Apple’s Angelea Ahrendts makes her mark on Apple Stores by going ‘ultraluxe’

“Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of retail, got a private demonstration of the fancy wireless speaker, the Phantom, and its sound quality seven weeks ago. On the spot, she said she wanted the space podlike device, which starts at $1,990, to be sold in Apple’s retail stores,” Katie Benner reports for The New York Times. “‘She moved incredibly fast, from our first meeting to figuring out how the Phantom would be displayed,’ Quentin Sannié, the co-founder of Devialet, the French audio company that makes the white and chrome speaker, said of Ms. Ahrendts.”

“This week, the Phantom will appear in 13 Apple stores in the United States, before becoming available in 200 more stores worldwide next year. The device will get the sort of prominent display treatment that is typically reserved in Apple stores for the company’s Beats audio accessories,” Benner reports.

Angela Ahrendts, Apple's Senior Vice President Retail and Online Stores
Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores
“The move is an indication of how Ms. Ahrendts, who started at Apple last year, is changing the playbook at some of the iPhone maker’s stores this holiday season and the direction she’s going in: ultraluxe.”

“In a public appearance last month at the Fast Company Innovation Festival, Ms. Ahrendts said she had been working toward Apple’s stores becoming “sleeker and smarter,” as well as unifying Apple’s in-store and online shopping experiences,” Benner reports. “Apple has traditionally sold the most expensive accessories online only, like the $2,700 B&O BeoPlay A9 MKII speaker. ‘I asked Tim a very simple question: Why do we do it this way?’ she said of her boss, Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive. Mr. Cook told her he didn’t know, she said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Increasing the luster of the already lustrous Apple brand has multiple benefits from helping to make Apple products even more aspirational (and, conversely, making competitors’ less desirable) to increasing foot traffic and boosting store revenue, already the highest per square foot – $5,775 – of any retailer in the world.

Apple’s Angela Ahrendts a featured speaker at next week’s Bloomberg Year Ahead Summit – November 2, 2015
What the heck is Angela Ahrendts doing at Apple? – September 10, 2015
Apple’s Angela Ahrendts emerges as highest-paid U.S. woman with $83 million – May 5, 2015
When Angela Ahrendts met Tim Cook – March 26, 2015
Jony Ive and Angela Ahrendts working on Apple Retail Store redesign for Apple Watch – February 16, 2015


    1. Nothing Ahrendts has done or likely ever will do could possibly earn the money that Cook poured on her.

      Cook’s decision to let Ahrends turn Apple into a fashion shop is insulting to say the least. It looks, feels, smells, and acts like a a greedy mobile phone company now.

    2. Apple toys by Ahrendts = L.V. crocodile skin bags of the digital world.
      Glam, Gold, Bling, Elite, Limited, Luxurious, Pret a Porter artifacts,
      but this is what customers want. Nobody buys cheap Apple.

      We all want premium. but we all dream about Luxury.
      They know it and we can secretly only admit it.

      Nobody wanted shitty plastic iPhone 5c because it was not a symbol of status. We, customers of Apple – we all want to make a bold statement of our Glam, Gold, Bling, Elite, Limited, Luxurious buying Pret a Porter artifacts like iPhones.

      Creating affordable iPhone for such vane customers like us may be far more complicated than luxury one. 6c will be another try. Will it work? Hard to say.

  1. She don’t have to sit on no ball to get my attention, but I’m not so sure about making Apple too much of a luxury brand. Walking about with an iPhone and an iPad Pro already gets me enough snide comments. This sort of think can backfire.

  2. I avoid Apple stores as much as possible.

    Bought my white Macbook back in 2009 at another store in the Bay Area. My more recent Macbook Pro was not bought at an Apple store. My local Apple store is smaller than nearly every store in the mall, but still larger than the See’s candy store.

    If Apple offered Apple Care with each Mac or iPad, for example, I would probably always shop there. Otherwise, I visit only to play with the toys and decide what to order online from a reseller.

  3. Apple’s previous vision to make the Apple Store inviting may be going against Ms. Ahrendts’ current vision which is that her stores will become “sleeker and smarter.” I think that it’s already sleek and smart enough. I think that warmth and embrace should not be subservient. Do not lose the latter two qualities. Do not make the store a snob’s experience.

  4. Hell, it’s cheaper to keep her then fire her.

    The job is turning out the be like the job at Hogwart School of WitchCraft and Wizardy for the Professor of Defense (Defence) Against the Dark Arts.

    Let’s roll the dice again.

    1. Her motion to “ultalux” is not where or what Apple is about.
      Clean, Simple, Zen-like – inviting not intimating – UltraLuxation will scare mid-range incomes away.
      Apple is more about Quality, Reliability, Usability — not glam.

        1. There was a time when Apple’s interfaces were realistic and comfortable. Green felt, while perhaps not a great choice for most of us, is still very relevant for some people / places. Appropriate skeu can be timeless. Brushed metal, for example, is an acceptable look. Wood grain is very warm and appealing to just about everyone. Apple’s current software, is just hard to use with all the hidden commands and stupid swiping.

          But Ahrendts doesn’t know or care anything about software. Cook gave her the mission to maximize profit per square foot so she’s doing the only think she knows — making Apple a jewelry store. A cold, snobby place that is less and less inviting every time I visit. Far from being modern and clean, Apple’s style is just going in a bad direction, both unprofessional and uninspired.

          White plastic and white cables that look dirty and gray after a month’s use? That’s just stupid. They should have learned that lesson a decade ago.

          T-shirts for store employees? Come on, that’s just tacky.

          Mandatory appointments, equipment displayed behind glass, and no ability to really try software in the store? All very unfriendly to the customer.

          I wish Apple was being run by people who cared about the user experience. Isn’t it obvious that all of them now are just putting profits & fashion over user experience & long term product value?

          Oh, and tech support: probably the most effective sales tool of all. Man, has it declined in past years. Now that half the store is taken up with iOS accessories, there’s little room left to have an in-depth consultation in a quiet environment. The vast majority of wandering store employees seem undertrained. If you have a question on a product, their one and only answer seems to be reloading software. More than once the shocking lack of tech knowledge from the “geniuses” made me wonder if I accidentally walked into a Microsoft store.

          Apple, you used to do so much better. Stop turning Apple into a consumer-grade overpriced fashion shop. You aren’t earning your premium pricing anymore!!!

  5. I bet your crappy MP3s are just going to sound all majestic and Apple-like through these.

    I think they should just sell cocaine. That’s an aspirational purchase if I ever saw one.

  6. I really used to love going into the Apple Stores, but since she took over the atmosphere in them has changed.

    The lively, enthusiasm has gone and now it’s mostly by appointment only, snobbishness. I hate what the Apple Stores are becoming under her stewardship. Not at all what SJ would have wanted.

    She’ll probably introduce a dress code for customers who wish to attend the stores next.

  7. The revenue per square foot figure must be of great import to Apple. Maybe that’s why the mall Apple stores all over this country are so damn small. Foot traffic is already at peak in most of these locations, nearly impossible to move in the stores on Saturdays. Please move these stores a few doors down to a bigger space. Hell with the $$ per sq. ft. stat… Think of the customer, that is how you got were you are. Fancy French speakers are not the next big thing.

  8. Quality goods need to be seen, handled. They’ll sell themselves.

    Discerning consumers such as audiophiles and fashion mavens will visit the emporium or the showroom to relish the social and sensory experience of the purchase. Sitting at home alone, buying something online, is a tawdry, joyless exercise in spending money compared to the lift in one’s spirits from actually handling the merchandise in an environment designed to enhance its appeal.

  9. Apple your ‘ultra luxe’ device is the Mac Pro but opps you can’t really tout it as you’ve not updated it for 2 years….

    I wonder if Ahrendts even knows the Mac Pro exists? since she saw a hifi demo from a third party I wonder did anyone at Apple give her a demo what heavy duty Pros do with Macs? like render 3D and such?

    (don’t flame me, I know mac pros are niche but so are $2000 speakers and she is ALSO in charge of internet sales… )

    1. To me Apple’s REAL sales ‘ace in the hole’ is NOT third party luxe products but by providing Apple Fans with the ‘complete arsenal’ of Apple products:

      1) Big iPhone, mid size iPhone, small iPhone

      2) Consumer Macs, Pro Macs (like something with upgradeable video cards for example… )

      3) Consumer iPads, Pro iPads (iPad Pro is in the right direction)

      and a full range of WORKING bug free software to run on them…


      THAT will help you make your billions more than THIRD PARTY accessories, the LOVE of Apple’s Top Execs should be YOUR OWN STUFF (listen to your fans not OUTSIDE SALESPEOPLE ) …

  10. The iPhone is the affordable luxury.
    Padding stores with high margin ‘ultra-lux’ gizmo’s isn’t going to cut it with the average Joe. Why not keep this sort of stuff for niche store-in-store locations or places where the uber rich hang out in NY, London, Dubai or Saudi Arabia etc.

  11. Just need to have two types of Apple Stores, say White logo stores and Gold logo stores. White logo stores sell Apple products to anyone who wants them, Gold logo stores sell by invitation only. You might be able to co-locate by having separate entrances so the Gold logo customers wouldn’t have to see or smell the White logo customers. The feeling would be quite mutual.

  12. As someone who loves hi-end audio, this is a stupid idea. Apple doesn’t need to be ultraluxe. We’re buying computers and phones and software! We want quality, not fashion.

    However, I understand that I am a lonely voice on this. For years, the computer industry has become more and more about fashion, and less and less about utility, expandability, ergonomics, and everything that makes using a computer useful. I think this is because the demographic Apple sells to has changed. Now it is people who buy fashionable things, not people who want to do things.

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