“Do you know why the CardMunch app won’t install on my iPad?”
I was speaking with Mark, an employee at Apple’s Santa Monica store a few blocks from my hotel, while visiting LA. He had that unimposing surfer-dude vibe you can only find within scent of a California ocean.
“That’s a good question,” he said, adhering to the unspoken code of conduct among all Apple employees: always compliment the customer first before you instruct them gently from your vast cornucopia of knowledge.
As we all know, the congeniality of an Apple employee is without equal in all of retailing. You can expect a pleasantly rigid demeanor from the employees at an Ikea store as they exhibit a vaguely Scandinavian curtness. We accept that because few of have actually been to Sweden. But Apple employees? They glide six inches off the ground. They glow like heaven.
Eventually, Mark tapped on my iPad screen. His fingers seemed to have their own Bluetooth signal. The fluidity, the fluttering grace, the symphony of precision. I was caught in raft attention, like a disciple of Mozart watching the master compose a concerto. Then he stopped, suddenly.
“Nothing,” he said, with a hint of confusion. I quickly explained to him the app works fine on my iPhone 4. That I was really hoping he could figure out what was going on, because I needed to test the app. Really, I was grasping at straws because the problem had confounded me all day.
Mark shrugged and tapped the shoulder of another employee.
His name was Tom, and he was a Genius.
“I bet it’s an iOS conflict – something to do with the camera,” Tom intoned. Of course! CardMunch uses the iPhone camera to snap a photo of a business card, but the iPad is not supported. I felt like an ingénue, some hapless minion who belonged at the Microsoft Store or worse: Radio Shack. Tom’s answer fell from the skylights like a feather from the golden goose. He nodded at Mark. The two of them exchanged some electrostatic union of sorts, a kind of Apple virtual handshake, an iOS mind-meld.
Tim smiled at me. “That could be the problem, although – have you downloaded the latest system update?”
I have to admit some embarrassment here. On a few of my gadgets, the ones I don’t use as often or that I don’t use in public, I’m not perfectly attuned to the latest OS updates. There are times when I even let my gadgets languor for a time, using them with careless abandon.
Having an Apple Genius catch me in this unforgivable act of technological ineptitude was almost unbearable. I felt a cold, lingering chill.
“Ah, not really. Is there a new one?” I offered, a weak stab in the dark.
“Always!” he joked, and punched up the About menu.
Still stinging from the discovery, I watched as Tom quickly updated my iPad – in seconds, not minutes! – and searched for the app again. No luck.
“It must be the camera on the iPad,” he said. “You might want to check with the developer, but I have a better idea.”
He paused, letting his Genius sink in a little.
Pulling up the search box, he tapped in a phrase. It was an app that does almost the same thing as CardMunch, only with more social network integration and full iOS 6 support. We installed the app, basking in the glow of the warm LED lights above. I made a few jokes about the Microsoft Store. We chatted about the weather. And then Mark and Tom both said their goodbyes, having successfully resolved my iPad problem and, as it happens, realigned my consciousness. I was ready to take on the world. Again.