Apple doubles Yas Mall store space and livens it up with skylights and trees

The redesigned store features Apple's complete product line-up and is manned by 100 staff who collectively speak 33 languages

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Apple on Thursday opened its redesigned store at Abu Dhabi's Yas Mall, with the outlet now in a prime location and twice as big as it used to be.

The wood-and-glass-themed store offers the complete line-up of Apple products available in the UAE, as well the technology company's trade-in programme and technical support.

It is manned by 100 staff who collectively speak 33 languages and represent 32 nationalities.

The store now features trees – similar to its outlets in Dubai's Mall of the Emirates and The Grove in Los Angeles – and two skylights.

“We look forward to continuing to bring the best of Apple to the UAE and building on our history in the region,” said Deirdre O’Brien, Apple's senior vice president of retail and people.

From its first outlets that opened in the US states of Virginia and California in 2001, Apple today has a network of 516 outlets across 25 countries, according to the company's website.

Apple's stores have become an iconic part of the company's image and culture. From being mere retail outlets, Apple has expanded their purpose – with the most notable being venues for its free 'Today at Apple' learning programmes and spots for the community to gather – and integrated the outlets with the culture and surroundings of their locations.

For instance, the Dubai Mall store has what is called a Solar Wings balcony that is motorised and offers a view of the Dubai Fountain, while its Marina Bay Sands outlet in Singapore was designed as a "floating sphere", making it the first Apple Store to sit directly on water.

In Italy, Apple restored Rome’s Palazzo Marignoli, a 19th century palace, to set up its 17th outlet in the country.

Apple's new Yas Mall store – the size of which was not disclosed – welcomed a good-sized crowd.

"Looking forward to the new design, the lighting and the materials used ... it is astonishing," Mohamed Jawad, an engineer, told The National.

Mohamed Jawad, an engineer and Apple patron for more than 25 years, was the first customer at the redesigned Yas Mall store on Thursday. Victor Besa / The National

Mr Jawad, a self-described "big" Apple patron for more than 25 years, has attended all Apple Store openings in the UAE and was the first customer at the new Yas Mall outlet.

Apple, which has been operating in the Middle East for more than 10 years, has three stores in the UAE today.

The original Yas Mall outlet opened alongside Dubai's Mall of the Emirates branch in 2015 – making them the first Apple stores in the Middle East – while The Dubai Mall store followed in 2017. These outlets together have welcomed about 30 million visitors to date.

Cupertino-based Apple is the world's most valuable company, with a current market capitalisation of about $2.87 trillion as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

We look forward to continuing to bring the best of Apple to the UAE and building on our history in the region
Deirdre O’Brien, senior vice president of retail and people at Apple

The company is only one of three that have surpassed the $2tn mark, alongside Microsoft and Saudi Aramco. On January 3, Apple briefly topped the $3tn valuation, the first company to do so.

Last week, Apple posted record financials in its 2022 fiscal first quarter, with net profit rising more than 20 per cent to about $35 billion and revenue increasing 11.2 per cent from a year earlier.

Earlier this month, it announced that developers on its App Store have earned more than $260bn through the sale of digital goods and services on the platform since its launch in 2008.

Also last week, Apple started testing a feature on the first iOS 15.4 developer beta version that will allow its Face ID facial recognition system to work with masks and without an Apple Watch.

Updated: October 14, 2022, 7:56 AM