Apple will be changing the look and feel of many of its more than 477 retail stores around the world, starting with a new flagship store being opened May 21 in San Francisco's trendy and attractive Union Square.
Among the new features being unveiled are an in-store "Genius Grove" with live, local trees under which customers can get personal support from Apple Geniuses and as well as a gathering place called "The Forum" that is centered around a 6K video wall which will present "Today at Apple" videos and other content.
Also featured will be displays called "The Avenue" that dynamically change with the seasons using interactive themed "windows" where Apple products and services are displayed to show customers what they can do with music, apps, photography and more. New "Creative Pros" will offer advice and help relating to the new displays. Plus, there will be new Boardroom facilities where the store's business team can meet with business customers for assistance and training.
And Apple's most significant stores, like the Union Square store, will also get what the company calls its adjoining outdoor Plazas, which will be open to the public 24 hours a day with free WiFi and seating, as well as regularly scheduled weekend music events involving well-known local acoustic performers, the company announced.
The coming store updates and the plans for the new San Francisco store were unveiled by the company on May 19 as it looks for ways to engage more with its dedicated customers while also attracting new users to its products.
The new Union Square store at 300 Post Street will open at 1 p.m. EDT on May 21 to replace a former store at One Stockton Street, which had opened in 2004. The new location incorporates 42-foot-tall sliding glass doors that provide a dramatic entrance to the retail hub. The new Union Square store is also powered by 100 percent renewable energy through photovoltaic panels integrated into the building's roof.
"Fifteen years ago today Apple opened its first two stores and we're thrilled to mark the occasion with the opening of Apple Union Square in San Francisco," Angela Ahrendts, Apple's senior vice president of retail and online stores, said in a statement. "We are not just evolving our store design, but its purpose and greater role in the community as we educate and entertain visitors and serve our network of local entrepreneurs."
Jonathan Ive, Apple's chief design officer, said in a statement that the latest Apple store location reflects the beauty of its own products and the location in which they will be sold. "We have a deep commitment to the cities we work in, and are aware of the importance that architecture plays in the community," Ive said. "It all starts with the storefront—taking transparency to a whole new level—where the building blends the inside and the outside, breaking down barriers and making it more egalitarian and accessible."
Updating the stores is important to Apple as it works to reignite enthusiasm for its products. In late April, Apple reported a quarterly decline in revenue for the first time since 2003. Apple's second-quarter revenue of $50.6 billion fell 13 percent from $58 billion a year earlier. Net income in that interval fell to $10.5 billion from $13.6 billion, as sales of the company's flagship iPhone smartphones leveled off, ending Apple's 13-year record of uninterrupted sales growth.
In its latest quarter, Apple reported sales of 51.2 million iPhones, down 18 percent from 61.2 million in the same quarter one year ago. The latest quarter's iPhone sales were down sharply—by 32 percent—from the 74.78 million sold in the first quarter of 2016. Revenue from iPhone sales dropped to $32.9 billion in the second quarter, down 18 percent from $40.3 billion one year ago.
The first Apple Store opened in 2001. Apple now has 477 stores around the world, including 268 locations in the United States.