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 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 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 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.
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.
[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 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.