Apple's new retail outlet on Abu Dhabi’s Al Maryah Island will open at 5pm on Friday, further expanding the iPhone-maker's presence in the country and adding to its long line of uniquely designed stores.
The Apple store at The Galleria Mall — the Cupertino-based company's fourth in the UAE and 517th worldwide — features a water-themed design and has entrances directly from the waterfront offering views of Abu Dhabi's city centre.
It is manned by more than 80 staff who represent 28 nationalities and collectively speak over 30 languages. Ficus trees dot the shop floor, similar to the company's branches at Abu Dhabi's Yas Mall and Dubai's Mall of the Emirates.
Flowing water alongside the entrances' steps, from both the waterfront and the mall, are a first. They pay homage to the culture and history of the UAE capital, which is also the basis for new unique themes for the ‘Today at Apple’ programmes on photo, music and art.
Apple had initially erected a barricade featuring pearl divers in line with the theme.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to open the stunning Apple Al Maryah Island. Our talented team is ready to welcome and delight customers from this vibrant community to our newest location in the Emirates,” said Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and people.
Apple's previous stores have paid tribute to the local communities they are in and have become part of the company's image and culture.
Aside from being retail outlets, Apple has expanded their purpose — the most notable being venues for its free 'Today at Apple' learning programmes — and integrated the outlets with the culture and surroundings of their locations.
There are Apple stores in 25 countries, with the majority in the US at 272, followed by China with 51 stores including those in Hong Kong and Macau, according to its website.
Apple already has three stores in the UAE. The outlets at Yas Mall and Mall of the Emirates were opened simultaneously in 2015, followed by another at The Dubai Mall in 2017.
The Yas Mall store was recently relocated, doubled in size and reopened on February 3.
The stores also double as tourist destinations and even restoration projects.
Its other popular water-themed store is at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, which is designed as a “floating sphere”. It is the first Apple store to sit directly on water.
Its Via del Corso branch in central Rome is at a reinstated 19th-century palace. At its Dubai Mall store, a motorised Solar Wings balcony opens to give a view of the Dubai Fountain.
Apple Al Maryah Island introduces several design elements reflective of the store's surroundings, including the first use of absolute black granite stone at any Apple store that cuts through water.
It also features a golden carbon-fibre roof locally sourced in the UAE. A 22-metre (72-foot) foil ceiling creates a kaleidoscopic effect, with water falling down the walls and reflections seen above.
Apple is the world’s most valuable company in the world, with a market capitalisation of $2.61 trillion as of Thursday. The company will introduce its Tap to Pay feature for iPhones later this year, which will allow businesses to use mobile devices as terminals for contactless payments, chief executive Tim Cook said earlier this month.
The company is also expected to unveil a low-cost iPhone and an updated iPad in early March, according to a Bloomberg report earlier this month.
It would be Apple’s first major event since it introduced a new MacBook Pro in October and the first in 2022, setting the stage for a record year for product launches.