Apple experiments with 'Express' store to limit COVID risks

The walled-off store offers pickup and Genius Bar service.


Apple is experimenting with how its stores work in the wake of COVID-19, creating a new format of store called Apple Express. 9to5Mac reports that the format is currently being trialled at the company’s location in Burlingame, California. The existing store has been walled off, with a small window left for staffers to serve a single customer at a time.

Customers who have pre-ordered a product online can, after waiting in line, grab their purchase, while genius bar appointments are handled at another window. As the report states, this is a rough-and-ready experiment, without the level of polish you would expect from Apple. But as the pandemic continues, being able to offer even a limited level of service will help keep Apple’s customers happy.

What will be interesting is how Apple chooses to tackle the infamous long lines that normally greet the advent of a new iPhone. We’re not expecting to hear anything about that at today’s event, but it’s likely that the company will need a plan in place when its new smartphones launch in the next few months. After all, Tim Cook probably doesn’t want people gathering in groups outside Apple Stores for hours on end.