Details are starting to emerge of the new Apple Store designs, which are expected to go live with the launch of the Apple Watch later this month.
The Apple Store design project is understood to be being led by Apple’s senior vice-president of design Sir Jony Ive and senior vice-president of retail Angela Ahrends and aims to showcase the new watch in an appropriate setting.
The Apple Watch is set to go on sale on 24 April and will be available for pre-order from 10 April.
In a profile piece in the New Yorker last year, journalist Ian Parker suggested that the new designs could be more upmarket and quoted Ive as saying he overheard someone saying “I’m not going to buy a watch if I can’t stand on a carpet”.
Parker added that the new space could be “perhaps less welcoming, at least in some corners, to tourists and truants”.
He described seeing a new Apple Watch display cabinet, which can be accessed by staff from below using a descending motorised flap “like the ramp at the rear of a cargo plane”.
Website 9to5Mac has now published images of what it claims are the new display cases and units for the Apple Watch within Apple Stores.
These include a clear-topped display table featuring all the Apple Watch models. All the watches will run a demo loop making them like “a magical display”, according to the article.
The stores will also feature “try-on” areas where customers will be able to try out the watches before they buy them.
Packaging designs – for both the Apple Watch and for standalone watch straps – have also emerged.
The Apple Watch is designed to be used in conjunction with an iPhone and features a Taptic Engine which “taps” the user’s wrist to notify them of messages.
Meanwhile a feature Apple calls Digital Touch means that users can communicate with the watch with “a sketch, a tap or even the rhythm of your own heartbeat,” according to the company.
To operate the watch there is a new scroll, zoom and navigation feature, known as Digital Crown, which encourages “fluid navigation” without obstructing the display Apple says.
A range of interfaces can be chosen including Chronograph, Modular, or Motion, which features animated butterflies or jellyfish and there is also an emphasis on customisation.
There is a huge price range across three collections with Apple Watch Sport starting at £299, Apple Watch starting at £479 and the Apple Watch Edition which is made from “custom-rose or yellow 18-karat gold alloys” and prices start from £8,000.
Review copies of the Apple Watch have been made available. In this interview in The Verge, journalist Nilay Patel says: “It is one of the most ambitious products I’ve ever seen; it wants to do and change so much about how we interact with technology.”
He adds: “But that ambition robs it of focus: it can do tiny bits of everything, instead of a few things extraordinarily well. For all of its technological marvel, the Apple Watch is still a smartwatch, and it’s not clear that anyone’s yet figured out what smartwatches are actually for.”