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John Ryan

Not All Apple Stores Are the Same – Let Me Show You

The tech company’s most recently opened flagship has a few notable points of difference

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THERE ARE APPLE stores and then there are Apple flagships. The former can be found in multiple locations across the globe, while the latter are limited to a few select, generally high profile, cities.

This month has seen a new flagship for London and though there are already two locations, in Covent Garden and on Regent Street, this one is on the main drag in Knightsbridge, a very posh part of town. At this point, it is tempting to suppress a mild yawn as aren’t all Apple stores, of whatever size, more-or-less the same?

Up to a point. All of them will have wooden display tables and in bigger stores there will be a “town hall,” for which read a place in which the faithful can sit and either be taught or listen to those who know a lot about specific topics, generally related to Apple and its products.

At this point it would actually be quite easy to dismiss the stores. After all, what’s the point in seeing something you’ve already seen? Not much really, but it’s worth observing that like other flagships this store may superficially conform to the Apple norm, but like all of them, it has a few major points of difference.

For a start, there’s a mirrored ceiling in the town hall, an Apple first. Then there’s the ceiling formed of a series of curved timber arches designed to mimic the building’s architecture when it was first unveiled in 1903. There’s also the hidden stuff. Apple Knightsbridge is a highly eco-efficient store, one that probably puts most of its immediate neighbors to shame. This may not be blatantly apparent, but the Knightsbridge shopper will made aware thanks to the pop art(ish) decals in the windows, which emphasize this.

A store that looks similar, therefore, but which is in fact different. This is part of a global rollout, but Apple is a retailer that understands both the need for acting local and ensuring that there is something that makes its stores relate to important global trends and issues. On the pre-opening press day, we were each handed a pack of wildflower seeds to plant and make the world a better place. Whether you see this as tokenism or a genuine effort, it does once again set this store apart and while it’s easy to be cynical, most of the assembled hacks were genuinely touched/impressed.

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📷: John Ryan/Apple

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