Inside Apple’s Training Program

Apple Employees

The New York Times published an interesting profile over the weekend that provides an inside look at Apple’s internal training program for employees, which has largely remained a secret initiative since its inception in 2008.

The in-house program, called “Apple University,” was established by the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Apple’s Vice President of Human Resources Joel Podolny, allowing employees to sign up for classes taught by instructors from Yale, Harvard and other top institutions.

According to the report, Apple has an internal website that allows employees to sign up for classes based on their position and background. For instance, the company is said to offer a course on consolidating talent and resources into Apple for Beats employees.

Both companies declined to comment.

Just like with its products, services and even its packaging, the Apple University program is said to be meticulously crafted. Even the classrooms are said to be thoughtfully planned, built in a trapezoid shape with ample lighting and elevated back rows to ensure visibility from all areas.

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Apple draws at least some of its inspiration from the renowned Spanish painter Picasso (The New York Times via MacRumors):

Apple has religiously embodied the notion that function and beauty come from elegant simplicity, and teachers in its internal training program sometimes point to a collection of Picasso lithographs that artfully illustrate the drive to boil down an idea to its most essential components.”

The entire article is an interesting read that details the iterative design process behind Apple products, such as how the Apple TV remote came to have just three buttons. In comparison, in one course, Apple shows a slide in which the Google TV remote has 78 buttons.

Perhaps this is why Apple products “just work.”