Apple just revealed the future of its retail stores – The Verge

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Apple stores may not generate anywhere near the revenue of the company’s online counterpart. Yet for the last 15 years, they have acted as Apple’s real-world footprint, a way to set apart how it communicates with customers and leaves its mark on cities around the world. From New York’s 5th Avenue glass cube to the iconic Norman Foster-designed Istanbul Apple Store, the company uses these retail outlets to become part of the urban landscape and show off its dedication to forward-thinking design. They’re Apple’s way of moving from smartphones and laptop screens to the physical spaces we spend time in. “We think of this as our largest product,” Ahrendts says.

“We think of this as our largest product.”

To further emphasize this point, Apple has introduced a suite of changes, all of which will be coming to future flagship stores, to how it organizes its retail setup. The Genius Bar, where can make an appointment to get hands-on customer service, is now the Genius Grove, accented by literal trees and open spaces. The company is also introducing what it calls “windows.” Located in “the avenue,” these are displays designed to change with the seasons and cycle through interactive themes, like iPhone photography, Apple Music, and iOS apps. Apple is hiring what it’s calling creative pros to stand at these stations and offer advice and tips depending on the theme.

The board room, another new addition, is a faux conference setup Apple designed for small businesses and startups to come and get advice from app developers and other entrepreneurs. The 6K video screen, located on the second floor, is officially called the forum. It will feature creative sessions with local experts dedicated to art and music, photography, gaming, and other Mac and iOS-centric topics. Apple says it also plans to debut new Apple Music exclusives on the screen as well.

And then there’s the windows. The entire, 42-foot street-facing wall is comprised mostly of glass, separated only by tall silver beams. At the press of a button, the doors can separate and turn the Apple Store into an open-faced mall of sorts. In the minds of Apple’s designers — including Jony Ive, who was deeply involved in the store’s construction — the removal of the glass makes the store an extension of the city itself.

Apple just revealed the future of its retail stores – The Verge