Apple Inc. is changing the Apple Store experience, and the firm’s Chief Design Officer Jony Ive appears to be hard at work on the project. The firm filed for permission to build a new Apple Store in Memphis, Tennessee this week, revealing the new language Apple will use to sell its products.
The design appears to ape the style of the Apple flagship store in Manhattan. It will involve the use of natural light and materials, and push the stainless steel clarity of the current design into the background. The design calls for the use of huge glass panels at the front of the store and large natural oak tables inside to support the firm’s products.
Apple expands redesign
After Ive was promoted to the role earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook described his role with the following: “Jony’s design responsibilities have expanded from hardware and, more recently, software UI to the look and feel of Apple retail stores, our new campus in Cupertino, product packaging and many other parts of our company.”
Apple has been changing the way it displays products in its stores in recent weeks too. The firm has taken the iPod out of the displays, in order to put them in as accessories, and taken the iPad smart displays away in order to make room for demo apps right on devices.
It’s not clear if the new store re-design will be rolled out to all stores, or if Apple will keep building stores using the old language and the new. The firm is in the midst of a massive store rollout in China, but none of the new stores are using the same features described in the Memphis document.
Looking for growth at Apple
The Apple store design may have gotten stale and needed a change in order to get across the firm’s updated project vision, but don’t expect the major change in the look and feel of the stores to spur sales. Though Ive’s efforts will likely help, the firm still has a hard time ahead.
Abhey Lamba, an analyst at Mizuho Securities, expressed that clearly on CNBC’s Squawk Alley on Tuesday. Lamba noted that “significant headwinds” “could make it very tough for the stock to work.”
There is “nothing revolutionary” in the firm’s iPhone launch on September 9 says Lamba, leaving the firm with a “very real possibility” of lower year on year sales in the twelve months after the launch of the iPhone 6S next week.
Apple is a hardware firm and though the sales pitch is part and parcel of the firm’s success, it’s the hardware that does the real work. If the next iPhone release doesn’t excite the world, and China is in the midst of a slow down despite protest from Tim Cook, the firm may be in trouble.
Lower sales may be a reality from here on out. Angela Ahrendts and Jony Ive will have to press forward with their concept of what an Apple Store should look like despite those numbers. Their work may be key to the success of the firm’s products going ahead.