“When it comes to Apple stores, they’ve long been regarded as a fundamental pillar of the Apple experience. Malls still beg for an Apple store to open, because it changes the tone of the neighborhood,” Chris Matyszczyk writes for ZDNet. “Apple stores have, though, themselves changed. Yes, there are still the glorious flagship stores, monuments to understated taste and an overabundance of noise.”

“From this consumer’s point of view, there seem to have been few meaningful innovations. The last, perhaps, involved the disappearance of the physical Genius Bar,” Matyszczyk writes. “A departed Apple store manager offered me his inside view of the ups, the downs and the slight disappointments of a long period of Apple history.”

“‘In my opinion, the golden age of Apple retail was during Ron Johnson’s tenure,’ he told me. There was explosive growth and Apple Stores were truly unique and innovative in the retail space,” Matyszczyk writes. “Once Johnson left, however, there was the torment of John Browett. ‘These were the darker Middle Ages,’ said my source… Browett lasted slightly longer than the average flu.”

“In came Angela Ahrendts, revered in the fashion world. It seemed that she was having an effect on the stores. She wanted them to become town squares, though how this might lessen the din in the store or improve the retail experience was somewhat unclear,” Matyszczyk writes. “My source explained: ‘Angela Ahrendts was supposed to be the Renaissance that never quite was. We were getting conflicting direction on a semi-regular basis and a lot of new initiatives on what seemed like a weekly basis. Nothing seemed to quite stick.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Matyszczyk’s source isn’t too keen on the prospects for a return to greatness under Apple’s head of HR, and now retail, too, Deirdre O’Brien. Hopefully he’s wrong. One thing’s for sure, at least in mall stores, a simple addition could make the experience better for everyone involved: Some attention to acoustics is required where none seems to have been given to date.

Trying to offer free classes is ridiculous if you can’t hear due to the incessant, yet needless overly-bright din. You may not be able to easily make the stores less crowded, but you certainly can make them less acoustically bright and therefore less annoyingly loud.

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

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Angela Ahrendts is again Apple’s best-paid employee – December 29, 2017
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Apple’s new retail chief Ahrendts granted $68 million in restricted stock – May 6, 2014