Katie Hafner of The New York Times has written an excellent article on the Genius Bars inside Apple retail stores and the folks who man them. “Go to any of the 102 Apple-owned retail stores in the world and–if you are willing to wait–you will be treated to what is an increasingly rare service: free face-to-face technical support. The walk-up assistance has existed since the first Apple Store opened in 2001, in Washington. Over the years, as the concept gained momentum, the bars have become what Ron Johnson, Apple’s senior vice president for retailing, calls the soul of the stores.”