The Apple store in the Memphis suburb of Germantown has just reopened after getting a big makeover, part of the first wave of Apple stores with the new Jony Ive-approved look. BGR has visited the Memphis-area store, and one thing we can report: the new store, which also moved to another side of its outdoor shopping center as part of the remodel, is classic Apple.
That is to say, fans of the company will find plenty here to fawn over. Sort of a brick-and-mortar version of the fanboy response to every new iGadget release.
Meanwhile, anyone who’s become jaded with Apple’s creeping incrementalism, anyone who can’t be bothered with a pretty watch or bigger iPads or smaller iPhones — they likely won’t be impressed by new touches in the store like the 37-foot tall TV display that shows Apple product videos or the Jony Ive-designed wooden tables.
Don’t get us wrong, the store is beautiful — this is Apple, after all. There are new wooden shelves along opposite walls that carry accessories like watch bands and products like drones and speakers. There’s also no logo or Apple signage on the front.
When we made our way over to the table carrying the iPad pro line, none of the new 9.7-inch variant was on display yet. On one of the large iPad Pros, someone had written in the notes app, which was still open:
“Marco was here. This store is insane.”
An Apple representative told us this new store design has also started showing up overseas, in places like Dubai and Brussels. Initial details of the new design in the Memphis area became public last fall, when Apple applied for a building permit and submitted its plans to local officials for the renovation.
Apple representative Rick Millitello presented the design details to the Germantown design commission in late August and said the “next-generation” store would be one of the first in the U.S. to get the new look.
The stores’ facelift was also teased in this New Yorker profile of Ive from earlier in 2015.
We can see both sides of the divide among the Apple faithful. The company under Tim Cook isn’t so much the Cult of Cupertino anymore that it was under Steve Jobs. Niche products like expensive, gorgeous watches and new stores that look nicer but aren’t radically different from the old ones make clear this is now a kind of aspirational lifestyle company.
Disaffected Apple fans, meanwhile, are just as likely to see things like the new stores as one more piece of evidence in the “Apple is just iterating on the past” storyline.
Then again, isn’t that the way it’s always been with the company?
There’s the true believers, and then there’s everybody else.