Apple Experiments With Replacing Genius Bar With Some Wooden Benches

There are benches and there are tables. That is all.

There are benches and there are tables. That is all.

Good news for people who find it intimidating to walk up to a counter for tech support: in new store designs, Apple is doing away with the physical Genius Bar. Instead, they’re replacing the bar and its stools with benches where the person assisting you simply sits down next to you.

Because we’re talking about Apple Stores, of course these benches are minimalist, made of light-colored wood, and could also pass for an end table if they weren’t placed in clumps of four. The idea is apparently that a customer-Genius duo will simply sit together and confer, interacting more like equals, or people who are waiting for a train.

CNET’s Chris Matyszczyk, who encountered the new setup and wrote about it in wonder and confusion, thought it was similar to an art gallery, especially with the bench clumps parked in front of large screens. It’s a video installation in a modern art museum.

The goal is apparently to make stores more dynamic and less imposing. “We like this design better,” the genius who helped Matyszczyk said when asked how he likes the new setup. “It feels more intimate when we’re talking to a customer.”

I’m usually out to get my iPod swapped for a refurbished replacement, not build intimacy with brands, but whatever makes it so I don’t have to climb on a high stool, I’m happy. It would, however, be difficult to set up with a desktop on these benches: that’s what the minimalist light wood desks are for, I guess.

How Apple is getting rid of the Genius Bar [CNET]