Jony Ive Says Apple’s New Flagship Chicago Store is About ‘Reviving Important Urban Connections’

Apple today previewed its new Michigan Avenue store along the Chicago River ahead of its grand opening on Friday.


Apple shared new pictures that provide a look at the store's 32-foot glass facades and 111-by-98 foot carbon-fiber roof. Two staircases lead to the store's lower level, featuring indoor trees and a seating area for Today at Apple sessions.

The flagship store is designed to create a new connection between North Michigan Avenue, Pioneer Court, and the Chicago River.

"Apple Michigan Avenue is about removing boundaries between inside and outside, reviving important urban connections within the city," said Jony Ive, Apple's chief design officer. "It unites a historic city plaza that had been cut off from the water, giving Chicago a dynamic new arena that flows effortlessly down to the river."


The store was designed by Apple's longtime architectural partner Foster + Partners, and pays homage to architect Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie Style homes in Chicago. Based on plans from 2015, the building spans 20,000 square feet and replaces a vacant food court. The store took over one year to construct.

A lengthy staircase leads from street level to a walkway in front of the store. The building will also be accessible via elevator.


On Monday, the store will also launch "The Chicago Series," a set of five programs, each with a different area of focus at the intersection of technology and liberal arts, hosted over the course of four weeks. Apple said each program is co-created with local non-profits and creative organizations.

Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts is in Chicago today and tweeted a picture of herself alongside some of the store's employees.
"Apple Michigan Avenue exemplifies our new vision where everyone is welcome to experience all of our incredible products, services and inspiring educational programs in the heart of their city," said Ahrendts.

Apple Michigan Avenue opens Friday, October 20 at 5:00 p.m. local time. The store is located in Pioneer Court at 401 North Michigan Avenue, next to the Michigan Avenue Bridge in Downtown Chicago.

Apple said its original North Michigan Avenue store, which was its first flagship location, welcomed more than 23 million visitors since opening in 2003. The store, just down the street from the new one, permanently closed today.

Apple has nearly 500 retail stores around the world that collectively welcome over 500 million visitors per year.

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Apple Store Remains Most Popular Destination to Purchase a Mac in the United States

Apple Stores continue to be the most popular destination to purchase a new Mac in the United States, according to a recent survey conducted by research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.


Apple's retail locations and online store accounted for roughly 40 percent of Mac sales between October 2016 and September 2017, based on 2,000 survey respondents who purchased a Mac during that period.

When the first Apple Stores opened in 2001, Apple was still known as Apple Computer, and the Mac was its primary product. Nowadays, of course, there is the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and beyond.

"Since Apple designed its stores originally to promote Mac computers, it is not surprising that that they continue to account for roughly 40 percent of Mac sales," said Josh Lowitz, co-founder of Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

While it's generally unsurprising that Apple is the most popular Mac retailer, given it creates the computers, it is still notable given there are often better deals available from third-party resellers like B&H and MacMall.

By comparison, the survey found only around 20 percent of iPads and 10 percent of iPhones were sold directly by Apple.


"Best Buy actually sells more iPads than Apple," added Lowitz. "And, carrier stores have become a significant retailer of tablets."

In terms of the iPhone, Apple had the lowest share of iPhone sales in the 12 months ending September 2017. Roughly 77 percent of customers made their purchase through a carrier like Verizon or AT&T, according to CIRP.

The research firm said sales can fluctuate based on the timing of product launches and during the back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons.

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Apple Announces All-New Store Opening at Century City in Los Angeles Later This Year

Apple has announced it will be opening an all-new retail store at Westfield Century City in Los Angeles, California later this year.

Apple's new retail design includes sequoia wood tables and shelves

"We've got something special in store for you," says Apple. "Introducing the all-new Century City. Join us this fall."

Apple's plans to open a more spacious store at Century City were first revealed by MacRumors last month, as part of the company's ongoing efforts to modernize its chain of nearly 500 retail stores around the world.

Apple's upcoming Century City store via MacRumors reader Pete Nichols

Apple will be in a prime location at the center of the shopping mall, which is undergoing a $1 billion expansion and modernization. The new store will be opposite an upcoming Rolex watch store, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Apple's current store at Century City opened in June 2005 and has significantly less square footage. The larger store will provide the space needed to accommodate more products, increased customer traffic, and Today at Apple sessions.

Apple's current store at Westfield Century City

The new store should also be based on Apple's latest retail design, including large glass doors, sequoia wood tables and shelves, a large video screen for Today at Apple sessions, and light boxes spanning the length of the ceiling.

All new Apple retail stores opened since September 2015 have been based on the updated design, including Apple's flagship Union Square location in San Francisco. Apple has also renovated over 40 existing stores with the newer look.

Apple has yet to provide a more specific date for the store's grand opening, but it appears it will be at least a few weeks from now, based on the lack of intermediate Today at Apple sessions on the store's calendar through at least October 17.

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Where Ideas Sing: Apple Celebrates Upcoming Chicago Riverfront Store With Two Local Artists

Apple has shared a new page for its upcoming Michigan Avenue store along the Chicago River, set to open Friday, October 20.

Apple Michigan Avenue via MacRumors reader Brad Fosler

Apple starts out with a tribute to the city:
Chicago's creative roots run deep. It's where house music and rock and roll first took the stage. Where world-famous architecture lives. And where contemporary art thrives. Along the Chicago riverfront where the city was founded, we're opening Apple Michigan Avenue. A space for the next generation of creative pioneers to come together, connect, and share their talent.
Apple has partnered with Chicago rapper Saba to create a campaign centered around his new single "Where Ideas Sing" released last week.

"Where Ideas Sing" construction barrier via MacRumors reader Brad Fosler

The so-called "city anthem" was brought to life by public artist Matthew Hoffman, who created a large "Where Ideas Sing" wrapping with lyrics adorning the glass windows of the upcoming store. There's also a message to pedestrians:
On this historic site where the city was first founded, we celebrate the opening of the all-new Apple Michigan Avenue. These lyrics are from "Where Ideas Sing," an anthem written by hip-hop artist Saba and brought to life by public artist Matthew Hoffman. The spirit of this collaboration, like the store itself, was inspired by the vibrant energy of this great city. And here, we’re setting a new stage for creativity in Chicago, right where it started.
The store will be located at 401 North Michigan Avenue next to the Michigan Avenue Bridge in Downtown Chicago.

Apple currently has a nearby store at 679 North Michigan Avenue that opened in 2003. Read more about the new store in our earlier coverage.

(Thanks, Storeteller!)

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Apple to Open Retail Store in Bangkok as Confirmed by Job Listings

Apple has posted a series of job listings for a future retail store in Bangkok, Thailand, as spotted by local publication The Nation.

Apple retail store in Brussels, Belgium

The company is looking to fill the usual Creative, Expert, Genius, Manager, Store Leader, and Business Leader positions, among others, and applications for the two-year Apple Store Leader Program are also open.

The location will be Apple's first retail store in Thailand, and its second in Southeast Asia, following its Singapore location that opened in May.

In July, the Bangkok Post reported that the store will open in 2018 at the Iconsiam, a future mixed-use development with two shopping malls in Bangkok. The flagship location is said to have over 20,000 square feet of space.

Apple continues to hire for retail stores near Vienna and Seoul as well, which will be the first in Austria and South Korea respectively.

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Apple Opening New Store at Meadowhall in Sheffield on iPhone 8 Launch Day

Apple today announced that its retail store at Meadowhall in Sheffield, United Kingdom reopens Friday, September 22 at 9:00 a.m. local time.

Apple's original Meadowhall store opened in December 2005

The store has been closed for renovations since November 2016, and when it reopens later this week, it will be nearly twice as large with an updated design, likely including large glass doors, sequoia wood tables and shelves, a large video screen for Today at Apple sessions, and light boxes spanning the ceiling.

The grand reopening will coincide with iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus launch day. Friday is the first day the new smartphones can be purchased in stores.

Thursday will likely be the last business day for Apple's temporary store at Meadowhall that has been open during the renovation process.

Apple has been a retailer at Meadowhall since December 2005.

(Thanks, Phillip!)

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Apple to Open Spacious New Store at Century City in Los Angeles as Part of Mall’s $1 Billion Modernization

Apple is constructing a spacious new retail store at Westfield Century City in Los Angeles, California, as part of the shopping mall's $1 billion expansion and modernization plans, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Apple's upcoming retail store at Westfield Century City

Apple will be in a prime location at the center of the mall, described as the crossroads of the project. The new store will be next to indoor bike company Peloton, and opposite an upcoming Rolex watch store, the person said.

It's unclear when the new store will open, but Westfield expects to complete the final phase of the mall's renovation plans by the end of the year. Given that timeline, Apple's grand opening should be no later than in the spring.

Apple's current store at Century City opened in June 2005 and has significantly less square footage. The larger store will provide the space needed to accommodate more products, increased customer traffic, and Today at Apple sessions.

Apple's current store at Westfield Century City

The new store will also be based on Apple's latest retail design, including large glass doors, sequoia wood tables and shelves, a large video screen for Today at Apple sessions, and light boxes spanning the length of the ceiling.

All new Apple retail stores opened since September 2015 have been based on the updated design, including Apple's flagship Union Square location in San Francisco. Apple has also renovated over 40 existing stores with the newer look.


Westfield Century City's makeover also includes the West Coast's first Eataly, new public areas and landscaped open-air plazas, double its parking capacity, a new 156,000 square foot Macy's, and dozens of other new shops and restaurants.

(Thanks, Peter Nichols!)

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Apple’s Beautiful Chicago River Store Opens October 20

Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts this week announced that the iPhone maker's upcoming store along the Chicago River opens Friday, October 20.

Apple's new Chicago River store via MacRumors reader David Sexton

The two-floor store will be located on North Michigan Avenue, near the historic Michigan Bridge, along the river's north bank. The flagship location will feature glass walls and a carbon fiber roof, which at one point had a white Apple logo on it, making it look like a giant MacBook Air when viewed from above.

Apple has removed its logo from the roof as of late August, and it's unclear if it will be added back at some point.

The store was designed by Apple's longtime architectural partner Foster + Partners, and pays homage to architect Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie Style homes in Chicago. Based on plans from 2015, the building spans 20,000 square feet and replaces a vacant food court. Construction has been ongoing for over a year.


A lengthy staircase leads from street level to a walkway in front of the store. The building will also be accessible via elevator.

Ahrendts, speaking at Apple's first-ever event at the Steve Jobs Theater on Tuesday, also said Apple's iconic Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan will reopen late next year. She said the glass cube at street level will eventually be reinstalled, and the lower level will be greatly expanded with a new design.

Ahrendts said Apple's retail stores collectively welcome over 500 million visitors per year. Apple has 497 stores around the world.

Apple's nearby store at 679 North Michigan Avenue opened in July 2003.

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Apple Store at Northbrook Court in Chicago Area Moving This Weekend

Apple today announced its Northbrook Court store in Northbrook, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, is moving to a new location within the shopping mall this weekend. The grand opening is set for Saturday, September 9 at 10:00 a.m. local time.

Apple's original store at Northbrook Court

The new store will be located across the hall on the lower level, between H&M and Banana Republic, according to property management GGP.

The current store, between Sephora and Finish Line, originally opened in July 2005. Friday will likely be its final day of business in that location.

The new store should be around 10,000 square feet, which is nearly double the size of the current store, according to Northbrook Court's leasing plan.

The new store will also be based on Apple's latest retail design, which typically includes wide, open spaces with some combination of large glass doors, sequoia wood tables and shelves, large video screens for Today at Apple sessions, and light boxes spanning the length of the ceiling. 

All new Apple Stores opened since September 2015 have been based on the new design language, including flagship-tier locations such as Apple Union Square in San Francisco and Apple World Trade Center in New York City. Apple has renovated over 40 existing stores to reflect the newer aesthetic.

(Thanks, Storeteller!)

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Apple Store in Simi Valley Permanently Closing Later This Month, Possibly Due to Lower Sales

Apple has announced that its retail store at the Simi Valley Town Center in Simi Valley, California, located approximately 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles, will permanently close later this month.

Apple Store at Simi Valley Town Center

Friday, September 15 is the last day the store will be open. Apple provided thanks for "over 10 great years" and advised customers to visit its retail store list to find a nearby location. Apple Simi Valley originally opened in May 2006.

Apple hasn't publicly commented on the reason for the store's closure, but multiple tipsters have informed MacRumors that the location may have suffered from low sales and customer traffic — a rarity for an Apple Store.

At a minimum, the closure doesn't appear to be related to Apple's ongoing store renovation process across the United States.

There were high hopes for Simi Valley Town Center when it opened in 2005, but the outdoor shopping mall hasn't been as bustling as envisioned. The less-than-expected customer traffic may be partially due to an expansion of The Oaks Shopping Center in nearby Thousand Oaks, California in 2008.

Apple itself has a retail store at The Oaks that opened in October 2005, and several other locations in the greater Los Angeles area.

Over the years, Simi Valley Town Center has lost dozens of retailers, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, Coach, American Eagle, Cache, Forever 21, and PacSun, according to the Simi Valley Acorn. Macy's also merged its standalone menswear store into its main location at the shopping center earlier this year.

A tipster informed us that Simi Valley Town Center may eventually be repurposed as an outlet mall, which could explain Apple's departure.

MacRumors has yet to learn whether the store's employees will be laid off or offered the opportunity to transfer to another location.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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