Apple MixC Wenzhou opens
The latest store design comes to Asia.
Apple MixC Wenzhou opened on November 4th. It’s the 46th Apple Store in mainland China and the first in Asia with Apple’s latest retail design.
Sustainability can take many forms. Apple’s favorite, environmental sustainability, is the focus of every new store. But to be truly sustainable for Apple as a company, the Vintage E format must prove itself a reliable, flexible design solution worldwide.
Today, Apple MixC Wenzhou is an exceptional Apple Store in China. Long term, if Apple’s ideas are successful, it will be remembered as exceptionally ordinary — one location in a large, global family of stores with the same look and feel.
We’re beginning to see how the future might shape up. Apple Tysons Corner and MixC Wenzhou are largely identical. Push a few walls around, and you can imagine either space. There’s one fewer Avenue in Wenzhou, and the Apple Pickup counter and Genius Bar are both smaller. The storefront is angled, and there are four internal columns. Compared to Tysons, there’s an extra row of tables.
Every new store with these same main ingredients is a vote of confidence. Apple has comprehensively redesigned its stores just three times in the past 22 years, and each time the result was a smash hit. Most companies wouldn’t touch a machine running that well. China is a key market for Apple, and I’d imagine the customer response to this store will be critically important.
It’s striking that Apple’s “best” stores in America, Europe, and Asia are currently smaller locations trapped inside enclosed shopping malls. It’s not clear to me how or if Apple plans to consistently move these new features to existing stores. When Vision Pro eventually comes to China, for example, will a lone mall in Wenzhou offer a better try-on experience than the spectacular, newly-renovated Apple Pudong in Shanghai? Will shopping for Apple Watch bands always be better in suburban Virginia than on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan?
Here’s something else to consider: would aggressively updating existing stores actually be antithetical to Apple’s larger conservation and environmental efforts?
On grand opening day, customers in Wenzhou received a blue t-shirt and sticker bearing the store’s special logo. Store employees were in red, as the opening coincided with the launch of holiday graphic panels and window decals. That means that the graphic panels featured on Apple Newsroom were visible for little more than a day before the store opened.
You might’ve also noticed that the Experience Room has brown Apple Watch try-on mats. I’ve heard that Apple has created new, non-leather mats with the same appearance and color as the current leather mats.
For a closer look at the details of Apple MixC Wenzhou, I recommend this video.
Apple South Shore
Apple South Shore in Braintree, Massachusetts will move to an expanded location later this month. The new store has been under construction at South Shore Plaza since spring and is just down the hall, between Vans and Express. The current store opened on August 6, 2005 and still retains much of its original appearance.
Holiday gift card
This year’s holiday gift card is now available online and in stores, and it features an Apple logo formed from a string of festive lights. In case you’re looking to start a collection, I maintain an archive with every Apple Gift Card design to date.
Last week, I sent Tabletops supporters a bonus article on the history of China’s cylindrical stores: Pudong, Jiefangbei, and Kunming.
Apple West Lake
Photo via @robanwang.