Apple Announces Shinjuku Store Opening in Tokyo on April 7, Natick Mall Store Closing for Renovations April 22

Apple updated its website recently with the announcement of a new retail location's grand opening in Tokyo, Japan, along with renovation news for its store in Natick, Massachusetts.

In Japan, Apple will open its new Apple Shinjuku location on April 7, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. local time. The store will be located in the Shinjuku Marui main building -- a department store in Tokyo -- and mark the eighth location for Apple in Japan. Apple previously launched one of its high-end Apple Watch shops at the Isetan Department Store in Shinjuku, allowing customers to browse the original $10,000+ Apple Watch Edition and other models.

In the United States, the company announced that it will close Apple Natick Collection for renovations starting Sunday, April 22. The store is located in Massachusetts' Natick Mall, which is the largest shopping mall in New England by number of tenants, reaching 250 as of 2018. Apple notes on its page for the store that customers can visit to find the next store closest to them while the Natick mall location is closed.

More of the latest Apple Store openings in 2018 include Apple Kärntner Straße in Austria and Apple Garosugil in South Korea. In terms of the overall tally of Apple retail locations around the world, Apple Garosugil was the company's 500th store opening on January 27, 2018, following seventeen years after Apple's first two stores opened in May 2001.

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Apple to Open New Retail Store in Vienna, Austria on February 24

Apple will open a retail store in the Austrian capital of Vienna on Saturday, February 24 according to a new webpage for the store published recently on Apple's site.

The new three-story Vienna Apple Store is located on Kärntner Straße, a famous shopping street in central Vienna, and for the last several months, Apple has been renovating the location.

Kärntner Straße is near Stephansplatz, a square located at the center of Vienna that's home to the Stephansdom cathedral, which is known as one of the tallest churches in the world. The street is home to dozens of well-known retailers, like H&M, Forever 21, Zara, and more.

Apple's building is located on a corner and has been outfitted with modern-looking glass panels that replace the former metalwork that was in place. The Vienna location will adopt the new store layout that's been rolling out around the world, with dedicated areas that include the Genius Grove, The Forum, and The Avenue, aka various parts of the store dedicated to support, classes, and shopping.

Rumors of a new Apple Store in Vienna first began circulating in August of 2016, when it was reported that Apple was close to inking a deal for a flagship retail property that was formerly occupied by fashion company Esprit. Apple began posting job listings for the store a year ago in February of 2017.

Ahead of the store's opening on February 24 at 9:30 a.m. local time, Apple will allow customers to make Genius Bar appointments and sign up for Today at Apple classes.

(Thanks, Michael!)

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Apple Shares New Photos of First Store in South Korea, Opening January 27

Apple's first store in South Korea is set to open on Saturday, January 27, and ahead of the store's official launch date, Apple has shared photos showing off the new location.

Apple Garosugil is located in the upscale Garosugil shopping area in the heart of the well-known Gangnam District in Seoul. The store, which is south of the Han River, features a 25-foot glass facade with in-store trees that are designed to blur the lines between the store itself and the tree-lined street where it's located.

"We're thrilled to open a new home for our customers in the vibrant city of Seoul and we look forward to continuing to grow in Korea," said Angela Ahrendts, Apple's senior vice president of Retail. "Our stores are gathering places for the community where everyone is welcome to connect, learn and create."
Like all Apple Stores, Apple Garosugil will offer dozens of free daily workshops to tech participants photography, music, art, design, coding, and more. Each session is led by a Creative Pro and hosted in "the Forum," an area of the Apple Store with a dynamic 6K video wall, which is a layout offered in many of the company's retail stores around the world.

Apple says the store will include its full line of products along with a curated collection of accessories located in the "Avenues," aka dedicated display areas where customers can interact with products.

Garosugil is likely to be Apple's 500th retail store, so long as no additional stores open between now and Saturday. Apple currently has 499 retail stores around the world, not counting Apple Watch boutiques and factoring in the September closure of the Simi Valley store.

Apple first announced plans to open its first store in South Korea a year ago, and the location has been under development since then. Apple Garosugil will open up at 10:00 a.m. local time, and Apple is already accepting Genius Bar appointments and Today at Apple signups.

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Apple Store in Nashville Closing in Early February During Renovations

Apple recently announced that its Green Hills retail store in Nashville, Tennessee will be temporarily closed for renovations beginning February 11.

Apple Store at The Mall at Green Hills in 2008

Apple Green Hills will likely remain closed until late 2018, so customers will have to venture a bit further south to Apple's nearby store at the CoolSprings Galleria shopping mall in Franklin, Tennessee until further notice.

For the past few years, Apple has been renovating dozens of its older stores with newer designs. In addition, many of the locations have expanded by adding a floor or taking over adjacent storefronts, while some have relocated entirely.

Last week, Apple announced that its first store in South Korea opens on January 27, just a few weeks prior to the 2018 Winter Olympics in the country. By our count, the location should be Apple's 500th store around the world.

Via: 9to5Mac

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Apple’s 500th Store and First in Korea Opening January 27 Ahead of 2018 Winter Olympics

Apple today announced that its first retail store in South Korea opens on Saturday, January 27, at 10:00 a.m. local time, just a few weeks prior to the 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Pyeongchang on Friday, February 9.

The store is located in the upscale Garosu-gil shopping area in the Gangnam District of Seoul, the capital of South Korea. The location will be open seven days per week and, like other Apple retail stores, it will host Today at Apple sessions and have a Genius Bar for device repairs and troubleshooting.

By the looks of it, this should be Apple's 500th retail store around the world. That total includes the Apple Park Visitor Center and Infinite Loop locations, which both sell Apple products alongside promotional merchandise, and it also factors in the rare permanent closure of Apple's Simi Valley store last year.

It's possible that Apple could announce at least one other new store opening between now and late January, such as its nearly ready Vienna, Austria location, in which case the Korean store would obviously not be exactly 500th. We've reached out to Apple for an official store count and we'll update if we hear back.

Apple is promoting its Garosu-gil store with a colorful, animated greeting in both English and Korean on its website, with a matching mural along the storefront that now reveals the January 27 opening date to those passing by.

Apple confirmed plans to open its first store in South Korea just over a year ago, and both construction and hiring have been underway since. The store was originally reported to open December 30, but the location evidently wasn't quite ready in time, and it'll now officially open in less than two weeks.

Apple's first two stores opened in May 2001 at shopping malls in Tysons Corner, Virginia and Glendale, California. By our count, Apple now has 271 retail stores in the United States, while this Garosu-gil location will be its 229th retail store elsewhere, pushing it to the 500 mark in less than 17 years.

Apple remains in the process of renovating dozens of those stores with a fresher aesthetic. Many of the locations have expanded by adding a floor or taking over adjacent storefronts, while some stores have relocated entirely.

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Apple Store in Zurich Evacuated Following Incident With Overheated iPhone Battery

The Apple retail store located on Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich, Switzerland was evacuated on Tuesday following a situation with an overheated iPhone battery and its injury of a repair worker (via Reuters and Zurich police said that the incident happened as the worker was removing the battery from the iPhone, subsequently overheating and "slightly" burning his hand.

It wasn't confirmed which iPhone was the source of the incident, but afterwards smoke began building up within the store, leading to the temporary evacuation of around 50 customers and employees from the premises. In addition to the repair worker, seven other people required medical attention but none were hospitalized.

The police mentioned that Apple staff responded quickly to the overheated battery by sprinkling quartz sand over it and containing the smoke as fast as possible.
“At the same time, there was a slight build-up of smoke, which led to around 50 customers and employees having to leave the business temporarily,” a police statement said.

“The staff responded well and correctly. It sprinkled quartz sand over the overheated battery so that the smoke could be contained and sucked out after switching on the ventilation.”
According to the police statement, forensic specialists are now examining what caused the incident in the first place, so no explanation was given at the time of writing. Apple has yet to comment on the situation.

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Flagship Apple Store Possibly Still Planned at Yonge-Bloor in Toronto

Canada's most populous city may eventually be home to a flagship Apple retail store at one of its busiest intersections.

A render of what The One will look like upon completion

MacRumors has learned that Apple has been labeled in a planning document for The One, a massive 82-floor condominium under construction at the corner of Yonge Street and Bloor Street in Toronto. The architecture firm behind the project, Foster + Partners, has partnered with Apple on numerous occasions.

The One's architectural plan

The plans outline a proposed triple-height, 19,000-square-foot retail store with space for a riser to the ceiling, suggesting the store could have a cantilevered balcony like Apple's flagship Union Square location in San Francisco. The store's large glass entrance would open up to the sidewalk facing Yonge Street.

Apple Union Square in San Francisco

While the blueprints were submitted to the City of Toronto in March 2016, eagle-eyed MacRumors reader and Toronto resident Pedro Marques noticed the document has been updated, and it appears Apple was labeled at a later date.

Apple has yet to announce any plans to open a flagship store in Toronto, but rumors about the company setting up shop at Yonge and Bloor date back to at least 2012. The planning document is the first concrete evidence we've seen beyond subtle hints from builder Mizrahi Developments.

Apple would be one of several retailers at the base of the condominium, and the store could also have an entrance in Toronto's PATH, a series of underground hallways that connect downtown offices, stores, and subway stations.

Despite being mentioned in the planning document, there is no guarantee that Apple has finalized a lease to occupy The One. A few years ago, an anonymous tipster informed MacRumors that Apple was considering pulling out of the project given delays, pushback from some local residents, and other issues.

Toronto has four existing Apple retail stores at Eaton Centre, Fairview Mall, Sherway Gardens, and Yorkdale, but all of them are within shopping malls, and only one is located in the downtown core.

A large, street-facing Apple store has been long desired in Toronto, and within a few years, it may finally be a reality.

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Apple Holding Discussions With Saudi Arabian Government to Open Retail Store in 2019

Apple could debut its first retail location within Saudi Arabia as soon as 2019, thanks to the government's current push towards a "high-tech look" for the country. Reuters reports today that officials in Saudi Arabia's capital of Riyadh -- including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman -- are currently in licensing discussions with both Apple and Amazon in an effort to entice major technology companies into the country.

Apple is rumored to be talking with SAGIA, Saudi Arabia's foreign investment authority, and a licensing agreement for Apple's retail stores with the authority is expected to come by February 2018. The first location would then be targeted for an opening in 2019.

Image of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia via Wikimedia Commons
Apple and Amazon are in licensing discussions with Riyadh on investing in Saudi Arabia, two sources told Reuters, part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s push to give the conservative kingdom a high-tech look.

A licensing agreement for Apple stores with SAGIA is expected by February, with an initial retail store targeted for 2019, said two sources familiar with the discussions.
Amazon's cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services, is said to be leading the company's discussions with Saudi Arabian officials. The talks are believed to be in "earlier stages" than Apple's, with no specific time frame given for Amazon's investment plans in the country.

The Saudi Arabian government's regulations previously placed heavy limits on foreign ownership of businesses, preventing companies like Apple and Amazon from coming to the country. In the past two years, however, falling crude oil prices "highlighted the need to diversify" the country's dependency on oil within its economy, leading to courting technology companies.

Evidence of this came in September, when Saudi Arabia lifted a ban on services that provide access to calling someone over the internet, including Apple's FaceTime. The ban was enacted in 2013 and began due to the government's fear of non-secure internet communication among its residents, but was lifted this year in the country's new efforts to "attract more business" to its economy.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

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Apple to Open New Flagship Store in Melbourne, Australia

Apple is planning to open a new flagship retail location in Melbourne, Australia, at Federation Square, a shopping center, public square, and mixed-use space located in the heart of the city.

The Federation Square website says the new location will be an "Apple Global Flagship Store" that will open up in 2020. It will be Apple's most significant store in the Southern Hemisphere, with workshops, classes, and live music events.

Apple's Melbourne store will create 500 square meters of new public space, connecting Federation Square with the Yarra River and Birrarung Marr. Apple will construct a new building to replace an existing Yarra building, and based on renderings shared by Federation Square, the store will have multiple levels with glass walls and a viewing deck that overlooks the Yarra River.

Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts told The Australian that the store will feature a "bespoke design concept" and "extensive landscaping."
"Apple Federation Square respects the original vision for the plaza, with a bespoke design concept and extensive landscaping bringing increased opportunities for the community to enjoy this renowned cultural hub."

"We're thrilled to move forward in the planning process for our new home in Melbourne's Federation Square and would be honoured to call the world-class galleries and museums of Melbourne our neighbours," Ms Ahrendts said.
Construction on the new store, which will "enhance Federation Square's world renowned architecture," will start in mid-2019.

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Apple to Open First Store in South Korea on December 30

Apple's first official retail store in South Korea is set to open just before the end of the year on Saturday, December 30, reports Korean site ETNews [Google Translate].

Much of the work on the upcoming store in Seoul's Gangnam district was finished in November, and the construction company that renovated it says that Apple's plan is to open it up on December 30. Barring any special problems at the last stage of construction, the store is likely to open up on that date at 10:00 a.m. local time. Hiring and training for the store has also been completed.

Image via ETNews

Apple retail store chief Angela Ahrendts is rumored to be planning to attend the opening of the first Korean Apple Store, which ETNews says features the same modern design that's been introduced in many Apple Stores around the world over the course of the last couple of years.

Specifically, the site says there's a wide glass front and 18 product tables showing off iPhones, Apple Watches, iPads, and MacBooks. This is a two-floor store, and other areas like the "Today at Apple" meeting place and the Genius Grove may be located upstairs.

The store is located in the upscale Garosugil shopping district in Gangnam, which houses ritzy restaurants, cafes, and high-end stores.

Apple has recently opened several new locations in Asia, including Taiwan and Singapore. This particular store in South Korea could be Apple's 500th store, so long as no additional Apple Stores open before December 30.

Apple currently has 499 Apple retail stores around the world, not counting Apple Watch boutiques and taking into account the recent closure of the Simi Valley Apple Store. Apple's new Visitor's Center at Apple Park was the 498th store, while the 499th is the new store located in Downtown Brooklyn, which opened in late November.

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