Apple Dubai Mall opens April 27 with live shows

Motorised windows at Apple Dubai Mall
Pity the iPhone doesn't have a cool motorised feature like these windows at Apple Dubai Mall. (Click to enable gif)

With a curved two-level store looking out on Dubai’s top tourist attraction, Apple’s newest store exemplifies its new retail philosophy, while underscoring the importance of the emirate to the brand’s bottom line. Apple Dubai Mall, which opens to members of the public at 4pm on Thursday, April 27, will seek to attract shoppers to a brick-and-mortar store in search of products that are easier to buy online.

The new store is expected to form the basis of an an experiential shopping experience – both for tourists, who can watch the dancing fountain at Dubai Mall, and for residents, who can catch an event or take in a self-improvement class. In short, it’s perfectly poised to attract experience-seeking millennials.

“We view our stores as a modern-day town square, where visitors come to shop, be inspired, learn or connect with others in their community,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s Senior Vice-President of Retail, said in a media statement. “And what better place to come together than overlooking Dubai’s epicenter, where the Dubai Fountain, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall meet.”

Apple Dubai Mall store
The Apple Dubai Mall store looks set to become a landmark in its own right

Apple Dubai Mall: functional but achingly hip

Certainly, the store, the existence and site of which few mall staff were even aware of on preview day today, offers a retail experience that’s streets ahead of rival technology brands a few dozen metres away. With no signboard apart from giant backlit logos, Apple Dubai Mall is the perfect expression of the California tech brand: functional but achingly hip, while sitting cheek by jowl with some of the world’s biggest luxury fashion and lifestyle brands, yet far away enough to stand apart from the busyness of the world’s biggest mall.

Like the brand’s two other stores in the UAE, which have attracted 4 million visitors since their launch 18 months ago, Apple’s new Dubai flagship will as of next month turn the retail experience on its head. All 495 stores will shift their focus from moving product to becoming trendy hangouts for the arts that just happen to sell tech hardware.

As part of the “Today at Apple” series, each store will host workshops for photography, video, music, coding, art and design, and more. These will be conducted by a team of trained staff called New Creative Pros, the arts equivalent of Apple’s technical Geniuses.

Apple Dubai Mall will also host high-profile events including live music, conversations with film-makers and photographers, and sessions with top global talent. Events on opening day include Live Art with Myneandyours, and Artist Duos with musician Hamdan Al Abri and artist Sultan Al Ramahi, Apple said in a release.

Motorised windows at Apple Dubai Mall
Pity the iPhone doesn’t have a cool motorised feature like these windows at Apple Dubai Mall

The store will likely also serve as the city’s hot new selfie point. As if the transparency wasn’t enough, architects Foster + Partners designed eighteen 37.5-foot-high motorised “Solar Wings” that cool the store in the afternoons and welcome the public to an open terrace in the evenings. Inspired by traditional Arabic mashrabiya screens each wing has been locally fabricated from 340 carbon fiber reinforced polymer rods, Apple said in a handout, At 180 feet wide, the 18 panels make up one of the world’s largest kinetic art installations.

More information on Apple Dubai Mall and upcoming events is available here.