Around 100 members of the media gathered this morning for the unveiling of Apple's new Mall of Emirates store in Dubai, ahead of the official public launch on Thursday.
The store was reportedly due to be the largest Apple store in in the world. However, as Apple don’t give detail of exact store sizes, the new Dubai store appears appears smaller than expected on first viewing.
The Abu Dhabi store, which will be unveiled to the public on Thursday in Yas Mall, is reportedly slightly smaller that the Dubai store.
Located underneath the main dome in the Mall of Emirates, on the second floor, the new Apple store is in line with stores around the world.
It’s all about simplicity, refined with class.
Rows of beech oak wood tables are stocked with all the latest Apple products, including the latest iPhone 6s and the Apple Watch, which was launched last week in the UAE.
Divided into three distinctive aisles by six large pillars, the centre of the store has two long, empty benches, canopied by eight trees. This is where the Apple store’s ‘genius’ will offer their expert feedback to customers.
At the back of the new store is a massive TV screen, measuring 15 feet tall by 24 feet wide, behind which is the store’s events room, which will host a number of events, including women-only workshops.
“Both of our stores will be offering our signature services that we offer all over the world. Some of those are personal set-up, free workshops, services that our 'genius team' will provide, support and repair. And here we will be offering ladies-only workshops,” Wendy Beckman, head of Apple Retail for Europe and the Middle East, told journalists.
The Apple store will also host a number of events in the coming months.
“We have lots of things planned. In the coming weeks we have events from meet app developers, there's going to be authors and filmmakers,” Beckman said.
She said opening the two stores on the same day is only the second time the company has done so.
“When both of our stores open on Thursday, the last time this happened when we opened two stores on the same, opening in a new country, was actually stores one and two. So this is pretty exciting for us,” Beckman said.
“Our stores are really an extension into the community and the community of the UAE is incredible. It's creative, it's innovative and it's just thriving enterprises.”
The two new UAE stores, which are also the first in the Middle East, bring the number of Apple stores worldwide to 466 in 17 countries.
Over 150 people will be employed between the two stores in the UAE, speaking 40 different languages and representing 30 nationalities.
“They are highly trained, and some have been trained throughout Europe in other outlet stores and some have trained in Cupertino,” she said.
Apple's move has been expected for some time. Bloomberg reported in August that the US giant could be exempted from foreign ownership laws in the UAE, and could be allowed 100 percent ownership of its stores.
That report was later denied by a senior official from the Ministry of Economy.
The tech giant founded by Steve Jobs in 1976 currently has more than 466 stores in 17 countries.
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