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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

While the Genius Bar is the focal point of the Apple Store, it turns out the idea was initially panned by late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

On the Recode Decode podcast, Apple's former retail chief Ron Johnson recalled the day he told Jobs about the Genius Bar.

Steve's initial reaction to the idea: "That's so idiotic! It'll never work!"

Jobs went on to tell Johnson that the Genius Bar may in fact be the "right idea," but he was not convinced at the time that people who knew technology would be able to communicate effectively with customers.
“I remember the day I came in and told Steve about the Genius Bar idea and he says, ‘That’s so idiotic! It’ll never work!’” Johnson said. “He said, ‘Ron, you might have the right idea, but here’s the big gap: I’ve never met someone who knows technology who knows how to connect with people. They’re all geeks! You can call it the Geek Bar.’”

“And I said, ‘Steve, kids who are in their 20s today grew up in a very different world. They all know technology, and that’s who’s going to work in the store.’”
The following day, Johnson said Jobs instructed Apple's top lawyer to file a trademark for "Genius Bar."

In an earlier interview, Johnson said it took some time before the Genius Bar gained traction, but within three years Apple was forced to create a reservation system due to its popularity. Nearly sixteen years later, the Genius Bar and the newer, more open concept Genius Grove remain a mainstay at most Apple Stores.

Article Link: Steve Jobs Thought Genius Bar Was 'Idiotic' Idea at First, Said 'It'll Never Work'
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macrumors 68000
Sep 11, 2014
True. The real geeks are in the back.

Yep. I brought my Mac in enough times to the Apple Store (it was eventually replaced) that a super genius in the back came out to take a look at my machine. Didn't seem jovial but who cares, my machine was always taken care of.
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Jul 29, 2010
Hate the name but for marketing I could see it's catchy. Was at a store getting a display fixed over the weekend and heard "just a minute and a genius will be right with you." Wanted to give a MEGA eye roll. A genius? Really, I'm going to meet a genius now? Come on.


macrumors 68020
Jul 29, 2012
Dallas, TX
Genius Bar is almost useless when you have one Apple Store serving an area of with a population 2+ million people. The Victoria Gardens Store serving the inland Empire in Southern California is miserable, and the Genius bar is completely booked continuously for 2 weeks. Last time I went there was a line stretching half way down the store for the Genius Bar.

Also, I wish it was named something else, because I know more than the "Geniuses" 80%+ of the time. I only even deal with it because of warranty.


Nov 5, 2010
I actually find them a bunch of condescending ***** that wouldn't survive in a real IT job! Completely failed to recreate an issue with the fans on my 2011 MBP spinning up and being very loud when plugged into an external display. When I asked them if they plugged it into an external display they said 'No', but since their software couldn't find the issue the issue therefore didn't exist. They even went as far to tell me I'd bought the wrong product!! I had to create a video and show it to them, and even then after having the machine a week they didn't do anything. Claimed they replaced the thermal paste on the GPU, but the problem still existed. Had more GPU issues with a rMBP, which they also couldn't find. Took to an independent Apple reseller and they replaced the logic board under Apple Care. Job done. No questions asked.


macrumors newbie
Jun 7, 2010
Genius Bar is almost useless when you have one Apple Store serving an area of with a population 2+ million people.

Yeah, the Tech Support aspect is great, but the coordination/deployment is not so 'genius'. You walk into a super packed store, randomly bump into an employee taking/queueing appointments, then you get the ugly stare from the second person in line and behind them is an insane line of people snaking around the store just to talk to 1 of 2 people handling appointments.

They need to split that space into two, seriously, my anxiety goes through the roof when I have to walk into any Apple store.


macrumors regular
Aug 5, 2003
I’ve never met someone who knows technology who knows how to connect with people. They’re all geeks! You can call it the Geek Bar.’

Says the geeky dude with glasses who introduces the store while wearing a black t-shirt tucked into overly tight blue jeans, paired so inelegantly with grey running shoes... who is known for his other-worldly ability to connect with people when introducing new technology [at least on stage] above almost all else. ;)


macrumors 6502a
Apr 11, 2010
Prior to these stores, you had to rely on Comp USA in a lot of places. Sure they had a Mac specialist but he wasn't there all the time. There just weren't enough Mac specialists to help you.
The stores themselves were obviously excellent in bringing Mac into the mainstream but the Genius Bar was both a marketing and service stroke of, well ...genius. Just the presence of the bar gave people confidence to take the plunge. Much of what they provided was just basic one on one help.
I also liked One to One when it was available. I wish they still had it.
I don't really think it's significant that Jobs initially poo poohed the Genius Bar. As a manager I would sometimes would reject things that I thought had some merit but were not yet fully baked. If someone really believes in something they'll pitch it again particularly if the manager provides the feedback of where the idea may fall short or other concerns. Poke some holes in an idea and folks usually respond.


macrumors 6502
Jul 27, 2014
I still dislike the whole customer experience at the Apple Stores.
I always felt like I was going to the doctor. If you don't have an appointment, you have to wait for hours. They really listen closely to what you have to say, but in the end, they can only help you with some ordinary problems.
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macrumors 68030
Oct 21, 2009
Well he was right in a lot of ways. Look at the Geek squad at best buy. Its pretty bad in my opinion. Apple hides the real geeks in the back


macrumors 68040
Jan 5, 2012
Tim Cook should watch that video. See how it's all connected Tim? See how the rich variety of products appeal to a wide range of users and customers?


What are you talking about? The Watch unlocks the Mac. Continuity let's you copy and paste between devices. When I get to a text field on the Apple TV my iPhone prompts me to use the keyboard in the remote app. Everything works togther like never before.

The variety of products now has been described by people here as 'as bad as just before Jobs returned'. Now you're saying there's too few?

Apple releasing products like the iPhone 6 have been criticised for simply 'appealing to the masses'.

Apple cannot win, it seems. There's nothing they could do which would make people here think of them as innovative, or their products good. They aren't competing with a rival tech company, as far as macrumours is concerned, but with a distorted memory of what they used to be like a few years ago.

Their competitors however can release one reasonable product and be seen as 'the new Apple'.
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