When the sleek Apple Store on New York’s Fifth Avenue opened in 2006 with its 32-foot glass walls and an array of products for consumers to try before they bought, it changed the face of retail. Now Apple aims to do it again with its new flagship store in San Francisco that opens to the public Saturday.
This time, though, the store has stunning 42-foot doors that open 40 feet wide, welcoming visitors into the space that includes:
- The Avenue, where Apples’ products are lined up as if in window displays
- Genius Grove, which replaces the Genius Bars of old Apple locations
- The Forum, which has a 6K-resolution 35-foot video wall and features in-store programming from artists, photographers, musicians, etc. as well as video-game nights and music-video premieres
- The Plaza, an area open to the public 24 hours a day that has Wi-Fi and occasional performances
- The Boardroom, a space where local entrepreneurs and business customers can receive training
Apple stores all over the world are getting massive screens like this one in the flagship SF store opening Saturday pic.twitter.com/xG8fSQpd7a
— Patrick Kulp (@PatrickKulp) May 19, 2016
“We are not just evolving our store design, but its purpose and greater role in the community as we educate and entertain visitors and serve our network of local entrepreneurs,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail and Online Stores, in a press release.
The store’s energy comes from 100-percent renewable sources such as the photovoltaic panels integrated into the building’s roof. The funky furniture inside is mostly made of wood and fits together for easy storage.
“This is the overarching vision for the future of Apple retail,” said Ahrendts, Mashable reports. “We will know we’ve done really great when it feels like a town square.”
The new store opens at an interesting time for Apple as iPhone sales have slowed and it hasn’t come up with a new market-ready piece of innovation that sets the world on its head—something Apple seemed to reliably do for a few years. Pulling such tricks out of the hat continually is a difficult task and Apple has seemingly run out for the time being and is banking on upgrades to its current products bringing its customers back time and again.
For those who frequent one of the close to 500 other Apple stores across the globe, prepare to see changes coming your way. If it works in San Francisco, it’ll surely start seeing the light of day somewhere else.
Apple isn’t alone in looking to the retail future. Target is testing a few changes to its future stores in its largest market, California. The pilot program that goes by the name LA25 sees 35 enhancements that have worked across the country all put into 25 stores in Los Angeles, TheStreet.com reports.
The changes include such things as “sleeker apparel fixtures, a better-lit fresh produce section that emphasizes organics, dedicated service stations for people to quickly pick up online orders” and “the addition of specialists in key departments to help provide product knowledge.” However, there appear to be no plans to install 42-foot doors.