Apple’s store of the future, just across the street from Store No. 1

August 1, 2011

By Mary Slosson

To the legions of Apple fans, any new store from the consumer electronics giant is cause for celebration. But the company’s latest, in Glendale California, is special for two reasons: it’s being touted as Apple Store 2.0, a model for others to come … and it happens to be just across the street from the very first outlet to carry the corporate logo.

Already inviting comparisons to Starbucks — notorious for opening outlets within a stone’s throw of each other — the latest addition the now-331-strong network drew hundreds of devotees to the Americana at Brand mall just north of downtown Los Angeles on Saturday. 

Apple obliged with a DJ, dancing, and free gifts to the first 1,000 visitors (a t-shirt specific to the new mall location).

 The full-glass-front store — California’s 50th — is reputed to be one of the largest in the company’s steadily expanding network, although an Apple spokesperson would not confirm that. 

It shares the honor, with Apple store #1 in the Glendale Galeria mall, of being the two closest Apple stores ever – the mall complexes are separated by a single street.

But the newest store is in a markedly more upscale location, with a large fountain right outside and a child-friendly trolley running in a loop around the chi-chi outdoor shopping center.

While Apple itself is not commenting, this one hints at the company’s new, upsized approach. This reporter counted 36 seats at the Genius bar, markedly more than at many other locations.  It features high ceilings and large wooden tables with iPads, iPods, MacBooks and personal setup stations. 

There are also two children’s tables with age-appropriate games and soft round seats. And it employs “SmartSign”, a technology launched in May via which a customer can explore a product’s details on an attached iPad before speaking with a store specialist.

(Photo used with permission from Federico Viticci of Macstories)

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