Apple stages pre-launch of Dubai store
Cupertino hosts press preamble as it prepares to open first Middle East retail outlets
As it gears up for a 4pm dual store-launch in the UAE on Thursday, Apple today gave select media a sneak peek at its Mall of the Emirates outlet.
Press entered the store to thunderous applause from the attendant Apple Geniuses and were treated to a preview of one of the Middle East's first two brick-and-mortar Apple Stores. All of Apple's products, from its fast-selling iPhone 6 range, to its Beat headphones, were on display. With the exception of the iPad Pro and next-gen Apple TV, all of Apple's September-launch products were also available: iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPad mini 4 and the Watch.
"We've been doing business in this region for over 30 years and our products are hugely popular, so we are so excited to bring the Apple retail experience to the UAE," said Wendy Beckman, Apple's senior market director for Europe and the Middle East. "We'll be opening two stores, one in Abu Dhabi, in Yas Mall, and one in Dubai, in Mall of the Emirates. The community of the UAE is incredible; it's creative, it's innovative and it's just [filled with] thriving enterprises."
Entrance to the Mall of the Emirates store is through a series of pivoting, floor-to-ceiling doors that were co-designed by Apple and Foster & Partners, the same design company responsible for Apple's new Cupertino campus. The central feature of the store is a crop of trees with circular seating around their bases. It is under this "soothing canopy", Beckman said, where Apple Geniuses will conduct product demos with customers.
Both UAE stores will offer the chain's standard services, including personal setup, free workshops, support and repair - all delivered by Apple's resident Genius team. In the Middle East stores, Apple will also be providing ladies-only workshops.
The dual launch is milestone for Apple.
"The last time we opened two stores in the same day [as part of a country launch], was actually stores one and two," Beckman said, "so this pretty exciting for us."
When Apple's Dubai and Abu Dhabi stores go live, the company will have 466 stores in 17 countries. Between Yas Mall and Mall of the Emirates, the Cupertino firm will employ more than 150 staff of 30 distinct nationalities, speaking 40 different languages.