Apple introduces a new generation of stores
San Francisco's Union Square district is the location of the latest, freshly redesigned Apple Store, the 479th in the world, fifteen years after the opening of the first.
The store concept’s new, luxury re-positioning is the brainchild of former Burberry boss Angela Ahrendts, who was appointed Apple's Senior Vice-President for stores and online sales in February 2015. The $73 million-salary executive commissioned the new design to Sir Jonathan Ive, of Mac, iPod and iPhone fame.
Like the new San Francisco store, future Apple Stores will be characterised by a larger retail area, and will be brighter. The San Francisco store features a 12 metre-high set of glass entrance doors, a design allusion to Apple screens. Each store will also be equipped with a large monitor at the entrance and big wooden tables, like those used by Sir Jonathan Ive.
The area formerly known as the 'genius bar', dedicated to device repairs ad after-sales service, is now the 'genius grove', comfortably located under some trees and featuring an online reservation service to avoid lining up. The new generation of Apple stores is chiefly targeted to creative customers, who will be attracted by the 'avenue' area, conceived like a window display showcasing products available at Apple only, which will change according to the seasons.
Another novelty for potential customers is the creation of a 'Forum' area, featuring testimonials from musicians, photographers and other artists on a large-scale wall, and the 'Boardroom', reserved to entrepreneurs.
The Apple stores' luxury re-positioning is also marked by the arrival for the first time of non-Apple goods on the stores' shelves, Phantom high-end French loudspeakers in this case, or by other innovations contributing to improve the customers' experience, such as the recent introduction of personal appointments to try out the most expensive Apple watch models.
Finally, new Apple stores will aim to exploit exterior space as much as possible. For example, the square overlooking the San Francisco store comprises a fountain, a park and a venue for weekend musical events.
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