Dubai: Apple opened its new UAE stores in Dubai and Abu Dhabi on Tuesday to local journalists, two days before the official launch. Both stores will opened to the public on Thursday.
The Dubai store opened its rotating, 16-foot-tall glass doors to journalists at 11am (who in a rare display of excitement all showed up on time for once).
“It was important to us that we open in Dubai and Abu Dhabi on the same day. They’re both incredible cities, each for their own reasons, and we expect both will be very popular with residents and tourists alike,” Wendy Beckman, Apple’s retail division head for Europe and Middle East, told the media.
“This is also only the second time we have opened two stores in a new country on the same day. The first was stores one and two in the US,” she said. The first Apple stores were opened in the US on May 19, 2001.
“We have been doing business in this region for more than 30 years and our products are hugely popular,” Beckman said.
She said that the UAE community was “creative and innovative”.
Apple now has 466 stores across 17 countries, including the two UAE stores at set to open at the Mall of the Emirates and Yas Mall.
Journalists also a had sneak preview in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, where Apple showcased its latest products including the iWatch, iPhone 6S, and iPhone 6S plus.
The store’s design resembles that of stores in the US, with large glass displays, oak tables and minimalist interiors.
Both the stores will offer the signature services that Apple offers worldwide, including free daily workshops, special events and year-round programmes for kids.
”In the coming weeks we have a programme of events in Mall of the Emirates, which involve musicians, app developers, filmmakers and entrepreneurs,” Beckman said.
Some of the employees at the stores were trained in Europe or Cupertino. “We worked really hard to pick the team of 150 employees for both the stores. They speak 40 different languages and are from different nationalities,” Beckman said.
The store has more than 150 products ranging from Macintosh computers, Beats headphones, iPads, Apple Watches, iPhones, Apple TVs and select third-party accessories.
Green is the colour of choice at the Dubai Apple Store, which has trees that were brought in from the Netherlands and a ‘green wall’ made of small plants. It has plenty of leather seating spaces around the trees and relies on natural lighting. It also includes a giant video wall next to a relaxing area with tables and trees.
The doors and some of the components were designed by Foster + Partners, a London-based architecture firm well known for its glass and steel construction, such as the London City Hall. The company also designed Apple’s new campus in Cupertino, California.
With the opening, rumours that Dubai would host the world’s largest Apple store have been laid to rest.
Apple refused comment on the size, but estimates done by Gulf News staff put the size to around 10,000 square feet.
According to reports, the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London — at 40,000 square feet — is currently Apple’s largest retail location, spread over three floors.