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Apple takes its retail-store education and holiday activities online

Throughout the pandemic, Apple has hosted online classes and camps meant for its stores. Now it's offering activities for the holidays too.

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Apple stores have offered free tech education and activities for years.

Apple

Apple's stores are setting up free activities for families to participate in online, marking the latest way the company is changing how its stores operate during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company on Thursday posted artwork activities and announced planned schedules for live classes tied to many of its stores. The activities, geared of course toward being performed on Apple products, range from putting together homemade greeting cards to shooting family portraits to editing a video-highlight reel. The company will also offer online classes on art and photography. The program is called Make Your Holiday.

"In a year that has been enormously challenging, our retail teams, contact centers and all those who work with our customers most closely have gone to creative and dedicated lengths to keep serving our customers," Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, said during an October conference call. 

Apple Store

When Apple stores are open, Apple limits the number of people who can enter.

Apple

The effort is the latest extension of Apple's retail-store education programs, which it's offered since the first stores opened, in 2001. At first there were presentations showing how devices work. Then came classes teaching people how to use apps to build websites and edit photos. In 2017, the company announced Today at Apple, which expanded its programming to go more in depth on topics like art and design, music and coding.

Apple has closed and reopened its more than 500 stores as coronavirus infection waves have spread through various cities. The virus has now infected more than 56 million people around the globe and killed more than 1.3 million.

To keep stores running, Apple has devised new Express kiosks at the front of its shops, where customers can come for scheduled purchase pickups and Genius Bar tech support appointments. The company has also pushed many of its courses online, offering prerecorded classes and interactive ones powered by Cisco's Webex video meeting software. The company said it'll also hold a live online session with Leslie Odom Jr., who played Aaron Burr in the original cast of the musical Hamilton, discussing art and creativity.

Apple said customers have reacted well to its online programming -- so well that it plans to continue offering web-based classes after the pandemic subsides.