… and this one’s in Puxi! Located on Huaihai Zhong Lu, it will officially open its doors to the public on Saturday, incidentally the same day the iPhone 4 launches in China. I think we’ve hit upon something here: Apple actually loves watching massive crowds form outside their doors.
The new one is slightly smaller than its Lujiazui sister, with 800 square meters spread out across two floors. Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail Ron Johnson was around again to expound on what makes this store unique. Apparently design buffs should take note: It’s the only Apple Store with a giant curved window front.
Otherwise, the design followed the same theme: maple wood colored tables, brushed aluminum walls and giant flourescent advertisements of Apple products. Oh yes, and the Huaihai Lu store has its own spiral staircase as well, leading from the first floor to the second.
The first floor contains twelve tables with 200 products, all touchable. Amongst them was the newly launched iPad and, along one wall, the soon-to-be-launched iPhone 4. According to Apple Product Manager Stan Ng, joining them “sometime next week – but we haven’t set the exact date yet” will be the newest iterations of the iPod Nano (now with multitouch!) and iPod Shuffle. Ng also let drop that the newest iPod Touch (which is basically an iPhone without the phone) will be coming next month! That’s actually a pretty short delay from when it launched in the States (two weeks ago) – perhaps the government is finally approving things faster?
The second floor was dedicated to their kids section (which seemed to occupy just one table here), their 3rd party accessories racks and their Genius Bar and One-to-One service. Ron Johnson spent an especially large amount of time explaining the service options at the Apple stores, which seems to be what the Shanghai Apple experience is supposed to be about. Everything hosted on this second floor is to make a customer’s Mac/iPhone/iPod experience as idiot-proof as humanly possible – even more so than just owning one. Besides the One-to-One lessons, that teach you how to use a Mac (for 499RMB) and come with access to a website with “learning goals,” there’s also free workshops every week, and even youth workshops on the holidays.
“The desire to learn in China is very high,” Johnson explained, and the workshops have proven extremely popular at the Pudong location. I’d be surprised that anyone would need that much schooling on Mac products except I’ve been the one to teach two aunts and one mom how to put music on their iPhone – it would’ve been nice to have an Apple employee do that for them instead.
In fact, there is a place to specifically tackle that problem here: a “Start Up Area,” one of ten in the world, where Apple employees will actually unbox your product for you and customize it right there – helping you find the apps you think you’ll want to use. All of it will be up and running by 8am on Saturday for the iPhone 4/store launch.
As a funny little aside, one reporter from Shanghai Daily asked how Apple planned on managing the crowds, considering this Apple Store doesn’t quite have the giant, empty outdoor plaza of the Lujiazui one.
“We’ve had a lot of experience, we’ve opened many stores and launched many products – I’m not going to give you details about our crowd control methods, but we’re well prepared. Don’t worry,” Johnson replied, adding, “But my advice would be to get here early.”