This week much attention is focused on new product and software announcements at Apple's 2017 World Wide Developers Conference in San Jose, California. Millions streamed the Keynote event, or watching it on-demand. Perhaps no company is better at turning people into customers, and customers into fans. It's important for public media to ask how Apple does it.
In May, Apple announced a new program called 'Today at Apple.' The Initiative which takes place in all 495 of its stores, creates hands on sessions for the public on topics like photography, video, music creation, coding, design and art.
In a statement, Apple SVP of Retail, Angela Ahrendts, explains that the goal of 'Today at Apple' is to "educate and inspire communities."
“‘Today at Apple’ is one of the ways we’re evolving our experience to better serve local customers and entrepreneurs. We’re creating a modern-day town square, where everyone is welcome in a space where the best of Apple comes together to connect with one another, discover a new passion, or take their skill to the next level. We think it will be a fun and enlightening experience for everyone who joins.”
Recent 'Today at Apple' workshops included:
- Studio Hours are 90-minute sessions where people get advice from experts on personal art and design projects.
- Photo or Sketch Walks help attendees go beyond capturing moments by exploring new techniques hands-on as they interact in their local community.
- Kids Hour sparks imagination and creativity through fun, hands-on projects.
- Coding sessions introduce anyone to coding concepts with the same code professional developers use every day.
- Music Labs explore different genres and beats to introduce new tools to musicians of all levels.
Public media has discussed and tested many ideas in recent years to spark local community engagement. And to be sure, much more experimentation is needed.
As we look to educate and inspire this and future generations of public media audiences, what are the strategies and vision needed to succeed? What skills, resources, and facilities will we need to invest in to better engage and turn those audiences into diehard fanatics.
It will not be enough to give the public programming, news, and education resources. We must celebrate our audiences' creativity, and encourage them to make amazing things with the information, education, and resources we provide.