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Former Apple engineer: I got turned down for a Genius Bar job

Technically Incorrect: JK Scheinberg, the man behind Mac's move to Intel processors, retired and thought it would be fun to work as an Apple genius. Oh well.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


No one is too old to be a genius, surely

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They're very clever, aren't they?

You walk into your Apple store. They have a friendly air. They valiantly resist condescension.

There's one other thing: Apple's geniuses are generally quite fresh-faced, if occasionally looking like they had a late night.

Would Apple, though, hire an older genius is he or she had the talent?

The New York Times offered an overview this weekend on the subject of older workers.

Written by author Ashton Applewhite, it explored the various ways in which age prejudice may be expressed.

Brooklyn-based Applewhite said that she gets her tech support from JK Scheinberg.

He worked at Apple for 21 years and is credited with showing Steve Jobs the wisdom of transferring the Mac to Intel processors.

Applewhite explained that after Scheinberg retired, he thought it might be fun to be an Apple store genius.

You'd think he had the qualifications.

She writes: "A little restless after retiring in 2008, at 54, he figured he'd be a great fit for a position at an Apple store Genius Bar, despite being twice as old as anyone else at the group interview."

He didn't get the job.

Scheinberg told Applewhite: "On the way out, all three of the interviewers singled me out and said, 'We'll be in touch. I never heard back."

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

How sad -- if unsurprising -- it would be if age was the only reason Scheinberg wasn't hired. How sad, too, that he says he never even heard from Apple again. I wonder if they even knew who he was.

Ageism has long been a subject of debate in tech. In recent years, some older workers have said it's a little easier to get hired in Silicon Valley.

But just as in the Valley it's hard to escape the impression that it's a young person's -- and, too often, young man's -- business, so Apple stores also give the impression of the brains appearing to be young and therefore vibrant.

Apple's new store design eliminates the Genius Bar and allows the brains to commune more freely with the customers.

Ultimately, though, customers just want their machines fixed -- and quickly. They surely don't care who does it, how or how old they are.

In any case, when the term "genius" is generally used, doesn't it often refer to those who have really proved it in life? Over a long period, that is.