The Apple Store in Soho, New York / Getty Images

Company has been seeking to position itself as a luxury brand, as well as a tech one

Apple Stores could be about to see a major new redesign that could see them stacked with “living plantlife” and TVs ahead of the launch of the new iPhone.

The company has kept the look of its famous stores largely similar since they were introduced in the early 2000s. But a major and long-rumoured new redesign could see them change dramatically.

The new stores will feature new product displays, big TVs and “living plantlife”, as well as similar sounding big glass fronts, granite panels on the outside, oak tables and window displays that can be changed. Those details were found by 9to5mac in planning permission discussions about one of the new Apple Stores, in Memphis.

“Our project is the next generation of retail store that we’re rolling out, and that’s the design concept that we have – and we’re really excited because this is going to be one of the first, if it’s approved, that we build,” Apple’s senior director of development Rick Millitello told the Germantown Design Review Commission, according to reports.

The Apple Store on London’s Regent Street – probably the company’s most famous store in the UK – already seems to be undergoing a redesign. Much of the shop is now closed off, with sales happening in a small section at the side.

It seems likely that Apple would look to have those redesigns completed ahead of the launch of the iPhone 6s, which will be introduced at what is set to be a huge event next week. The new phones are expected to go on sale in mid-September.

The company has already promised that despite the relatively muted release of the Apple Watch, its 'blockbuster' launches aren't over and would likely be held once again for the new iPhone. Since the Regent Street store is usually a central point for those celebrations – featuring long queues outside and enthusiastic shop assistants inside – the company is likely to have finished the upgrades by then.




In a New Yorker profile earlier this year, design head Jony Ive was revealed to be working on a complete redesign of the shops. He is working on that project with Angela Ahrendts – the ex-Burberry executive who now heads Apple’s retail operations – and it is likely to be a part of Apple’s increased focus on pitching itself as a luxury rather than just technology brand.

Ive’s focus on redesigning was also referenced when he was promoted into his new role as “Chief Design Officer” – a job for which the responsibilities are still not entirely known. Introducing that change, Tim Cook said that Ive’s “design responsibilities have expanded from hardware and, more recently, software UI to the look and feel of Apple retail stores, our new campus in Cupertino, product packaging and many other parts of our company”.

The design of the Apple Stores has been partly credited with the success of the modern Apple. Looking largely the same across the world, the company uses them to show off and sell its phones, iPads, computers and other products, as well as third-party accessories.

The stores have already been undergoing small redesigns in recent weeks, including a reduction in the amount of accessories sold and the removal of the “Smart Signs” that showed information to customers on special iPads.