- Apple has announced group-based Today at Apple sessions for up to 15 people.
- Friends, family, and colleagues can all learn new skills together with experts on tap.
- Today at Apple was previously aimed at individuals, putting them in classes with strangers.
The number of Apple devices being used worldwide is measured in the billions, but not everyone is making full use of them.
Today at Apple Sessions is adding a new group session option that builds on the extensive list of training and educational classes that are already part of the Today at Apple curriculum, designed to help people use their Apple devices better. With group sessions, Apple gives larger groups of people the option to book an entire class, whereas they were previously aimed squarely at individuals.
"Group sessions are best for classrooms and organizations with time constraints and specific learning goals," Apple Retail expert Michael Steeber told Lifewire via direct message. "By booking ahead of time, Apple's Creative Pros can prepare enough devices and the right content for a larger group."
Bring Your Friends Along
Groups can book their Today at Apple sessions via Apple's website, and they're tailored with groups in mind. That means up to 15 people can attend a group session and their duration differs based on what's being taught and how much time the group has available. Group sessions cover everything from drawing using an iPad and Apple Pencil to learning how to create iPhone apps on a Mac, and Apple has subject matter experts on-hand throughout. Like other classes, the group sessions are free.
By opening sessions up to larger groups, it's easier for friends and family to learn together while removing some of the unknowns associated with participating in a group of people they don't know. Beginners can ask questions of the experts—something they might be more inclined to do when surrounded by familiar people. That's a big advantage over more asynchronous alternatives like video tutorials streamed online.
Having friends around can actually help people learn, too. Research suggests that being surrounded by familiar people can make it easier to absorb information, another reason group sessions could potentially help people learn new skills more quickly. Not to mention that they could have more fun as they do it.
Making Better Use of Devices You Already Own
Experts agree that for owners of Apple devices, taking advantage of sessions is a no-brainer. For them, Today at Apple is "free training, a return on investment on the device they bought because they will be able to do more with it," Carolina Milanesi, President & Principal Analyst at Creative Strategies, told Lifewire via email. "After the training [people have] a feeling that Apple is investing in them as customers."
Today at Apple has grown to become a popular way for beginners to learn how to get the most out of their devices, with expert tutelage offered in ways it might not otherwise be available.
"I think it's super inspiring for experienced photographers and iPhone users to show that you can make art with something as simple as an iPhone and some curiosity," iPhone app developer Sebastiaan de With told Lifewire via direct message.
de With, who is the co-founder of the company that makes Halide, a popular photography app used by experts during some of the Today at Apple sessions, knows iPhones can take stunning photos. People who want to learn how to take better photos only need to visit their local Apple Store and take part if they want to up their iPhone photography game. And they can do it as a group for the first time.
Strength in Depth
Groups keen to pick up a new skill will likely find a session catered to it. Beginner sessions include teaching attendees how to get started with a new iPhone, but other sessions are more advanced or take students on a tour of their surroundings.
Discover color is one such example, taking people on a walk to "capture your own palette." It's that ability to find a class that suits specific needs and capabilities that helps make Today at Apple so compelling to so many.
"Skills sessions are great if you're new to Apple products and want to get up to speed, and Tours are great if you want to dive into a new creative technique," Steeber told Lifewire.
While some beginner sessions could be replaced by detailed explainers, often found on YouTube, experts say that attending Today at Apple sessions in person provides more value to customers than cold, hard knowledge.
"Today at Apple provides a sense of community and an environment of constructive feedback and positive encouragement, which is huge when learning something new," Steeber added.