There has been some news out of Apple lately about how they are going to be launching a series of instructional courses at their retail store locations called “Today at Apple.” These sessions cover a wide variety of topics, including using software products associated with Macs, iPads, and iPhones, as well as a basic intros on how to take better pictures with your iPhone. These workshops are going to be leveraged going forward as a key piece of Apple’s retail strategy, but here’s the funny part: these classes already exist. And I went to one this week. Here’s how it went. Spoiler – if you read the title, you’ll already know a bit about how I felt when I left.
I read a Pocketnow article (after reading the 9to5Mac article linked above) about the in-store classes, and I was intrigued enough to give it a try. We are working hard to get the Silicon Theory YouTube channel up and running, so I figured I’d focus on getting the most out of video editing with iMovie. The Apple retail store near me in Orange County offered a class called “Edit Your Movies on Mac with iMovie” and by chance they had a slot open at a day and time that worked for me. Registration was simple, I clicked a few buttons, signed in with my Apple ID, and got a simple email confirming the day and time of the session. I needed merely to bring myself and my MacBook Pro with me and I’d be all set.
After arriving at the store at my time slot, I was directed to a table at the rear of the store that had power ports in the middle of it and a large widescreen monitor at the far end. I was one of three attendees for the session; the other two were an older couple wanting to get more experience with how to manage their extensive travel photo library into movies they could show to family and friends. Our instructor, Eddie, started the session promptly and introduced himself as a musician, videographer, and travel enthusiast. He indicated that he’d cover a lot of the basics of iMovie usage, but also asked us what we wanted to get out of the class. He was patient, attentive, and straightforward in answering our questions. In short, he was a great instructor for this course. He also had a sense of humor during the course of our session, which I also greatly appreciated. No one wants a dry tutorial from an Apple geek about working with software; instead, we got Eddie who was basically giving us the rundown on how he uses the software, and how that would translate to our own projects.
The hour long session was very useful, and I learned quite a few things that I may or may not have found out about otherwise. I basically taught myself how to use GarageBand to be able to produce and edit the Silicon Theory podcast, and figured I could do the same with iMovie. And for some things, I have. But having access to the hour (or in our case, the hour and a half) tutorial about iMovie from a polished user will make a ton of difference for me. I picked up at least 4-5 tips that will help my video production and editing workflow go just that much faster for knowing them.
The only downside to having the session in the back of an Apple retail store is probably the same downside to sitting in any busy retail environment; it was loud, and at times distracting. At one point, a fellow who was waiting for a purchase wandered over, sat down across from us, and proceeded to hang out with clearly no intention of learning anything from the material being presented. Beyond the environmental issues, the session was incredibly valuable to me personally, more so considering it was free to come. I’d even consider taking it again, just to have a chance to experience things from a different angle, now that I know a bit more about how to work with iMovie.
If my recent experience is any example of how the “Today at Apple” series is going to go, I’d imagine its going to be very popular. So get on to Apple’s website and sign up for your class today, before the word gets out and you might have to wait a lot longer for access to the same great learning opportunity. More questions? Feel free to hit up my inbox at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to answer promptly.