X

Apple's latest SF store showcases chain's new design direction (pictures)

The company's new store, on iconic Union Square, is the first to include a "Genius Grove" and other features from designer Jony Ive and retail chief Angela Ahrendts.

joshmiller.jpg
joshmiller.jpg
Josh Miller
Shara_Tibken.jpg
Shara_Tibken.jpg
Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
apple-store-union-square-sf-1802-001.jpg
1 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Apple Store Union Square

On the 15th anniversary of its first-ever retail stores, Apple showed off its newest location, in downtown San Francisco.

apple-store-union-square-sf-1818-002.jpg
2 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Apple Store Union Square

Apple's newest store is located three blocks from an older San Francisco store. CNET got an early preview with other reporters.

The front of the building has two giant sliding glass doors, which are 42 feet tall.

apple-store-union-square-sf-1897-005.jpg
3 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

The forum

A feature for new Apple stores is called the "forum." This includes a gigantic 6K video screen on a wall and seating for people to take photography classes and attend other sessions.

apple-store-union-square-sf-1912-006.jpg
4 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Retail chief

Angela Ahrendts, Apple's head of retail, joined the company two years ago to overhaul online and in-store retail.

apple-store-union-square-sf-angela-ahrendts-1921-001.jpg
5 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Angela Ahrendts

"This is not just a store," Ahrendts said during a sneak peek for reporters at the store, the first in the world to feature the company's new retail design. "We want people to say, 'Meet me at Apple, did you see what's going on at Apple?'"

apple-store-union-square-sf-1950-008.jpg
6 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Angela Ahrendts

Ahrendts served as CEO of fashion brand Burberry before joining Apple. Here, she states the case for a wall of colorful iPhone cases.

apple-store-union-square-sf-1961-009.jpg
7 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Plaza

The back plaza of Apple's new store will be open to the public 24-7 and will have free Wi-Fi. Any bets on how long it will take for someone to actually move into the park?

apple-store-union-square-sf-1964-010.jpg
8 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Attention to detail

Wood grain is among the, um, granular details at Apple's flashy new retail outlet.

apple-store-union-square-sf-1969-011.jpg
9 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Grand staircase

Stairway to iHeaven.

apple-store-union-square-sf-1993-012.jpg
10 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Genius Grove

Goodbye, Genius Bar. Hello, Genius Grove. Apple created a new area for tech support in what Ahrendts called "the most beautiful place in the store."

apple-store-union-square-sf-2042-018.jpg
11 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Genius Grove

"You know how iconic the Genius Bar is all around the world. But the word 'bar' denotes noisy, loud, chaotic," Ahrendts said. That's why the tech support area got a redesign.

apple-store-union-square-sf-2058-019.jpg
12 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Genius Grove

Yes, those are real trees.

apple-store-union-square-sf-1999-013.jpg
13 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Beats, Bose, and other headphones

Apple showcases third-party accessories in its stores, including many you can't buy anywhere else.

apple-store-union-square-sf-2011-014.jpg
14 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Glass and steel

New meets old with a view of one of San Francisco's many classically styled buildings.

apple-store-union-square-sf-2021-016.jpg
15 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Glass staircase

An entrance to SF's famous Union Square can be seen just outside the door and across the street.

apple-store-union-square-sf-2026-017.jpg
16 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

The forum and the Genius Grove

City on the left, country on the right. Take your pick.

apple-store-union-square-sf-2303-035.jpg
17 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Apple Store Union Square

iPalms in Union Square.

apple-store-union-square-sf-2065-020.jpg
18 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Apple Store Union Square

No word yet on whether Jony Ive instructed that woman to stand there so her bag would create a composition with the sign in the distance. It's possible.

apple-store-union-square-sf-1878-001.jpg
19 of 33 Josh Miller

The avenue

The first floor of the new Apple Store is what the company calls the "avenue." It's supposed to feel like a small-town square with individual shops. Instead of a bakery, you'll have an Apple Watch section.

apple-store-union-square-sf-2081-022.jpg
20 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Strolling the avenue

Browsers table-hop.

apple-store-union-square-sf-2107-023.jpg
21 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Apple bonding

An Apple Store employee chats with Ahrendts during her visit to the store Thursday. A Phantom 4 drone looks on.

apple-store-union-square-sf-2131-024.jpg
22 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Apple Store Union Square

Happy Applers.

apple-store-union-square-sf-2166-025.jpg
23 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Bright lights

The ceilings in the new Apple Store feature hundreds of thousands of LEDs covered by cloth to give the room a bright glow.

apple-store-union-square-sf-2168-026.jpg
24 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Apple Store Union Square

Apple Watches in the foreground, Apple watch cap in the back.

apple-store-union-square-sf-1802-001.jpg
25 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Apple Store Union Square

Apple hopes levitating gadgets will inspire rising sales.

apple-store-union-square-sf-2183-028.jpg
26 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Apple Store Union Square

It doesn't take a genius to tell you where to find the laptops.

apple-store-union-square-sf-2208-029.jpg
27 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Apple Store Union Square

An Apple employee cases the joint.

apple-store-union-square-sf-2225-030.jpg
28 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Apple Store Union Square

Clever cabinetry.

apple-store-union-square-sf-2268-031.jpg
29 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Apple Store Union Square

A table of tablets.

apple-store-union-square-sf-2280-032.jpg
30 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Apple Store Union Square

CNET photog Josh Miller channels Alexander Rodchenko (or maybe László Moholy-Nagy). Not bad, Josh!

apple-store-union-square-sf-2290-033.jpg
31 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Apple Store Union Square

This staffer's outfit simply kilt 'em. (Sorry, we just couldn't skirt that one.)

apple-store-union-square-sf-2294-034.jpg
32 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Apple Store Union Square

A glowing wall of gizmos.

apple-store-union-square-sf-1802-001.jpg
33 of 33 Josh Miller/CNET

Big box

Apple's store in San Francisco's Union Square opens to the public May 21.

More Galleries

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera
A houseplant

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera

20 Photos
Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra
magic-v2-2024-foldable-1383

Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

10 Photos
The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum
Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum

23 Photos
Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design
The Galaxy S24 Ultra in multiple colors

Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design

23 Photos
I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites
img-0368.jpg

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

34 Photos
17 Hidden iOS 17 Features You Should Definitely Know About
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features You Should Definitely Know About

18 Photos
AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?
img-1599-2.jpg

AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

17 Photos