Had a meeting with the PR and iPad/iPhone Apple people on Thursday to advise the development and release of this app we’re working on.
This is quite a big deal I am told. Hey, Apple don’t just meet with anybody!
A1 and I have slightly stilted conversation while walking to the tube on the way to this meeting. It was a struggle, so I pick up a Metro and so does he, feeling relieved. I worry that he might think its rude, but he started reading happily so I was free to read my Agatha Christie. The Metro was only a cover. I discarded it after briefly skimming the guilty pleasure section. Later he brings it up, (my anti-socialness) and I felt guilty even though he started reading before me.
The Apple official offices are behind the Regent street store. There is a tiny 3 foot x 3 foot escape hatch just behind the genius bar that takes you to the apple offices. To gain access to this secret hatch a Genius man will ask you
“What can I do for you today?”
This is your cue. You will need to reply with a previously assigned answer (expires after first use).
“I have never used my warranty. The sky in Switzerland is blue.”
He will then reply. “Yes, the grass is green and there are some Nuns. Our new Macbook Air now has two ports”
You will need to respond accordingly.
“My hard drive has wonderful capacity, brown fox brown fox.”
“Apple products are wonderful, have you seen our new range?”
“Why yes, thank you”
Finally, he gives you a discreet nod. You’ve passed. This is a sign to go around the genius bar and crawl through the hatch. First A1 went through, I followed.
You have to crawl on all fours for about 15-20 meters or so until you suddenly find yourself in an enormous all white, dome room. The mouth of the passage you crawled through is deep red, like you are being re-born into Apple.
Two men were standing there to greet us and were looking down at us crawling clumsily out of the passage. One was dressed in all white, the other in charcoal grey.
All employees of Apple have to match their products. There were various employees wandering here and there, some all dressed in green, or red, or blue, some just in white, matching the various iPod colours. Some of them can’t speak to you because they have signed strict, legally binding gagging and secrecy orders. They can’t speak to anyone, not even their wives and children. It’s a very demanding job for Apple employees.
Luckily both our guys could talk, because the meeting would have been quite challenging otherwise.
The first one was adorably camp. The second was a talkative hetro. He talked non-stop barely drawing breath. I wanted to say to the camp one “Hey! Lets go out drinking, you seem fun.” but luckily I didn’t. They were both American.
Apple is legally prohibited from hiring only American employees because that would be discrimination, however all Apple employees have to take a 6 month course to master an American accent. They also have some minor brainwashing and have to watch over 15 hours of American TV shows a week to be able to speak flawless American. They’re rewarded with gold stars for every correct Americanization.
Our app seems to go down well, they have some good feedback, a good critique. They recommend dropping the navigation header on the iPad down to the bottom, and I nearly smacked my forehead, Doh! Of course.
It’s much more natural to have the navigation at the bottom than the top of an iPad. I had to disguise the fact that I was the only one in the room, or maybe even in London, who doesn’t have either an iPhone or iPad (and ironically am designing for both). I have a Nokia K770i that I haven’t been able to make connect to the internet (but it does take great photos).
Anyway, good news is the app which was due for Xmas (shriek!) has been pushed back to January, there was no way it could be designed properly, built and tested before 24 dec.