"The Apple Store" will soon be no more. But don't panic — the physical retail locations aren't going anywhere. Apple is just switching up the branding.
Going forward, Apple will no longer refer to physical retail locations as Apple Stores. Apple would prefer it if we consumers would kindly drop that "Store." The stores that Apple operates should — like Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter — be known simply as Apple. The only modification necessary is the specific physical location. So whereas a week ago a New York City customer might have said he was going to the Apple Store in Union Square, now he would say, "I'm going to Apple, Union Square."
We imagine he would then flip his scarf over his shoulder, jump on his motorbike and yell "Ciao" as he motored away.
The move comes as Apple, under new retail chief Angela Ahrendts, moves to define its stores as more than commerce hubs built to get consumers to buy and fly, and instead makes them experience centers built to get consumers to hang out and buy more.
"The store becomes one with the community," Ahrendts said during the unveiling of Apple's redesigned Union Square location — complete with giant 4K screens for digital photography experimentation and tree-festooned quiet contemplation areas.
So will going to the local Apple be different for consumers, as compared to going to the Apple Store? Hard to say. Many commentators have noted that this is "an especially Apple" kind of move.
But then Apple did get to be Apple by pulling off a lot of especially Apple kinds of moves.