Gadgets and Electronics

Get cozy and geeky at Dubai's first Apple Store

Alvin R. Cabral/Dubai
Filed on October 27, 2015 | Last updated on October 27, 2015 at 03.51 pm
Get cozy and geeky at Dubais first Apple Store

(Juidin Bernarrd/ Khaleej Times)

(Juidin Bernarrd/ Khaleej Times)

(Juidin Bernarrd/ Khaleej Times)

Apple store in Dubai
(Juidin Bernarrd/ Khaleej Times)

Pivoting glass doors, elegant tables and even trees -- Apple's offering a different experience for the UAE market.

From rotating main doors to self-watering trees, Apple made sure it pulled out all the stops in unveiling Store Nos 465 and 466.

In an exclusive media sneak peek, the world's largest technology company by assets flaunted its new Apple Store at Dubai's Mall of the Emirates on Tuesday, guaranteeing consumers its complete portfolio -- including the Apple Watch -- and the company's signature service offered all over the world.

Later on Tuesday afternoon, another media preview will be held at Apple's other store in Abu Dhabi's Yas Mall. With the two UAE outlets, Apple now has 466 stores in 17 countries.

The last time two Apple Stores were launched at the same time in the same country was way back on May 19, 2001 -- when the first two Apple Stores were opened in the United States in Tyson's Corner, Virginia, and Glendale, California. The move shows the company's commitment to further developing its presence in the region.

"We have been present here for over 30 years and are products are hugely popular," Wendy Beckman, Apple's senior market director for Europe and the Middle East, said at the event.

"Our stores are really our extension into the community, and the community of the UAE is incredible, innovative and creative -- it's just thriving."

Both UAE Apple Stores will officially open to the public on Thursday, with the Mall of the Emirates outlet at 4pm and the Yas Mall branch at 7pm.

When Apple announced that it would be opening an official store in Dubai, it was widely speculated that it would be the largest in the world. Representatives of the company declined to give the store's exact measurement.

All about details

Some elements in the Mall of the Emirates shop are firsts for an Apple Store. The entrance are made of pivotal doors that are made of 16 feet of glass, with the Apple logo "sublimely" installed on the right side. There are 18 tables on which Apple's products are on display.

Perhaps the most inviting design element of the store is the "Genius Grove", the "really soothing" area at the centre that has two Genius Bars surrounded by trees that have their own water systems below. Oh, and there's also a "Green Wall" to the right just beside the pull-out Apple iPhone cases display.

The store's design components, Beckman said, were done in partnership with Foster + Partners, which is the same team designing the Apple Campus at its headquarters in Cupertino, California.

At the end of the store -- behind a giant electronic display -- is a private room in which ladies-only sessions, workshops, meetings and other gatherings can be held.

Between the two UAE Apple Stores, there are over 150 employees who speak 40 languages and represent 30 nationalities.

"None of our stores are great until our people fill them in; we worked really hard and handpicked the team," Beckman said, adding that some of the staff have trained in Apple Stores throughout Europe or in Cupertino, while some have been with the company for several years.

The Apple Store will also be more than a retail arena; Apple has plans to invite app developers, students, filmmakers, authors and many other people from various industries for special events and get-togethers.

"There's a lot of really great stuff coming up, so I hope everyone will enjoy here," Beckman said.


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