Apple is reportedly negotiating to open its first official retail store in Israel.
While Apple products are available in Israel, at present these can be purchased only through two officially sanctioned importers, iDigital and iStore. The rumored location of the new Apple Store is the upmarket Sarona Azrieli tower in Tel Aviv, the tallest skyscraper in Israel.
The 61-floor tower was only opened in 2017 and was quickly filled by companies. Tech giants including Facebook, Amazon, Dropbox and others have already rented space in the building. There has been no official confirmation yet on Apple’s plans, with owners Azrieli issuing a statement to note that, “As a matter of policy, the Azrieli group does not confirm or deny media reports about the company’s internal actions.”
There’s no word on when the store could conceivably open.
Apple’s focus on Israel
While Apple has yet to open a retail store in Israel, the country nonetheless has links with Apple. A tech hub, Apple has acquired several Israeli startups over the years. In 2011, it bought flash memory maker Anobit. Apple acquired 3-D sensor company PrimeSense in 2013, and bought LinX in 2015. Last year, it acquired RealFace, an Israeli startup that developed facial-recognition technology for user authentication. This may have been the basis for Face ID (or at least some of its technology) for the iPhone X.
Israel is also the location of Apple’s biggest R&D center outside the United States. The company’s offices in Herzliya, Israel make it easier for the company to tap into the country’s thriving tech scene.
In 2015, Tim Cook visited Israel and met with the country’s president, Reuven Rivlin. At the time, Cook talked about Apple’s love for Israel as an “ally for the U.S.” and a “place to do business.”