Apple's Genius Bar Geniuses are praised, despite the long waits required to see them.

The New York Times writes: "In an age when human help of any kind is hard to come by, the eight or nine Geniuses on duty at any given time here [in the San Francisco Apple Store] are a welcome anomaly."

Apple is admired for instigating what is described as: "An increasingly rare service: free face-to-face technical support".

Apple's senior vice president for retailing Ron Johnson told New York Times: "It's the part of the store that people connect to emotionally more than any other. We believed you had to bring the people dimension back into retail."

"But there can still be long waits," writes reporter Katie Hafner. "Just after Christmas, for instance, at the Apple Store in SoHo in New York, by 10am the earliest appointment that could be had was at 4pm."

Apple is investigating ways of organizing this waiting. According to the report, the company has instituted a pager system for those who show up when all the experts are busy.