As we know, Apple has established itself as the preeminent purveyors of great technology design. They have that strong history of not only making great hardware and operating systems, they make them actually look great. It’s no coincidence that their competitors have borrowed from some of those designs. While some have gotten close on product design, none have really matched the beauty of their actual packaging. Half the fun of opening a new apple product is the unraveling of the packaging as if it were a beautifully intricate flower. The design always served the product, until now. With the opening of the Apple Store in Santa Monica, CA, they might have tipped their hat and gone too far in packaging their product to be beautiful at first sight – but it fails to place the product in the best light.
When the store opened in December, you could already get a glimpse of the inherent issues. In a video capture of the opening by YouTube personality, iJustine, they mention the heat and the noise near the end of the video.
Apple places a strong emphasis on marketing and innovation in everything they do, but this direction in store design did too much innovation while adversely affecting the product. When you enter the store, it is especially beautiful at night, but still loud due to the flat walls and glass ceilings – it is a veritable noise chamber. When you visit during the day, it has that same loudness but the glare and heat are almost unbearable.
Now, months in, the issues are very clear. If you are trying to check out the products, you can’t see a lot because of that glare, and if you are waiting for the Genius Bar or getting individual instruction, the loudness and heat make you not want to stick around. One woman even brought a box for her one-on-one to place around her product as she was well aware of the issues.
While this is not the first Apple store with a glass ceiling – there has been one in the Upper West Side of Manhattan for a number of years – it seems they did not really take everything into consideration and aimed for looks more than substance. Perhaps the bigger Santa Monica store concerns were never an issue in Manhattan due to more limited direct sunlight and extended cooler weather. It’s a shame that they didn’t take into consideration that there is more heat and sunlight in the beach city of Santa Monica.
I hate seeing Apple miss and I hope this is just a hiccup and not more indicative of what’s to come. If they continue to make decision based more on looks than substance, we will all lose out.