Apple’s new retail head needs to fix the biggest problem with Apple Retail Stores

“There are many things to love about Apple Stores. The designs are great. Either funky and modern, with loads of glass and natural light, or a respectful yet contemporary conversion of a classical building,” Ben Lovejoy writes for 9to5Mac. “You can freely play with the products, without any sales pressure. If you have questions, there will generally be someone who knows the answer.”

“But there’s one big problem that afflicts almost every Apple Store I’ve ever visited: the horrendous over-crowding,” Lovejoy writes. “The design and lack of sales pressure should make Apple’s retail stores pleasant places to visit. But the crazy busy-ness of them makes a store visit instead something of an ordeal.”

“Instead of a leisurely play with the latest tech, you have to fight your way through the crowds just to get near it, and are then hemmed in on all sides by other people waiting impatiently for their turn,” Lovejoy writes. “From Apple’s perspective, you could say this is a good problem to have… But it’s definitely not a good problem from a customer perspective. And that also makes it a bad problem for Apple’s long-term future. If people come into the stores and have a bad experience, that damages the brand.”

“The simple solution would be more stores,” Lovejoy writes. “If I were Deidre O’Brien, expanding the number of existing stores in major cities – and opening new ones in states which have large populations nowhere near a store – would be my number one priority.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yup. Plus the noise issue is a direct result of designing without regard for acoustics — not a good look (or sound) for the company that designed the HomePod much less trying to demo HomePods in stores with awful acoustics.

We just wish the smaller stores had a quieter place for these programs to take place; some Apple Stores are so noisy it’ll be hard to conduct the classes. Some Apple Stores really need fewer acoustically “shiny” surfaces and more sound-absorbing materials!MacDailyNews, April 25, 2017

Two things additional things about Apple Retail Stores: One, a constant since inception, is that the stores are overly acoustically “bright” making them extremely loud. Hard floors, glass, hard ceilings; it can get deafening. In smaller stores, this makes hearing instructors’ classes, or even staff members more difficult than it should be. Some acoustical design (sound deadening) would go a long, long way to making the stores more comfortable overall. Secondly, the stores are increasingly more crowded – a nice problem to have – which is obviously recognized as an issue as we see Apple expanding stores pretty much wherever they can. (Just don’t forget the acoustics! Quieter stores will seem less crowded, even if they actually aren’t.)MacDailyNews, August 16, 2018

More stores, please to spread out the demand and make the experience less of a loud*, crowded frenzy and more relaxed.

*Much more attention to acoustical damping — please! — too many Apple Retail Stores are far too acoustically bright. Communication in Apple Stores is often a painful chore due to crowd noise bouncing off too many hard surfaces. These acoustically annoying experience could and should be mitigated.MacDailyNews, February 8, 2019


  1. Zerorandy says it’s another Apple failure that will lead to more expensive stores selling even more expensive tech to people. Yep, whichever way you look at it, Tim’s a genuine and I’m just some moronic anainymous phuqq crticiscing sh!t i don’t understand online.

  2. My nearest city has a world-leading university, million-seller car plant, an executive-jet airport, creatives by the zillion, high-tech industries all over – but NO Apple Store.
    Too bizarre for words: what has Apple got against Oxford?

  3. Putting a conch up to one’s ear allows a person to hear the ocean. An Apple Store is a conch shell and the person is inside it. Enjoy the sounds that people (which includes you) make inside the store or else wear ear plugs.

  4. I’ve always regarded Apple stores as the Frank Lloyd Wright of retail. Beautiful but also aggravating sometimes.

    The noise problem – I believe it’s a problem – seemed to have been intentional…to give customers a sense of excitement. It usually sounds like being inside a BART station.

    I’ve bought a lot of stuff at Best Buy and B&H to avoid visiting Apple stores.

    In the end, however, it’s about the product. Given how great Apple products have worked for me, I’d visit if a store was the only way to buy Apple.

  5. I used to like visiting the store many years ago, but dread having to visit for any reason now. Crowded, extremely noisy, long wait times for products from the back. It has become a 3 ring circus. Or like a visit to the dentist.

  6. All Apple needs to do is open small simple non-fancy repair outlets that also sell accessories. Just a place to talk to a service person, drop it off and come back when your item ready.
    Leave the big fancy new store for new big purchases.

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