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Apple Kawasaki Open, director in charge talks about what the Apple Store should be

The new Apple store “Apple Kawasaki” will open at Lazona Kawasaki Plaza, a large shopping mall directly connected to JR Kawasaki Station on Saturday morning, December 14th. I would like to check what kind of concept the store was created and where Apple Kawasaki has its unique appeal, while interviewing senior US vice president, Dr. Diadra O'Brien, who oversees Apple Store. .

  • Mr. Diadora O'Brien [right], who came to Japan with Apple's CEO Tim Cook [left], asked Apple Kawasaki's aim ahead of opening

The ceiling is not high, but the uniqueness of the Apple Store remains

Unlike Apple Omotesando and Apple Fukuoka stores, which have high ceilings and huge glass walls [glass exterior walls], Apple Kawasaki has a major difference in that it is located in a large shopping mall. However, when I stepped into the door, I was wrapped in the same atmosphere as the usual Apple Store. Mr. O'Brien says, “I finished the same interior design as Apple stores around the world.”

  • Apple Kawasaki has a store in the prime location of Lazona Kawasaki Plaza, a large shopping mall directly connected to JR Kawasaki Station. The wall is occupied by a large glass wall and you get the impression that the inside of the store is connected to the outside

  • The layout of the store follows the current Apple store. During the sunny day, the sun was shining through the large glass wall and I got a very bright impression. The floor is a single floor

In particular, Mr. O'Brien's appeal was the presence of the “forum” that characterizes the new Apple Store. We have several cube-shaped stools made of wood and leather stools so that you can enjoy a Today at Apple session on the large video wall in front of you. When a session is not open, customers can use it to consult with staff and take a break freely. The creation of a store where people gathered at the center of the store was well inherited by Apple Kawasaki.

  • A forum with a large video wall. A cube-shaped stool is prepared, and it sits like a bench on the street corner and takes a break

Invite a family to call a programming lecture

Compared to stores such as Apple Ginza and Apple Omotesando in the city center, Apple Kawasaki is close to Bedtown and is located in a shopping mall that is visited by families on weekends. Mr. O'Brien says, “Target customers are different from the flagship stores in the city.”

Apple Kawasaki's main target is a family group with children. Mr. O'Brien says children and grandparents have created a store that makes the whole family want to visit.

Various free sessions of “Today at Apple” are held every day in the store. Other Apple stores also hold sessions on how to take photos, make music, draw pictures, programming, etc. Apple Kawasaki is a programming related program where you can learn coding as a special program in December immediately after opening. I am excited to have greatly enriched the session.

  • Apple programming is the focus of the Today at Apple session in Kawasaki. Swift Playgrounds and other apps that anyone can use for free and sessions using iPad

  • Field trips for school students are also open, and if you apply at school, you can experience them for free. The photo shows a fourth-year student at Morimura Gakuen Elementary School who experienced a field trip at Apple Kawasaki before opening

The contents are also for AR [Augmented Reality] programming course “[AR] T Lab: Let's Experience Augmented Reality” using iPad free app “Swift Playgrounds” and for preschoolers aged 3-5 We offer a wide range of content and target age groups, such as the basic course of coding “Basics of Learning Code with 'Helpsters”.

In 2020, it has been decided that programming education will be compulsory at elementary schools, and in the political world, there is a voice saying “Let's introduce one computer and one tablet at school”. As a result, parents with children are certainly more interested in programming, and an increasing number of families think they want to get used to programming. For such parents, the Today at Apple session, where professional staff will teach programming iroha for free and fun, will be attractive.

O'Brien said, “We have more than 250 sessions for coding, so that many people can learn the basics of coding for free. Expected.

By the way, the logo of the Apple Kawasaki logo is made of colorful parts of various shapes. This is based on the image of building blocks, and the hiragana notation of the store name is aimed at getting the child friendly. Again, it can be said that it clearly represents the target audience.

  • Apple Kawasaki logo. A colorful building block pattern and the Apple Store's first hiragana notation are adopted, making it feel friendly

Did you choose Lazona Kawasaki because there is Bic Camera?

BicCamera from a consumer electronics retailer is in Lazona Kawasaki Plaza where Apple Kawasaki is located. Did you choose Lazona Kawasaki Plaza because of the presence of a BicCamera that attracts customers? In addition, I asked if Apple Kawasaki is thinking about separating the purchase of products and accessories from the BicCamera with an emphasis on the experience such as Today at Apple.

All of O'Brien's responses were clearly “no”. Lazona Kawasaki Plaza is attractive because it attracts people of various generations in a beautiful shopping mall. He also stressed that Apple respects each person's thoughts and that it is best to buy them not only at Apple Kawasaki, but also at stores and online shops that they wanted to buy. After that, he said, “If you come to a directly managed store such as Apple Kawasaki, our passionate and unique staff will be able to help you experience rich experiences.”

What are your plans for opening new stores in Japan in 2020?

For the past two years, Apple has expanded its domestic Apple store at an unusual rate. In 2019, Apple Marunouchi was newly opened in September, Apple Fukuoka was relocated in September, and the flagship store Apple Omotesando was renewed in September. Including Apple's Kawasaki in December, 4 stores have been newly opened and renewed. In 2018, we opened Apple Shinjuku and Apple Kyoto and renewed Apple Shibuya.

  • Apple Marunouchi

  • Apple Fukuoka

  • Apple Omotesando

  • Apple Shinjuku

  • Apple Kyoto

  • Apple Shibuya

“There is no doubt that the pace of store openings in Japan over the past two years has been outstanding compared to other countries around the world. I was really excited every time I opened a new store in Japan. The Japanese team was particularly reliable. “We are proud and will continue to strengthen our relationships so that those who come to the store can have a wonderful experience.”

In 2020, when we asked if we would continue to open stores in Japan at the pace we had before, “We continue to look for the best location so that we can offer great services and experiences to more people. " Specifically, we couldn't get a comment on how many stores to open in Japan, but there seems to be a possibility that stores other than the city center will open like Apple Kawasaki.

Apple Kawasaki will open at 10am on December 14th. On the day, you will receive a souvenir with an original tote bag on a first-come-first-served basis, so please come early. Today at Apple sessions may be full, but if you cancel, you may be able to jump in.

  • A souvenir that will be presented on a first-come-first-served basis on December 14 of the opening day. The tote bag is a solid material with a wide gusset, so it can be used practically

Incidentally, Tim Cook and Mr. O'Brien, who came to Japan, also participated in the field trip of Rikkyo Elementary School held in Apple Marunouchi. At first, Cook was watching from behind, but he seemed relaxed throughout the day, such as moving to a vacant seat in front and talking to the children and enjoying a programming session together.

  • Tim Cook CEO suddenly appeared and made a fuss about Apple Marunouchi. Cook CEO turns smiles on children taking photos with iPads rented for field trips

  • Cook's CEO with a relaxed expression in a busy schedule every minute while visiting Japan

  • Mr. O'Brien also smiled at the happy child

  • During the session, he hit his shoulders and looked back and Cook CEO was in the back seat and the appearance of a surprised child

  • The students enjoyed programming field trips with a lot of smiles


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