Apple has just unveiled a new store in San Francisco's Union Square, and it's the template for a new style that will likely eventually be replicated all over the globe, including the most "significant" Australian stores in Sydney and Melbourne. As well as an in-store garden grove for Genius appointments and a 6K-resolution video wall, there's also a plaza that will be open to the public 24 hours a day with free Wi-Fi and music performances.
The large, imposing metal counters of current stores' Genius Bars have been replaced with Apple's signature long wooden benches, and large potted trees in front of massive glass windows. The Genius Grove, as Apple has taken to calling it, will still take the usual appointments and walk-ins, but there's also a dedicated boardroom for pre-organised appointments with larger company customers — new for the company and targeted at attracting big businesses to the Apple ecosystem.
There's also a 'Forum', built around a 6K video wall, where the company intends to run a constantly-updated Today at Apple series with creative sessions for photographers, musicians, gamers and developers — similar to the regular public events that are already run at Apple Stores around the world. Creative professionals will be stationed around the store near smaller digital displays in an area called "the Avenue" showing new iOS apps, Apple Music playlists and artists, and photos captured on iPhone.
But it's what is outside the store that actually sounds more interesting and involving than the store itself — especially if, according to The Verge, the majority of Apple customers prefer to buy online rather than visit a retail location. Apple Union Square's Plaza space, a new idea "found only at Apple's most significant stores", will be open to the public 24 hours a day with live music performances, seating and free Wi-Fi. It's meant to bring the Apple Store experience out into a space where customers — and potential customers — can feel more comfortable.
And, of course, the store has massive glass windows. Each of the 10 panes of glass in the metal-sided, cube-shaped building is a full 42 feet (12.8 metres) tall.