Even Apple engineers can't get Genius Bar jobs

Apple Store
Apple Store

Though it's essentially a retail job, Apple's Genius Bar staff are rigorously vetted before being let loose on the company's iPhone sales floor. But this is ridiculous.

You may not know his name, but JK Scheinberg was a key Apple software engineer. Before retiring at age 54 back in 2008, he was instrumental in Apple's macOS making the leap to support Intel chips.

Looking for a way to keep busy post-retirement, Scheinberg told the New York Times for a piece on ageism in the workplace that he applied for a job at Apple's Genius Bar. With his experience, he'd be a shoe-in for the role, surely? Not quite.

Apple ageism?

"On the way out, all three of the interviewers singled me out and said: 'We'll be in touch'. I never heard back," said Scheinberg. Despite having been at the company from 1987 through to 2008, Scheinberg wasn't offered a position.

Following the publication of the New York Times piece, the former software dev tweeted: "Wonder if Apple will finally give me callback on that genius bar interview."

The story has now put Apple's hiring practices under scrutiny. By modern standards, Scheinberg is hardly an old man at 54, but given his experience eyebrows have been raised, suggesting he may not have seemed spritely enough for Apple's fresh-faced Genius crew.

It could be argued however that Scheinberg was too experienced for the role. Somewhere between a sales assistant and a customer service representative, it's possible that the interviewers were questioning how fulfilling the role would be for the former Apple staffer.

Apple's website is keen to promote it as an equal-opportunities employer, stating that it is "committed to inclusion and diversity", taking "affirmative action to offer employment and advancement opportunities to all applicants."

With an ageing global population expected to work far later into life, Apple has an opportunity to lead by example. Regardless of the reasoning behind Scheinberg's failed application, here's hoping that the story sees Apple double-down on fair employment practices.

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of iMore.com. Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.