It's only when you move to a country with no Apple retail presence that you really appreciate the massive advantage the Apple Store gives to Apple. Even though some of those key services that made all the difference have disappeared - likely as a result of their self-defeating popularity - it is still the number one reason for choosing Apple in my book.
Now Apple is pushing one of its least utilised retail store advantages, community. From May Apple Stores around the world will be hosting a range of sessions, from beginner to professional, offering guidance, advice and instruction to help customers make the most of their products. These 'Today at Apple' sessions will include a variety of subjects, including photography, art and swift coding.
This utilisation of the Apple Store to grow the sense of community amongst its users is a master stroke and one that no other competitor can copy.
For all the perceived advantages around Apple's products quality and execution, this is perhaps the strongest product Apple has brought to market in years.
That it is both free and doesn't directly drive product sales shows Apple understands its relationship with customers.