Inside Apple Tysons Corner's new retail store: Updated look, with nods to the past

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2023
Tysons Corner was the location of the very first Apple Store to open, and on its 22-year anniversary it opens again in a larger venue. Here's what it looks like inside -- and out.

The bright Apple logo at the entrance to Apple Tysons Corner
The bright Apple logo at the entrance to Apple Tysons Corner


Apple Tysons Corner has reopened a short distance away from its original location, which first opened on May 15, 2001. The new venue is much larger and features the modern Apple Store design with long wooden tables, but adds some unique flair with cut-out alcoves for the Genius Bar and pickup areas.

The original store closed on Tuesday for the final time in preparation for the new location opening.

AppleInsider's Managing Editor Mike Wuerthele managed to visit Apple Tysons Corner not only on the original opening day in 2001 but also in 2023. We've gathered several photos and first impressions of the store's new location.

It's a bit crowded on opening day, but Mike managed to weave through the crowd and even spotted Apple SVP of Retail Deirdre O'Brien. No Tim Cook appeared for this opening, at least not as of our visit at 10:30 a.m. EST.

Apple Store Tysons Corner fills up for the opening
Apple Store Tysons Corner fills up for the opening

Apple Tysons Corner is a piece of Apple history

Apple Tysons Corner originally opened in 2001 as one of Apple's first brick-and-mortar retail stores. Steve Jobs introduced Apple Stores, saying, "this is our store."

The original stores functioned similarly to how they do today. Products were placed in the front to draw customers in and tinker with them while helpful staff and "Geniuses" waited to help.

Saying goodbye to the old Apple Tysons Corner
Saying goodbye to the old Apple Tysons Corner


Apple wasn't the first to try bringing its computers to retail, nor was it the last. However, it has been an iconic representation of modern retail that changed the landscape forever.

In 2001, when the store opened, American malls had much better foot traffic than today. The iPod wasn't yet a thing, and the iMac was still in its G3 incarnation.

Apple moved into Tysons because of what and where it was.

Flash-forward 20-plus years and Apple Stores anchor the malls that some of them remain in. Entire wings of malls are rejuvenated, and the dollar per square foot that malls charge and stores earn is increased by the mere presence of Apple.

We're not sure what the case is for Tysons, but it's not as busy a mall overall as it was 20 years ago -- even after a massive renovation and expansion in the in-between years.

22 years later

The new location is about three times the retail square footage that the old location maintained. We (obviously) weren't allowed to go behind the scenes, but based on mall blueprints, the "backstage" area is probably about 50% larger.

Managed chaos at the Apple Tysons Corner opening
Managed chaos at the Apple Tysons Corner opening


It's also nearer an exit to the exterior of the mall. Back in the day, hauling a G5 into the mall was an exercise in patience for not just the owner but also the nearest big-box store, unless you wanted to shlep it from a garage the long way.

There was a back-service door, but it was infrequently used. We purchased an eMac once upon a time and got it through that door, but never before and never again. With the new location, there's no need for a convoluted route into or out of the store.

Wooden display tables surrounded by Apple employees
Wooden display tables surrounded by Apple employees


On the interior, the design carries most of the ethos of the previous design and inside-mall stores. It still has its own identity, but there's no question that you're in an Ive-adjacent designed store.

Walk up to Apple Tysons Corner, and you'll be greeted with large glass walls and an Apple logo sticking out from a matte wall. The openness of the interior space is immediately apparent with three rows of large, wooden product tables that extend to the rear wall.

An avenue dedicated to iPhone cases
An avenue dedicated to iPhone cases


The usual product displays run along the left wall. Each section is dedicated to a different product similar to how Apple Stores are set up elsewhere.

The right side of the store features a series of alcoves. A newly-designed Genius Bar sits in the back right corner, a section of it lower for improved wheelchair access. A product pickup area is in the center, then a specialized alcove is near the store entrance.

The in-person Apple Watch Studio
The in-person Apple Watch Studio


The special alcove features a large walk-in area with a center table. It is currently set up with a real-life version of the Apple Watch Studio, but Apple says it can be changed to be used for other products in the future.

The central wooden tables are filled with the usual iPhone and Mac displays. A table in the back corner is set up for Today at Apple sessions.

Apple Senior Vice President of Retail Deirdre O'Brien
Apple Senior Vice President of Retail Deirdre O'Brien


Apple's design philosophy for the store reflects a classic format that just works for retail while introducing new ideas that make Tysons Corner unique. We expect that Apple could begin implementing some of these changes to other mall-based stores.

The floors are still made from terrazzo, large white oak tables line the center, wood paneling on the walls match the tables, and a fabric graphic panel takes up the entire rear wall. The ceiling is made with a new linear baffle ceiling structure that should aid with acoustics -- but there is often a sea of humanity in the Tysons store, so we'll see with time.

The Genius Bar returns
The Genius Bar returns


In a world where malls are dying, and retail is becoming more online every day, it is refreshing to see Apple continue to push for the human element of in-person shopping. Everything in the brightly-lit store accounts for humanity, accessibility, sustainability, and of course, commerce.

And, maybe it won't be shoulder-to-shoulder in Apple Tysons anymore.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    The Genius Bar is back?
  • Reply 2 of 11
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,869administrator
    The Genius Bar is back?
    It is!
    waveparticleronnhammeroftruthAlex_V
  • Reply 3 of 11
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,469member
    Did they hand out T-shirts?
  • Reply 4 of 11
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,869administrator
    Did they hand out T-shirts?
    Bags.
    pscooter63
  • Reply 5 of 11
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,781member
    Not digging that style of wood texture on the walls and countertops. Looks like an old 1970s commune. Hippie style. Nasty. 

    Good to see Genius Bar though. 
    edited May 2023
  • Reply 6 of 11
    I'm glad to see Apple addressing the noise problem in its stores. My nearest Apple Store, La Cantera in San Antonio, open since 2005, was built with a flat, reflective ceiling. That along with reflective flooring, tables, and walls make having a conversation difficult. 

    I've always loved this particular store and have been connected with many employees, but the noise really gets in the way. 

    I saw an article somewhere a couple of years ago about one of the stores in the Seattle area, and it showed the wooden ceiling with thousands of tiny dimples in it, which I assumed were there to improve acoustics. Tried to find someone who'd written about it but no luck. 

    It's good to see Apple is working to control the noise. 

    bloggerblogAlex_V
  • Reply 7 of 11
    botsaucebotsauce Posts: 4member
    I don't know where Tyson’s corner is. I don't see the city or state mentioned in the article. Did I miss it?
    edited May 2023 9secondkox2
  • Reply 8 of 11
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,781member
    JP234 said:
    Not digging that style of wood texture on the walls and countertops. Looks like an old 1970s commune. Hippie style. Nasty. 

    Good to see Genius Bar though. 
    Actually, I'd guess bamboo. It's durable, good looking, and the best renewable fiber on the planet. Bicycle maker Calfee makes high end bike frames out of it.
    Whatever it is, it isn’t “good looking “ but it is what it is. The overall color is nice. But the texture is too heavy and condensed. It makes it look “cheap”unfortunately. 
    edited May 2023
  • Reply 9 of 11
    hammeroftruthhammeroftruth Posts: 1,319member
    Good to see the bar is back. I thought they were better than the tables. 
  • Reply 10 of 11
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,469member
    botsauce said:
    I don't know where Tyson’s corner is. I don't see the city or state mentioned in the article. Did I miss it?
    Tysons, VA
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