For almost 2 years, I’ve been waiting to see what Apple unveiled for it’s newest store in London. Yesterday, I finally found out, and I can’t say I’m anything less than impressed with what they’ve done to the old building they’ve put it in.
I’d originally intended to get there for the opening, but remembering I had guests this weekend, I didn’t think it would be fair to leave them alone. So we waited until the afternoon before venturing into London to check out the store. Arriving in Covent Garden and hearing cheering from down the street, I originally thought it might just be the street performers receiving the applause, and that surely some of the hype would have died down for the Store opening, but i was wrong. Just like a new iPhone launch or the iPad Launch — which I actually took part in — the Apple Store staff were still cheering every group of people into the store.
It was heaving, the queues were massive, and it wasn’t completely unsuspected after a reported 10.000 people were going to be turning up on opening day. But there queues were round the plaza! Madness. Apple had it under control though, keeping paths clear for people to walk, and ferrying people across walkways with tickets to prove they weren’t queue jumping.
We decided not to bother queueing for a look, and I was coming to terms with the fact I might not get to see the store on opening day, but after a bite to eat and a walk around the markets the queues had died down, and it turned out the queues were only for people wanting to buy the iPhone 4, so within seconds I was being cheered into the massive new store with a huge smile on my face.
The place is stunning, as soon as you walk through the door the spiral staircase is to your left, and although not as impressive as the 5th Avenue one, it’s still a great staircase linking the ground and first floor. Walking through to the center of the store, the light floods in through the giant glass ceiling from above, and a thousand eyes set upon you looking around in awe from the sections above. There were a lot of camera crews walking around, so I imagine we’ll be seeing some great videos from the launch day in a few weeks. I felt kind of lost. I wasn’t really sure which part of the place to go an explore next, but I found myself in a back room staring at the second glass staircase. Two floors up or one floor down? Down it was, nothing great down there but a few doors for staff only, but toilets for the public which I wasn’t expecting. It’s not very often you see toilets open to the public in stores over here.
Each room is filled with different Apple goodies — no overlapping. You want a case for your iPhone? Head to the second floor, at the back and you’ll find the biggest selection and stock than compared to any other Apple Store.
I’m so impressed by this store, the Regent Street one used to be my go to place when i was meeting friends, as it’s a great place to go for a wander round and a play while having some time to pass. But this place, you’d not feel bad for being late to meet a friend here as there is so much to see.
I actually went into the building a few years ago, we had a work Christmas party there, with a temporary staircase in place, and each room dedicated for DJ’s, bars, food etc. It was nice to remember that while I was stood paying for my new Magic Trackpad that two years ago I was in a Moroccan smoking lounge.
I’m struggling to put into words just how impressed I am at the work and effort they’ve put into keeping this building looking as original as possible. The small signs outside dont take anything away from the old building, you’d struggle to see it was even an Apple Store if you didn’t know and were just passing.
Although I didn’t make it for the opening, I kept my eyes on Twitter and saw that the senior vice president of iOS software Scott Forstall was there, and had his picture snapped by quite a few people. Someone even managed to get Matt Lucas, an English comedian, and Scott in the same photo
Following are a few video’s from the opening that people have managed to capture, followed by a gallery of a few shots I took while walking around.
This Store should get added to your places to visit list, while not as famous as the Eifel Tower or the Colleseum, for any Apple fan this place is a must.
Oh, and I’ll post a review of the Magic Trackpad when I’ve had a bit more time to play with it.