Apple’s Angela Ahrendts on new Chicago flagship store: ‘We are the live version of Apple Music’

“Angela Ahrendts was working in London as CEO of Burberry in 2014 before Apple CEO Tim Cook lured her to the technology company to help reimagine Apple’s online and physical stores,” Corilyn Shropshire reports for The Chicago Tribune. “The 57-year-old Indiana native is a mother of three and, as senior vice president of retail, Apple’s top female executive. She’s in Chicago to open the company’s new glass-walled flagship store along the Chicago River on Friday.”

Q: What are some of the details in the new store?

A: It was designed in partnership with Jony Ive and Foster + Partners — the same team that did Apple Park (in Cupertino, Calif.). We totally redid the entire plaza, putting stairs on the inside and outside. We’ve never done this before. The pavilion is totally glass, all the way around. From Michigan Avenue, you can see all the way through it to the river. The reason for all the stairs is that we wanted it to be so transparent, it looks like the pavilion becomes one with the plaza. We are the live version of Apple Music, we are the live version of that app store. There are tens of thousands of app developers in Chicago, they now have a place to come and show the city what they’ve done, even help teach the city.

Read more in the full article here.

Apple today previewed Apple Michigan Avenue, its newest and most ambitious store, creating a new connection between North Michigan Avenue, Pioneer Court and the Chicago River. Intended as a gathering place for the local community, the store will host year-round Today at Apple programming, building on Chicago’s city-wide initiative to enliven the Riverwalk. To celebrate the opening, Apple Michigan Avenue will host “The Chicago Series,” a month-long set of events that will provide attendees with the tools to pursue their passions, from photography and music to coding and app design.

The store connects the Chicago River with Pioneer Court and Michigan Avenue.
The store connects the Chicago River with Pioneer Court and Michigan Avenue.

“When Apple opened on North Michigan Avenue in 2003, it was our first flagship store, and now we are back in Chicago opening the first in a new generation of Apple’s most significant worldwide retail locations,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail, in a statement. “Apple Michigan Avenue exemplifies our new vision where everyone is welcome to experience all of our incredible products, services and inspiring educational programs in the heart of their city. We can’t wait to welcome the community for opening weekend, and to launch ‘The Chicago Series’ with our incredible local partners on Monday.”

Chicago’s connection to its river runs deep and Apple Michigan Avenue adds new access to the riverfront from Pioneer Court. The two are now linked by granite staircases on both sides of the transparent store, opening up views from the plaza to the river and beyond. Apple worked closely with the City of Chicago and referenced historical records to develop a store design specifically for the site on which it sits.

“Apple Michigan Avenue is about removing boundaries between inside and outside, reviving important urban connections within the city,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, in a statement. “It unites a historic city plaza that had been cut off from the water, giving Chicago a dynamic new arena that flows effortlessly down to the river.”

Apple Michigan Avenue is Apple’s first in a new generation of the most significant worldwide retail locations.
Apple Michigan Avenue is Apple’s first in a new generation of the most significant worldwide retail locations.

Every design feature serves to minimize the boundary between the city and the Chicago River. Even the building’s 111-by-98 foot carbon-fiber roof was designed to be as thin as possible, and the entire structure is supported by four interior pillars that allow the 32-foot glass facades to remain unobscured.

Apple’s first location on North Michigan Avenue welcomed more than 23 million visitors since opening in 2003, and the number of employees has grown from 58 to 250 today. Across the Chicagoland area, Apple’s nine stores are home to 1,300 employees including new Creative Pros, the liberal arts equivalent of Apple’s technical Geniuses, who deliver free daily Today at Apple sessions.

On Monday, the store will launch the “The Chicago Series,” a set of five programs, each with a different area of focus at the intersection of technology and liberal arts, hosted over the course of four weeks. Each program is co-created with local non-profits and creative organizations, and focuses on a theme or project designed to make a positive impact in the community.

• Accelerate Your Startup Idea with 1871 inspires participants to develop a startup business concept that will positively impact the City of Chicago and provides them solutions to turn their idea into a business. The selected finalist will receive ongoing support from 1871, a non-profit digital startup incubator, and Apple.

• Participants in Create Collaborative Art will contribute to the creation of a new piece of work with local artist Theaster Gates and the Black Monks of Mississippi, a Chicago-based performance art ensemble.

• Prototype a Civic App with BLUE 1647 encourages everyone to learn how to conceive and design an app concept that serves community needs, rewarding the top app developer with ongoing mentorship from BLUE 1647, a local tech innovation center, and Apple.

• Photograph Chicago with VSCO teaches aspiring and established photographers how to capture the subtleties of neighborhoods and the people who live there. The best work will be featured at a future Today at Apple program in Chicago and on VSCO’s social media channels.

• Cultivate Your Voice with Young Chicago Authors leads participants on a journey of telling stories and defining their voice through poetry, graffiti and rap. Following this program, “The Chicago Series” will wrap with a slam poetry open mic night with Kevin Coval, a leading voice in Chicago’s music community.

“The Chicago Series” builds on the existing Today at Apple programming, which includes free daily sessions across photography, music creation, art and design, coding and entrepreneurship. This month, Apple will launch a dozen new Today at Apple sessions including Kid’s Hour: Book Club, Street-Style Photography and Teacher Tuesday: Coding with Swift. Today at Apple programming is available in all Apple Stores around the world.

Apple Michigan Avenue opens Friday, October 20 at 5 p.m. Registration for “The Chicago Series” and Today at Apple events is available at

MacDailyNews Take: Congrats, Chicagoans!


  1. If you can dodge the bullets in the Democrat Party paradise of Chicago to get there…

    Hopefully Jony used BULLETPROOF GLASS.

    Chicago 2017 Year to Date:

    • Shot & Killed: 529
    • Shot & Wounded: 2,511
    • Total Shot: 3,040
    • Total Homicides: 568

    Ineffective and indifferent Mayor of Murderville: Rahm Emanuel (Democrat)

      1. You might want to check your facts. Unlike most other large American cities, Chicago has no enforceable local gun laws. The courts struck them down some years ago. The city operates under general Illinois law, which isn’t particularly restrictive.

    1. Most dangerous states: Alaska, New Mexico, Nevada, Tennessee, Louisiana, South Carolina…

      The “red states”…led by GOP…are consistently the ones with the most violent crimes.

      And even in areas like Chicago with their crimes, one has to realize that the population density makes for more crime. Overall, Chicago is a beautiful city. Apple wouldn’t build there if it wasn’t safe, nor would all of the other businesses that invest there.

      But the bottom line is this: crime is complex, and it is rather simplistic to once again turn this into a partisan issue. It seems that’s the way things go these days with everything.

          1. No, bad or mentally ill people with guns kill people. You still haven’t figured that out yet? Good people with guns protect others even the misinformed like you. Bad guys with guns will never obey any fun laws you pass. Seems as though the gangs in Chicago prove my point. On another note Ahrendts is the worst T. Cook decision other than buying Beats for $Billions.

            1. No, I work in a hospital. I see more suicides, accidental discharges, hunting accidents and such than bad guys capped by a “good guy with a gun”.
              I am not anti-gun, but I am for licensure, mandatory insurance, background checks for all sales, qualification (so we know you know how to use it, reduce a jam and unload it safely), etc.
              We require people to keep a license, prove ability (driver’s test), keep insurance for liability and prove capability (eye and hearing) for a car or truck precisely because of it’s potential to damage life and/or property. The Second Amendment does not preclude any of that.
              Your weapons should also be taxed as property.

            2. Suicides-Personal decision that will happen with it without guns.
              Accidental discharges-Penalize everyone for the stupidity of a few.
              Hunting accidents-Penalize everyone for the stupidity of a few.
              You intentionally left out good guys and bad guys shot by bad guys.
              You’re not anti-gun but very heavy on gun control. Bad guys ignore ALL gun control laws. I’m sure they’ve only happily follow all your suggestions especially the one about paying a tax on their guns. I hear their lining up to do just that.
              Your examples come from a very small sample. Not everyone goes to a hospital especially those who have sadly committed suicide using many different methods.
              Hey, lets create laws to CONTROL heroin, fentanyl, and opioid use. Oh, right, we already do and how’s that working?

            3. Well gosh if laws don’t work we should just give up on all laws and just let the strongest gorillas of the jungle survive. That’s clearheaded thinking right there.

    2. Wow, botty. Look at all of that gun violence! And you appear to be claiming that it happened because of Democrats? That policies of the Democrats somehow caused this gun-aggedon?

      I am not against guns, per se. i like to target shoot and I can appreciate the design and aesthetic qualities of their mechanisms. I am not a hunter, but I have no problem at all with hunters who do so legally and utilize their prey for food.

      However, I do believe that the U.S. should reform its gun control laws. It is a reasonable and logical position given the history of gun violence and homicide and suicide data in the U.S. over many decades. Guns are not somehow special and sacrosanct relative to the other Constitutional Amendments. Even free speech and free press, the most fundamental of rights, in may opinion, have limits.

    3. You do not politicize stuff much, do you?

      By the way- in the United States it is the Democratic Party- not the Democrat Party. Just as it is the Republican Party – not the Republic Party.

      You wur home skewelled, rhayat?

  2. Or the republican progress of systematically degrading inner city populations specifically minorities by deliberately funneling in drugs to create addicts and destroying the progress they were making in the early 70s.

    Get your politics off here or far more intelligent people with an actual understanding of history and politics destroy your opinions with facts and realities you never bothered to be aware of.

  3. Fact: Chicago is big, very big…#3 in size
    Fact: Per-capita, it ranks 21st in murder rate
    Fact: Flint, Mich ranks #1 (62 murders per 100K — Source: FBI)
    Fact: 44% of Flint voters supported Trump

  4. liked Chicago the last time I was there. My girlfriend now wife did her Masters there…

    Nice waterfront areas, mind boggling view from top of the Sears (Willis) Tower.

    Like the look of the New Apple Store from the photos. As an artist I think it’s quite elegant…

    All that said…

    um.. the Mac Pro (their flagship high end Mac) and Mac Mini that are going to be on those new state of the art display cases were last updated from 2013 or 2014.
    Some people are going to go in there and ‘oh and ah’ over the architecture , walk up to those Macs and laugh their heads off…
    (imagine a car dealership trying to sell a car model that was 5 years old as new ).
    unless of course they don’t show those Macs at all.

    No I’m not a hater , I’m a hardcore Apple user ( Mac Pros , MBPs, iPad Pro 12.9, iPhone 7 plus) and a aapl investor: I just think with a company Apple’s size they could do BOTH, walk and chew gum at same time : the architecture AND update their products.

    btw: all those programs are interesting but Apple’s online presence is pretty weak. They could be running weekly videos, for example teaching people to streamline and creatively use their Macs etc.

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