Apple tried to recreate the fanfare that accompanied the opening of the Sydney CBD Apple Store, but in a suburban mall it all felt out of place.
Apple Store Chatswood Chase opened on Saturday morning, bringing the designer glamour to a suburb where designer outlets are par for the course. While the Sydney city store
brought a unique style to the Apple Store concept, the Chatswood store could have been sent to Australia from their store factory. That’s not to disparage the store — like a MacBook or iPod, it is a design that works well in any setting.
The crisp, minimal room houses all the same gear you’ll find in the Sydney CBD store, plus a Genius Bar, workshops and the excellent one-to-one training programs that set Apple’s in-store service apart from the competition. Everything is here on a smaller scale.
But for the launch itself, Apple looked to recreate the excitement of the city store opening, and this left things looking over the top. The queue was much shorter to get in on the launch action, which makes sense — this is a suburban opening, and was unlikely to attract fans from across the entire city like the first.
At opening, the cheering began in earnest and continued as the line of eager customers passed through the entrance, scoring their commemorative T-shirts as they went. An honour guard of staff high fived, clapped and cheered the arrivals as they went — good fun and good spirit all around.
But as things passed the ten-minute mark, the continued cheers became artificial. With a steady trickle of ongoing customer arrivals it was clear the staff were under strict orders to keep the cheers coming.
By the thirty minute mark 280 was the count of customers through the doors, which by most measures should have felt an impressive number for the opening of a small outlet in a neighbourhood mall. But the cheers were yet to subside, and with the crowd thinning the ongoing experience was shifting from festive to one that only gave credence to the pejorative ‘cult of Mac’ accusations.
Without the stunning façade and CBD location, the clapping, whooping and cheering just seemed so out of place. Customers in a café located not ten metres from the store were clearly becoming annoyed with the hyperbolic scene. Some might even say it felt very ‘American’. And that’s something the Apple aesthetic would rarely be accused of.