With Apple Stores returning to some semblance of life, the major store in the country’s biggest city is also back from under the box it was in.
You might think Apple has had stores in Australia for the longest time, but it’s only been about 12 years. That’s twelve years for a place with free WiFi, a place to check out instruction and tutorials for some of the software and services its devices do, and a place to line-up for tech support at the Genius Bar.
Back in 2008, Apple kicked off its official store presence in Australia with a glass box in the centre of Sydney, found across from Telstra’s big building and in between Town Hall and Wynyard stations. Not far from the big shopping district that is Pitt Street Mall, it has become the default go-to for Apple in the centre of town, or it had, anyway, before January this year.
A couple of months before the coronavirus pandemic hit and closed Apple’s stores, as well as a bunch of others too, Apple closed its big city store for renovations, placing the entire thing behind what as basically a box, and a bit of a coming soon.
But with the return to open status, Apple is re-opening the Sydney store, keeping the glass box and including living walls, a boardroom, and a 5K video wall which will apparently be home to Apple’s daily free “Today at Apple” education sessions.
For the moment, Apple confirms that its Sydney store will focus on the one-on-one support and service at the Genius Bar, which is still very much a part of its design and focus, and that it will include two-metres of social distancing, while using temperature checks upon entry and a requirement of face covering prior to entry.
“We are excited to reopen Apple Sydney and welcome back the customers we’ve so missed during the renovation,” said Deidre O’Brien, Senior Vice President of Retail & People at Apple.
“The landscape we open in today is very different than when we closed in January,” she said. “Our top priority is the health and safety of customers and employees, so we’ll reopen with several enhanced measures in place including social distancing, temperature checks and face-coverings. In every store, we’re focused on limiting occupancy and giving everybody lots of room, and renewing our focus on one‑on‑one, personalised service at the Genius Bar and throughout the store.”
It doesn’t seem like it’s business as usual for the Apple Store — for any store, really, not just Apple’s — and that means you likely won’t be going in for a casual glance at a new iPad Pro or recent MacBook Air. Instead, until this whole coronavirus thing is sorted for good, Apple’s store returns seem more like they’re for tech support than anything else, with a limited number of visited in the store at one time, and a potential delay to get inside.
It means that unless your Mac or iPhone or iPad is in trouble, you might want to save those visits to the centre of town to check out the Apple Store, unless you’re fine with waiting outside in a line and potentially being turned away because you don’t have an appointment. Online may still be the best bet if you plan to have a cheeky browse.