| Cult of Mac

Today in Apple history: Apple reinvents the computer store


Steve Jobs offers a sneak peek at the first Apple store prior to its opening.
Steve Jobs offers a sneak peek at the first Apple store prior to its opening.
Photo: Apple

May 15: Today in Apple history: Apple reinvents the computer store, with plans to open 25 Apple Stores in the U.S. May 15, 2001: Steve Jobs flips the script on the dreadful experience of computer shopping, unveiling an ambitious plan to open 25 innovative Apple stores across the United States.

The first two Apple stores, located at Tysons Corner in McLean, Virginia, and the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, California, are set to open later that week. But this new Apple initiative is about much more than just a couple of retail outlets. It’s a radical reinvention of tech retail that will change the way computers get sold.

Apple shows off its second store in Shenzhen, China


Locally sourced building materials help give a bright and airy feel to the store, which opens Friday.
Locally sourced building materials help give a bright and airy feel to the store, which opens Friday.
Photo: Apple

Apple previewed MixC Shenzhen Wednesday, showing off its second retail store to open in China’s third most-populous city after Shanghai and Beijing.

“We are very excited to open a beautiful new Apple Store in Shenzhen and deepen our connection with the local community,” said Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail.

“At Apple, we’re constantly innovating to deliver the best possible experience for our customers, and our incredible team members in Shenzhen can’t wait to welcome them when doors open on Friday,” she added.

Apple raises pay for retail and corporate employees


Apple store
Good news, Apple retail employees!
Photo: Apple

Apple employees can to look forward to raises. The company sent an email to its workers informing them it’ll spend more on employee compensation this year. And starting pay for retail workers is going up 10%.

This is happening as Apple faces increasing competition for employees in a tight labor market, and its retail workers are starting to unionize.

Apple accused of hindering employee efforts to unionize


Apple moves to head off employee union efforts
It seems Apple won't sit quietly while its retail employees unionize.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Workers attempting to form unions at multiple Apple retail stores allege the iPhone-maker is breaking federal labor laws in its attempts to block these efforts.

If the allegations bear out, it’s more than a bit hypocritical – Apple requires its component suppliers to allow their employees to join unions.

Apple removes face mask requirements for corporate and retail employees


Apple's CEO and Spanish singer Rosalía take a selfie with Madrid Apple employees.
Apple employees have a lot to celebrate.
Photo: Tim Cook

Apple is dropping the requirement for most of its corporate employees to wear masks, but there are still limitations. And the company has begun allowing some of its retail employees to take off their face mask at Apple Stores.

The policy change takes place as the surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant is essentially over.

Rejoice! Every US Apple store is open again


Fifth Avenue Apple Store
The Apple store is back in the US.
Photo: Apple

All 270 Apple retail stores in the United States opened on Monday. Many had been shuttered for months during the COVID-19 pandemic, but not any more.

This is a boon not only for shoppers but for those looking for repairs and tech support for their Mac, iPhone or other Apple gear. But don’t jump in the car quite yet.

Apple asks retail employees to help with online customer support


Like everyone else, Apple retail employees are being asked to work online.
Apple retail employees are being asked to become online employees to make using Apple.com better for customers.
Photo: Apple

Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s retail boss, sent a video to retail employees this weekend asking them to sign up to help customers remotely. She also said they should expect store closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to continue “for some period of time.”

Separately, Apple told employees that it doesn’t expect to have everyone back in its corporate headquarters before the end of 2020.

Apple Stores in Italy reportedly to commence reopening May 19 [Update]


"Benvenuto" will soon be heard at some Apple Stores in Italy.
Photo: Apple

[Update 9:30 am, 05/14/2020: Since our original story ran, the one Apple Store in Italy reportedly planning to reopen next week has changed its hours back to fully closed. We will monitor the situation and report any more details, if warranted.]

Apple reportedly will reopen 10 of its 17 retail store locations in Italy beginning May 19.

As in other locations around the world that have reopened, security measures will be in place to protect customers and employees.

Apple to reopen first retail store in Europe May 5 since pandemic shutdown


Vienna becomes first Apple store to reopen in Europe following COVID-19 pandemic.
Photo: Eric Weber for Cult of Mac

Apple will reopen its store in Vienna, Austria, on Tuesday, as its retail operations slowly emerge from a worldwide shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Vienna store is Apple’s first outside of China and South Korea to reopen after the company shuttered its brick-and-mortar locations in March.

According to Austria’s Heute newspaper, the only store in Austria will reopen with additional security precautions, including social distance and adjusted opening hours. Customers will be required to wear a protective mask and will be checked for a fever.