According to unnamed sources with deep knowledge of the company’s imminent plans, Apple is gearing up to implement a worldwide “refresh” to older and smaller Apple retail store locations during the wee hours of the night between Tuesday May 16th and Wednesday May 17th, 2017.
These sources, who divulged Apple’s plans exclusively to 9to5mac, indicated that the interior design changes are reserved specifically for Apple Store locations that are either older or small than its flagship locations — presumably in an effort to bring those locations in line with the exciting design changes that have been taking place at several Apple flagship Stores around the world, including the posh new outlet at the Dubai Mall in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the swanky new Union Square Apple Store in San Francisco, California.
Back in 2015, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, Jony Ive, gave the press a sneak preview of Apple’s new design language at a conference held in Brussels, Belgium — while Apple’s Senior Vice President of retail, Angela Ahrendts, followed up on Ive’s sneak peek by showing off the new features of Apple’s retail store design ahead of the opening of the flagship Union Square location in San Francisco.
Shown in the photo below, these aesthetically pleasing and interactive elements include rows of lush trees, encompassed by ample seating around the newly-dubbed ‘Genius Grove’, a large LCD display, and power sockets that reportedly emerge from the wooden tables when one’s hand is merely waved over them.
While these major revisions have slowly but surely been popping up in Apple’s flagship retail stores, not all Apple Stores have the space or pre-existing infrastructure to support them — therefore the remaining locations will receive what Ahrendts has described as a ‘halfway house’ between the existing and new design language.
No specific details about what we can expect from the new design have been revealed, however it’s highly likely that the overall look and feel will emulate Apple’s new flagship design to the maximum extent possible. Also, while some of the initial groundwork may begin over the next few days, Apple is believed to implement the better majority of the changes overnight on May 16th — ahead of a normal opening on the 17th. We can almost certainly expect to see design cues similar to those illustrated in the photo above, including possible interior landscaping, and a heavy reliance on natural materials such as wood and granite.
In an interview with CBS News last month, Ahrendts — who formerly served as the CEO of Burberry, prior to joining Apple’s retail team in 2014 — indicated that the design changes are really part of a broader shift to redefine the role of Apple Stores as “town squares,” where people meet to learn, engage and socialize. Apple’s recently announced “Today at Apple” educational series, which will be kicking off next month, is another key component of this overall shift.