apple · apple store · ipad pro · iphone · macbook pro · macintosh · retail

Apple Danbury Reopens with New Design Language


Apple is getting ready to launch their newly redesigned Danbury Fair Mall location with the new design language that has already debuted in other retail locations, such as the Union Square store in San Francisco.

As I arrived this morning, the prep teams were still putting the finishing touches on the store: setting up chairs at the newly designed tables, arranging the milk crate seats in front of the video wall in The Forum, and obsessively, and I do mean obsessively, wiping away every smudge and fingerprint on the massive sliding glass panels that make up the enterance to the store.

The new retail store format is the work of Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s SVP of Retail and Online Store, and Jonathan Ivy, Apple Chief Design Officer.

The store looks absolutely great! It is instantly recognizable as an iconic Apple store, and still offers a clean modern look that makes you want to just come in and hang out.  The Forum video wall looks really nice! Coming to the store for the new Apple Today sessions is going to be really great fun.

All of the Apple managers and staff that I have talked to this morning, like me, are really excited for the new store and the format. This store, just like the products that are sold here, is just incredible!


With less than an hour to go before the Danbury store relaunched, the employees are marking the last checks on everything.

As the 10:00am launch our draws near, the crew gets in a group photo.

After the doors opened, the group of enthusiastic customers that had gathered in the mall flooded in!

[Updated with new photos.]

apple · apple store · connecticut · retail

Apple Store Grand Opening, Trumbull Connecticut

This weekend, Apple opened another store in Connecticut, this time in the well known Westfield Shopping Town, Trumbull mall.  My father and I were just crazy enough to get out of bed early on a rainy Saturday morning to stand in line to celebrate the opening of the new store – and to score free t-shirts!

The Trumbull Apple Store at 7:45am

We arrived at the mall at about 7:35am.  It took us about 10 minutes to park the car and make our wall through the virtually empty, cavernous mall.  As we turned the corner we could see the security guards standing around and knew that the new geeky playground was just ahead.  We took our places, twelve and thirteen, in line.  As you can see from the photo above, the store looks identical to all of Apple’s other in mall stores.

The line at 7:55am

There where several points during the morning when the Apple Store employees would come up to the doors and check out the growing line.  We started taking them pictures of them and they did the same to us!

 Employees taking pictures of us taking pictures of them at 9:15am

Another Apple Store selfie

To help past the time, my Dad and I started taking more Apple Store selfies.  My daughters have informed me that we are definitely not cool.  By 9:40 the line had gotten pretty long.  While it looks like the line only goes to the mall doors, the line actually breaks to keep the doors clear and then continues down the hallway to the left.

The lines goes to the end of the hall and then breaks to the left

Chants of “Trumbull, Trumbull, Trumbull!” could be heard from inside the Apple Store

The staff really started getting psyched up in the final 15 minutes before the store opened for business.  You can see from the picture inside that the main house lights were turned off and that something was being projected inside (You can see a reflection of sorts on the ceiling).  Just before the lights came back on you could hear the staff getting super excited – clapping, whooping and chanting “Trumbull, Trumbull, Trumbull!”  All of this got the crowd that was gathered out side super excited.  Everyone who had been sitting on folding chairs or the floor was now standing with anticipation.  The people in front of the line had big smiles on their faces.  We couldn’t hide it.  I don’t know what special magic is contained in the Apple Retail Store employee handbook, but I do know that whatever is says about the procedure for launching a new store and getting customers excited to go in and spend their money was clearly, clearly, working.

High fives and smiles all around

Seconds after the lights came back on and the chanting stopped, the employees exploded from inside the store and started running down the line high fiving the customers who had been standing in line for hours.  It was hard to remind myself that this was the opening of a high-end electronics store and not the pep rally just before a high school football game.

Once back inside, there was one more last minute team meeting and then the doors slowly began to part and lock into their open position as the crowd heard the familiar 6…5…4…3…2…1… and then everyone lost their minds and went nuts with an excitement – an excitement you can watch in an Apple keynote but just don’t understand until you’ve participated in it live and in person.

Once I got inside, the store was instantly flooded wall-to-wall with customers, employees, hardware and what I can only describe as amazing party atmosphere! As we all poured in there was even more shouting, clapping, and high fives for everyone.  Store employees where handing out special commemorative t-shirts and greeting customers with warm hellos, welcomes and smiles.

While inside, I did manage to buy a new black smart case for my iPad Air

I can’t adequately explain the excitement of being at the launch of an Apple Store.  Being a major tech nerd, my family expects me to wait up late at night to buy the latest shiny new gadget, software (boxed or download – yes, I was at the midnight launches for both Windows 98 and Windows 98: Second Edition) or get up early on a day I should be sleeping in to go stand in a long, long line.  This time, I knew it was worth it from the smile on my Dad’s face.  And while I was one of the lucky first 1,000 people to get a free t-shirt, I just couldn’t leave the Apple Store without picking something up, so my iPad Air, which I had with me, went home with a new black Smart Case to match the black leather case on my iPhone 6; which I was using to shoot these pictures and video with.

Once I got home, I unboxed the t-shirt.  I almost forgot to take the unboxing photos as evident by the cut in the box’s silver tab seal.

The first 1,000 customers to the Trumbull store each received a large commemorative t-shirt

It’s not every day that you get to buy a new major piece of hardware, such as an iPhone 6, or are able to be literally one of the first two dozen people to walk into a new Apple Store.  If you get chance to go to a product launch or a store opening, you should do it.  Even if you aren’t an Apple fan boy, clearly I am, or a tech nerd, or don’t know everything about Apple’s stuff.  It’s a pretty amazing experience to hang out with other customers, fans, and staff who truly “get” what makes Apple’s products so amazing, transformative, and simply delightful to use.

But the best part was that I got to experience all of this with my Dad, who bought me my first Apple //e all of those years ago that eventually led us to this point – together.  Thanks, Dad!  (And Mom, too!)

apple · apple store · ios 8 · iphone 6 · retail

Happy iPhone 6 Day!

Hello!

Today, September 19, Apple released the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to the cheering legions of Apple fanatics around the world!  Today, I was lucky to be one of them.

I don’t think all of these people are here for L.L. Bean.

The day started off with my arrival at the Danbury Fair Mall.  I didn’t think all of these cars were here for L.L. Bean.

The mall opened it’s doors at 5:00am to accommodate the crowds.  I think being inside really helped keep people calm and comfortable with easy access to food, drink, and restrooms!

At least this couple has breakfast.
This is not the line you are looking for.

Fortunately for me, I pre-ordered my iPhone last Friday in the 3:00am Internet shopping frenzy and this is the line that I got to stand in.  Sweet!

iPhone 6 reservations line is much, much more manageable!

There wasn’t as many lunatics who stayed up ’til 3:00am last Friday night to spend money on a phone smart people as I expected who pre-ordered their new iPhone.  After we saw the really long walk ins line, we were all pretty glad that we did pre-order last week.

I arrived at the store with Dad at 7:00am.  Waiting wasn’t going to be hard with Amber keeping us informed and the Coca-Cola vending machines stocked chuck full of cold bottles of Diet Coke!

Two knuckleheads in line.

Amber kept everyone updated.

Go figure, I was standing next to a case of Coca-Cola!

Just before 8:00am local time, all of the Apple Store employees were called inside for a pre-sale briefing meeting.

As you might have expected, the store staff came running out and counted down the final seconds until 8:00am!  While I was waiting to go in, I managed to get in a few selfies.

As with all product launches, Apple put up new window signs.  This one was a metal spiral ring around the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.  You can see the first batch of people getting their iPhones inside the store.

Once inside, you were paired up with an Apple specialist who helped you get your new iPhone, make sure you understand the new Apple Care rules (you now have 60 days to buy the additional coverage rather than last year’s 30 days), point out accessories if you needed them (I have my cases delivered to the house) and generally be there to answer any questions you may have.

Because I was crazy enough to stay up until the middle of the night to order a new phone, I was able to get a new iPhone 6 on launch day.  If you didn’t get a chance to buy an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus today, you’ll be able to get one in the coming days and weeks.  The iPhone 6, as cool as it is, is still just a phone at the end of the day.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, the unboxing photos.

I’ll see you again next year.  Stay hungry, stay crazy!  Thank you, Steve.

apple · apple store · ipad · retail

Purchasing My iPad Air

Another Apple launch weekend is upon us and, after a long mental debate with myself about whether or not to get a new Apple iPad Air, I did make the decision to buy one, upgrading from my iPad with Retina Display (third generation).

I chose to get my new iPad Air at the New Haven Apple Store.  I wasn’t disappointed.

The Apple Store had ample stock of the 32GB Space Grey Wi-Fi iPad Air.  Stacey, sales associate who helped me, what polite, asked if I had any questions or if I needed help using iCloud to move my data from my iPad 3 to my new iPad.

A major factor in my decision to purchase the new iPad Air was the weight of the unit as compared to my iPad 3 without its plastic back shell and Smart Cover on.  Being able to walk in and play with the new iPad Air without all of the security brackets and thick security cables was a major plus for me.

Another major benefit of shopping at the Apple Store rather than a big box store like Best Buy, which I did visit on Friday afternoon, was not only being virtually guaranteed to get the device I wanted, but also having my pick of new Apple accessories too.

In addition to buying the iPad Air, I also picked up a beige Apple Smart Case.

I’ve become a bit of a frequent visitor to this Apple Store over the last few weeks, and the store was busy, but not mobbed.  Over all, it was a great shopping experience and I was in and out in 20 minutes.

If you are on the fence about getting a new iPad Air this weekend, there is still plenty of stock available at your local Apple Store and online.  Third-party box stores inventory will vary.  (The Best Buy store I went to on Friday only received 22 Wi-Fi only 32GB Space Grey iPad Airs for example.)

apple · ios · iphone · retail

Apple 5th Ave Store on iPhone 5 Eve

I was in Manhattan late last night/early this morning to try to get a few pictures of the massive glass cube that marks Apple’s 5th Ave 24-hour retail location.  What I was greeted by was Apple employees getting ready to launch the iPhone 5 at 8am Friday morning.

As you can see from the photos, the iconic glass cube is shrouded in a black curtain.  Before big launch events, Apple tends to block out the windows while they are setting things up.  In the case of the 5th Ave store, the whole above ground structure is cloaked.

While it ruined my chance at an evening shot of the store, you can see that people are getting in line, NYC police are on the scene.  While I didn’t get a picture of them, street vendors are selling hot dogs and the such and a local news crew is on hand too.

apple · apple store · genius bar · iphone · retail

Genius Bars Upgrading Select White iPhone 4 Models

I just read over at 9To5Mac.com that Apple has instructed employees working the Genius Bar to upgrade select 16GB white iPhone 4 models to the newer iPhone 4S due to limited parts availability.

“According to multiple sources, Apple has notified Apple Store Genius Bars that inventory of white iPhone 4 16GB replacements units is heavily constrained, and until further notice, stores lacking white iPhone 4 16GB replacements units should upgrade customers seeking a replacement phone to an iPhone 4S.”

Sounds like a good deal for Apple customers who need to get their 16GB white iPhone 4 repaired.  Apple’s always been pretty good to their customers in this regard.  I had what I believed to be a battery problem with a 17-inch MacBook Pro and the good folks at a local Apple Store swapped out the battery and my T-style power brick at no cost.