I made an appointment at the local Apple store yesterday. I have an iPod that I use when I exercise, but the battery is failing. So it turns out I can get a new battery (really a new iPod because battery replacement is basically a factory/depot repair) for $79, which is far less than buying a new one.
So the technology is interesting; the Apple employee has quite a bit of typing to do on her iPad to get everything set up (she was amazingly fast at typing on the glass screen). But the basic process is that they bring out a replacement, and you move your data onto the new device. Then you erase the old one. The longest part of the process is waiting for a system update on the new hardware, and then the multiple reboots to get the iCloud copy onto the new device. So, yeah, it takes a while but when I left the store I had a clone of the iPod I brought in. I had a store credit, which showed up on my Apple watch when I entered the store; it displayed a QR code on the watch, and that’s how I paid for the upgrade.
Not perfect; it would be nice if it worked faster. But it just works (which is what you hope happens with an Apple device). And they had my iPod (which is basically obsolete) in stock and were able to do the update in situ. My job (before I retired) was a Professor of Supply Chain Management. That means I studied process design, among other things. The Apple process was just about as good as it could be.
The Apple store was as busy as it always is, which is very, very busy. When I was done, I walked down the mall corridor to take a quick look at the Microsoft store. They had 8 to 10 employees, and one customer. I don’t think the MSFT store concept is working out. Maybe MSFT stuff needs less attention, or maybe there is just less demand. I don’t know which.