Published on April 30th, 2017 | by Varuna Singh


Apple Store Dubai Mall is delightfully inspiring

Apple premiered its newest store in Dubai – Apple Store Dubai Mall this week. We went through the store to get a sense of what to make of it. After all, in terms of consumer retail in tech, the Apple store pretty much sets the bar for everyone else. Not just that, we are seeing a lot of changes at Apple retail and its interesting to see how much more human this tech company is getting. Some of ideas are bold and some are intriguing and debatable. As most of us rely on e-commerce to get our technology fix, there is just something unique about Apple’s brick and mortar stores.

More importantly, Apple Dubai Mall is a product of Apple just as Apple’s other small products as mentioned by Angela Ahrendts, the SVP of Apple retail. She is in charge of everything to do with retail at Apple. She mentioned that the Apple Dubai mall is the 4th of its kind to be introduced to the world. The other three are in the US and the UK.

In fact its the first of its kind to be in this sub-continent. Its located in the heart of Dubai at one of the most iconic malls of the city. So, what is it that makes the Store so unique and what exactly is it the 4th of ?

Reinvention 1.0

According to Apple, its Reinvention 1.0. In Angela’s words, this is the future of retail at Apple. They clearly know that they are doing well in their online stores, but they can’t help but not leave the community around the devices they create.

We feel obligated to play a much bigger role with every individual in the community” Angela said to us.

The hardware is the architecture, the software is the experience that happens in the store – Angela Ahrendts

Success according to her is when two people decide to meet at the Apple Store since there is always something that’s supposed to be happening here. Think of it as a stage for creative work and learning. The catch is obvious, its got to do something with Apple. The talks, sessions on photography, iCloud and programming with Swift is all an extra supportive layer on top of Apple’s hardware and software products.

The store is designed by Apple’s partnership with architecture firm Foster + Partners. In terms of architecture, its key features:

  • 186 foot curved storefront
  • Balcony overlooking Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountain
  • New “Solar Wing” outdoor gates that move with the sun to reveal:
  • A public terrace.
  • A new in store experience: “Today at Apple”

We view our stores as a modern-day town square, where visitors come to shop, be inspired, learn or connect with others in their community,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail. “And what better place to come together than overlooking Dubai’s epicenter, where the Dubai Fountain, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall meet. We are so honored to have a home at one of the world’s most incredible and dynamic intersections.”

“Today at Apple” will launch at Apple Dubai Mall and in all 495 Apple Stores next month with new sessions across photo and video, music, coding, art and design, and more, led by highly trained team members. Apple Dubai Mall will also host high-profile events including live music, intimate conversations with film-makers and photographers, and live workshops with some of the world’s top talent. There are new staff that Apple is calling Creative Pros and they are to Liberal arts to what Geniuses are to technology.

“Creative Pros are to Liberal arts what the Geniuses are to technology” – Angela Adhrents

The new store is designed in partnership with Apple’s long time architect partner: Foster + Partners. They designed the new eighteen 37.5-foot-high motorized “Solar Wings” that respond to the ever-changing environmental conditions. When the sun is at its hottest they cool the store, and in the evenings they open to welcome everyone to the public terrace. Inspired by the traditional Arabic Mashrabiya, each “Solar Wing” is locally fabricated from 340 carbon fiber reinforced polymer rods, and at 180 feet wide, the 18 panels make up one of the world’s largest kinetic art installations.

The public terrace is an attempt to get the community in the region together around the digital Apple ecosystem. The hopes and claims are bold and I’d be interested to see how this pans out in the future.

In the past 18 months, Apple Stores in the UAE has seen over 4 million visits

Apple’s first two stores in the United Arab Emirates have welcomed more than 4 million visitors since opening in Dubai and Abu Dhabi 18 months ago. Apple will reach even more visitors from around the world at Dubai Mall, Emaar’s flagship mega-project and the world’s most-visited retail and lifestyle destination, welcoming over 80 million visitors for the past three consecutive years. Apple’s location overlooking the lake will stay open as late as midnight to everyone exploring the area.

The apple Store is open now at Dubai Mall and I’d highly recommend a visit.

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About the Author

I work with technology in Education. I also write stuff. I love design and people. @varunasingh

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