Apple to launch worldwide educational initiative at retail stores

May is usually known for sprouting flowers from April showers, but this year’s bloom will be accompanied by art, design, photography, and coding lessons if Apple Inc. has anything to say about it.

On Tuesday the company announced the global launch of “Today at Apple,” a program that will see its 495 Apple Stores hosting dozens of free educational sessions next month, in topics ranging from photography and video, to music, to coding, to art and design.

The sessions will be led by a mix of highly-trained Apple employees and professional artists, photographers and musicians, and include both how-to lessons and professional-level programs.

In an April 25 statement, Apple senior vice president of retail Angela Ahrendts said the company’s goal was to create a “modern-day town square” where local neighbours could “connect with each other, discover a new passion, or take their skill to the next level.”

“At the heart of every Apple Store is the desire to educate and inspire the communities we serve,” she said. “‘Today at Apple’ is one of the ways we’re evolving our experience to better serve local customers and entrepreneurs… We think it will be a fun and enlightening experience for everyone who joins.”

Other than its global launch in May, Apple offered no details regarding the timing or frequency of “Today at Apple” sessions, or how long the program would run.

Naturally, the sessions will focus on Apple product features: photography lessons, for example, will include six how to sessions covering shooting, organizing, editing, and the like with an iPhone, while more advanced photographers can join photo walks that include lessons on light and shadow, portraits, and storytelling.

Aspiring coders can learn Swift, Apple’s iOS and Mac app programming language, while small business owners will be invited to use the Business Circuits program to collaborate with entrepreneurs both international and local.

The company will also offer special programs for families and educational types, with “Teacher Tuesdays” demonstrating how educators can incorporate technology into their classrooms, and weekend “Kids Hour” sessions offering lessons ranging from making music to coding with robots.

Altogether, the program will offer more than 60 different sessions, including:

  • Studio Hours: Apple’s version of a professor’s office hours, with creative pros hosting 90-minute sessions on topics ranging from art and design to documents and presentations;
  • Photo or Sketch Walks: Per their name, these sessions invite attendees to draw or photograph their local community, with photo walks built around topics such as framing architecture or capturing action on video, and sketch walks around topics such as observational drawings and watercolour and brush techniques;
  • Kids Hour: Hands-on projects including coding with Sphero robots, creating music with GarageBand, and making movies together with iMovie;
  • Coding Sessions: Meant to introduce users to Swift using Swift Playgrounds, an iPad app designed to make coding as interactive and fun as possible;
  • Photo Labs: Professional photographers help participants experiment with new techniques and styles;
  • Music Labs: Similar to photo labs, these explore different genres and introduce tools to musicians of all levels.
  • Pro Series: Gives advanced users lessons on topics such as colour correction and grading, post production, audio mixing, and editing for emotion in Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X;
  • Perspectives and Performances: Offered at select stores, these feature influential artists and musicians (Apple’s website shows Wu-Tang Clan mastermind the RZA giving a talk in New York City) discussing their creative process or sharing their talents live.

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Eric Emin Wood
Eric Emin Wood
Former editor of turned consultant with public relations firm Porter Novelli. When not writing for the tech industry enjoys photography, movies, travelling, the Oxford comma, and will talk your ear off about animation if you give him an opening.

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