Apple Retail Ends Genius Training in Cupertino, Moves to In-Store Web Seminars

For years, Apple has sent new Genius hires to its Infinite Loop headquarters in Cupertino, or sometimes an auxiliary campus in Austin or Cork, to receive hands-on training for up to three weeks. Recently, however, Apple appears to have stopped offering these group-oriented trips, according to people familiar with the matter.


Apple's off-site Genius Training program has been replaced by an in-store, self-guided experience using company-provided reference materials, according to a source. The training now involves watching web-based seminars through the Apple Technical Learning Administration System, or ATLAS, another source said.

In Cupertino, Apple had a small training facility with a mock Genius Bar and Macs set aside specifically for trainees to take apart and perform test repairs on. But with the switch to web-based seminars, Apple is allegedly providing "virtual take aparts" only now, with no physical hardware.

"This means that many customers who check their computers in for repair may have their device serviced by someone who has never physically worked on their model of computer before," said a person familiar with the matter.

A handful of Geniuses have shared photos of their training experience on social networks over the years, with one person calling it a "life-changing experience" and others echoing similar positivity. One source described it to us as a "rite of passage" and "a milestone in the career" of an Apple retail employee.

Apple's Genius Training program was for years a rite of passage for Apple Retail employees: not only a training opportunity, but a chance to visit one of Apple's corporate campuses, to get questions answered at the source, and, for those who headed to Cupertino, to experience Silicon Valley and the Apple culture. The traditional "selfie" in front of One Infinite Loop was a milestone in the career of every Apple Genius.

Apple Store managers have been quietly informing new Genius hires of the changes in recent weeks. It is unclear if the off-site training is permanently discontinued, or if it could return to Infinite Loop or Apple's new campus in the future. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last year, we revealed a new Apple retail position called Technical Expert, which falls between Technical Specialist and Genius. These employees are able to provide mobile repairs, a task previously limited to Geniuses, and troubleshooting for software and products like the Apple Watch and Apple TV.

Top Rated Comments

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46 months ago
Why not just have the "Geniuses" browse through iFixIt?
Score: 119 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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46 months ago
This seems like a bad idea. The whole experience and camaraderie that comes with going through something like this really makes a difference to people. It also promotes a high degree of loyalty to a company by the employees. Now they just sit in a room by themselves? I think the quality of support is going to drop dramatically.
Score: 98 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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46 months ago
Lol, one of the richest companies in the world cheapening and dumbing down their employees just like Circuit City/Good Guys/Best Buy...
Score: 88 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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46 months ago
This is how bean-counters innovate.
Score: 66 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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46 months ago
There must be a huge turnover rate of them now. When I worked there from 2005-2010, they sent the Creatives and Genius crew to Cali for a month to do hands on training and then in store work. It was the best experience ever. When we got back, we brought back that corporate vide and culture to the store on the retail level. The entire store benefited from a few of us going out there. It brought the store morale up. It was like an award to go to corporate and train. Now that they will do it in the store level, this will not bring the same benefits that it once did. Loyalty will go down and those employees will be more likely to leave Apple sooner than in the past. I would have still been there as a Creative if I wasn't recruited to go elsewhere.
Score: 64 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
46 months ago
Keep up the good work, Angela!

FFS...
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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