where visitors come to shop, be inspired, learn or connect with others in their community,” added Ahrendts. “And what better place to come together than overlooking Dubai’s epicenter, where the Dubai Fountain, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall meet. We are so honoured to have a home at one of the world’s most incredible and dynamic intersections.”
To mitigate Dubai’s climate, the architects Foster + Partners designed eighteen 37.5-foot-high motorised ‘solar wings’ that respond to the changing environmental conditions. When the sun is at its hottest they cool the store, and in the evenings they open to welcome people to the public terrace. Inspired by the traditional Arabic Mashrabiya, each wing has been made locally from 340 carbon fibre reinforced polymer rods, and at 180 feet wide, the 18 panels make up one of the world’s largest kinetic art installations.