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Tag Archives: Store

Edinburgh Apple Store Grand Opening

I know I’m really late in posting about the Grand Opening of the Apple Store, Princes Street, Edinburgh but as I was lucky enough to be there and take some photos, I thought it’s about time I wrote something about it.


I arrived about an hour before the opening time, but despite this, the queue was not as long as I had anticipated.

The queue was separated between people wanting to purchase the new iPhone 6 (or 6 Plus) [shortish queue] and those wanting to see the shiny new store, who formed a long, winding queue which snaked in front of the building next door with a small brea , for the lane that runs down the side of the store, to allow traffic to pass.

The queue was well mannered as usual and despite the cold Scottish wind (luckily the rain had stopped by this time), the queue was well mannered and cheery. After speaking to a few people in the queue and overhearing some conversations, it appeared to me that the latter half of the queue had never attended an Apple Store opening before and most were a bit bemused by the situation, but realised that it was all part of the experience.

As with the other Grand Openings, which I’ve had the opportunity to attend, Starbucks staff were on hand with a smile on their faces and a small warming hot chocolate or coffee to keep everyone’s spirits up.

Just before opening the sound of bagpipes filled the air and the Apple Store staff came out to welcome everyone with a quick procession around the queue, clapping and cheering everyone who had been waiting for so long.

The security staff. who were managing the queue, were friendly and well mannered despite spending hours on site after setting up the barriers in the rain earlier in the morning. Their simple pass system for ensuring that no one was able to ‘skip’ the queue, as the queue passed over the lane beside the store, worked really well and appeared to also being utilised for those waiting in line for iPhones at the same point in their queue.

Once beside the store, the sheer vastness and open clean design of the store was evident, even with the crowds of fans and staff who had already filled the ground floor of the store.

A short wait later and I was finally passing through the glass doors and getting the customary high fives from the corridor of staff that welcome you into every Grand Opening as you grab the opening day t-shirt (I’m still surprised that some of the fans in the queue didn’t know about what would happen and that the t-shirts are only available in one size, to the first 1000 to enter the store).

Once in the store I had a quick look round and realised that the ground floor was a bit too crowded for me. After bumping into a regular face at these events and a short chat, I was soon heading to the side of the store and up the beautiful staircase (no glass this time) to the bright, clean and airy upstairs, which I believe is the Genius’ area (although there didn’t appear to be a Genius Bar )


Upstairs was a lot quieter and had space for the children’s area, Genius area, Training area, loads of accessories and all the stuff you find at the back of the ‘mall’ Apple Stores (or Upstairs in Glasgow’s Buchanan St Apple Store).


The look of the store really caught my eye, from the aluminium air conditioning ducts, floating from the ceiling, to the amazing staircase (which I kept taking pictures of – a bad habit of mine [see my Flickr account] ) and the sense of light and space, which was ever present, even on what could be the busiest day of the store.


Looking out the first floor window, I could see the Apple flag curled round the flag pole and even an hour after the store opened (yes it took me that long to get in and have a look round – Something my long suffering better half was a bit unhappy about as she sat patiently in McDonald’s up the road) the queue was as long, if not longer, than it had been when I had joined it initially.

Unlike other Grand Openings, it stuck
me how busy the store was. There
were Genius Appointments happening within an hour of the store opening (if not before) and there was a clear demand for the new iPhone 6 / 6 Plus, which is something I’ve not really noticed before, at least not on the same scale.

Hopefully my photos will do the store justice, but I would recommend a visit if you’re in Edinburgh.

I’ll certainly be back in the Edinburgh Apple Store when I’m next in the capital and maybe next time I’ll get a better feel for what the store is really like, without all the clamour of the Grand Opening.

If you want to find out more about the history of the Edinburgh Apple Store, I would suggest checking out Gary Allen’s blog “IFOAppleStore” (IFO=In Front Of) which details the rumours about the Edinburgh Apple Store over the past decade as well as interesting details on many of the Apple Stores throughout the world and other info on that Apple fans may find as interesting as I do.


12 Days

For the past few years, those in the know have managed to get free treats from Apple via the “12 Days of Christmas” App for iOS devices (available in the App Store)

With this App Apple give “gifts” from the 26th December to the 6th January (12 days). These gifts can be in the of Apps (games, tools and utilities), Music or Films & TV shows.

In the past they have (in the UK at least) given away a Kyle EP, BBC Top Gear TV episode, Father Ted XMAS special, part 1 of BBC Doctor Who XMAS special, Top
selling Games such as Mirror’s Edge and so much more.

For those in the know it’s a great way to get free stuff for your iOS device every year.

Apple are a bit sneaky about the software, Each year (for the past few years) they have released a new version of the software that you have to download (ie if you have last years version you don’t automatically upgrade to this years version).

If you are lucky enough to have downloaded the App before the start of the promotional period, Apple have ,for a few years , Provided an extra gift as a special ‘thank you’ so it’s worth getting the updated app as soon as it’s available.

So when’s this years App due to be released? Well I just checked and this years “12 Days” (full name this year is “12 Days of gifts” ) appears to have arrived in the App Store on the 10th December.

I’ve just downloaded it and this years app opens and asks for your region for the iTunes Store (incase people are traveling over the festive season?). The app has moved from the blue and white winter theme to a black and gold theme, making it look more like a high end present, rather than a winter gift.

I’ll keep you updated when I know more…

MacWorld (UK) recently wrote an Interesting article on the 12 Days App for 2013 (and a recap of last years “Gifts”)

Disabling access to Apple

I can’t be the only one who has noticed the lack of facilities for disabled users at Appe Stores?

I may have missed something, or maybe Apple Stores have the facilities such as adjustable height tables or devices such as brail displays stored in Genius Bar or in the warehouse in the back. But if they are there, why are they hidden away?

I’ve had an interest in disabled access since I helped blind Windows PC users who used Jaws screen reader to navigate the screen, with a flat bed scanner and OCR (Optical Character Recodnition) software to read mail that had been sent to them, which was not in their preferred brail format.

There are such a wide range of devices that help people with accessibility issues and I’m aware that Apple include technologies such as Siri, vibration ringtones, Large print and that’s just on iOS devices. OSX has loads of options that help, but I don’t feel that these are promoted in the stores or even enabled on the devices in store to promote these options.

I even went into one of the Apple Stores to ask about the accessibility options for the iPad when a family member had issues communicating, unfortunately the staff had not received the relevant training and I never did learn what I needed to know.

I know that Apple have free “workshop” training on Accessibility for OS X and also iOS available at Apple stores, however when I’ve looked it’s always been scheduled for during the day, so it’s not convenient for me and as such I can’t advise if the training is any good.

So how accessible are Apple stores? The stores appear to have enough space for wheel chairs, but what about everything else? If anyone knows anything further, please feel free to contact me and I’ll update this article accordingly.

When selling is not an option

Anyone that knows anything about Apple Stores know that they are different and they have always been different from the very first store.

Many people say that they are not about making sales, but is that really the case? Is there something more, hidden beneath the surface?

Before I go on, I would like to state for the record that I have never worked in an Apple Store, and considering some of my postings in here I probably never will. At one time I would have gladly worked in an Apple Store ( I even went to a few interviews ), but I can no longer see that being a possibility now and as I post more about Apple I can see my chances diminishing.

So, Apple Stores are known for being light, bright, clean & airy stores with loads of products on view and enough staff so that you can get help whenever you need it, but the staff are not there to sell, they are only to help, advise and guide. Well that’s the theory. Some postings on Yelp have said that the staff have been so ‘hands off’ that they have struggled to purchase goods in the store.

Not many people realise that what Apple are really doing is what sales people have been trained to do for years. In my past (it’s not on my CV) I was quickly trained by a TimeShare sales manager during a period of unemployment, when I was trying to help a small Glasgow company create a new line of products ( Boxed teddy bears with high quality chocolates. An experience that slowly descended into selling electrical items around pubs & small shops – not my finest hour and something I wasn’t good at).

Some people reading this are probably thinking “what are you talking about, Apple don’t sell in their stores”.. Well lets look at my training:

  • Find the customers needs and desires.
  • Find out the barriers to the user purchasing the item.
  • Get the customer to handle & use the product ( stimulates ownership).
  • Get the customer to envision how their life would be better with the product.
  • Minimise negative feelings about the product.
  • Emphasise the positives and reinforce the customers ownership of the product.

If you have been into an electrical retailer you will probably recognise some of (if not all) these steps from being ‘accosted’ by sales staff trying to reach their monthly quota. Once you know about them you learn to be distrustful of the sales guys. I know I do, which is why I don’t do sales and don’t know (or associate myself with ) anyone who does.

So if you still can’t see how Apple sell at their Apple Stores here’s the reveal.

  • Apple products are out on display and any customer can pick them up and use them (ownership [3] )
  • The products are preloaded with Apple software and high end software from other vendors ( iPhoto, iWorks, iMovie, Final Cut, Toast, etc) ( , which allows customers to envisage how they use the product [ 3 & 6])
  • iPhoto, iMovie is full of life affirming photos and movies of sunny, fun, exciting, healthy US trips, vacations. Everyday events ( Birthdays, graduations, etc) all well lit, bright and exciting. ( envision a [better] life with the product [4])
  • Apple Specialists are then on hand to help guide you, finding out what you want to do, talking you through how the product works, finding common interests [1, 2, 5, 6]
  • Then there may be concerns over repairs. Apple care is mentioned.[5]
  • If there are still concerns over how to use the product, or how to learn more about Apps then there are the Workshops or if it’s something more specific then One-to-One training is mentioned. [2, 5 & 6]

Even the store layout is geared to sales of Apple products. All the products are on the tables or at the side of the room as you walk in, no obstructions, distractions just the products. Everything is open, accessible ( unless your disabled – but that’s for another post) and ready to use. Non apple products are kept to the back of the store ( in the Mall stores that I have seen) or away from the main floor, possibly close to the Genius Bar ( on another floor like Glasgow Buchanan Street, London Covent Garden and London Regent Street)

Do you still think that Apple don’t sell ?

If you need further justification, check out the mention of A.P.P.L.E. on Five Things To Noted From Visits To Apple Stores Whilst On My Holiday and
How to be a genius: This is apple’s secret employee training manual.

Saying all this, was it really a surprise that a retail store ( after all that’s what the Apple Store is) is trying to sell to you? Personally I don’t mind, I prefer the soft sell ( or just using the Apple Store app to get what I want via EasyPay).

Capital City. I was wrong!!

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…., Ok it was 2010 (in California ?) when Gary Allen of ( @ifostore ) first heard rumours of an Apple Store proposed for Edinburgh.

Moving on to last year, at the time of the lead up to the opening of the Braehead (Glasgow/Renfrewshire, Scotland ) Apple Store, I posted on here my view that I thought Edinburgh was a poor fit for Apple and that Princes St was nothing but a tourist trap.

As much as I still believe that parts of Edinburgh are still swamped with tourist shops full of tartan tat, I have seen a different side to the city over the past year or so.

I was recently at the Edinburgh festival to see a friend of my wife’s performance at the Assembly venue at the University. Just before leaving I saw the site of the proposed store, the insides ripped out of the building and only the outer shell showing ( have a good image of it ). It struck me that this is what happened when Apple created Scotland’s first Apple Store at Buchanan Street, Glasgow.

Now a smart, modern Apple Store could look out of place against the other stores in the street but when you see the recently covered steps out of Waverley Station, that lead almost straight up to the proposed site and the recent matching glass and metal walkways that bring the historic train station bang up to date and yet strangely mirroring the design of many Apple Stores, there appears to be some form of synergy.

Until recently I had also not realised that just down the road, round the corner and down the hill from the proposed site is the fairly recent Omni Centre. This glass fronted building plays host to a cinema, several bars and restaurant and a Virgin fitness centre and is the type of modern building that fits with my perception of the type of place Apple would be happy being located near.

So I admit it, I was wrong. An Apple store would look Awesome in Edinburgh and I hope it’s not too long before the poor old empty shell of a building is brought back into life with a shiny new Apple Store at it’s heart. I know I’ll be standing in line when it opens, tweeting as I wait patiently drinking my Starbucks hot chocolate (assuming that their staff are as accommodating as they were at Buchanan St & Braehead Apple
Store openings – thanks guys).

Check out all the rumours that have on proposed future Apple Store (including Edinburgh). Thanks Gary !!

Clicks & Mortar

Over Xmas my better half ordered a lot of our presents over the Internet, like most people do nowadays..

The problem, as I see it, with ordering stuff online is that you have to be in when the delivery arrives. As both of us work full time (and sometimes do overtime) we are seldom in when the delivery arrives.. Luckily we have great, trustworthy, neighbours who are kind enough to accept deliveries in our behalf.. Sometimes, however, we have had to wait until the weekend or a suitable evening to pick up the deliver from some depot in a trading / industrial estate or the local sorting office..

Now you could just look at this situation and say that that’s just the price you pay for cheep Internet goods, which would be fair enough but I realised something over the holidays..

We go shopping at the Glasgow Fort from time to time (other shopping centres are available) and noticed that stores such as HMV are busy with people looking at the large choice of goods in store, however most of the browsers do not buy the goods because they know that the same goods are available on line at a lower price, often from the same retailer ??!

So I Ask.. Why do these retailers do this? Could they not link the store to the online system? Could online users not be offered the same goods at their nearest store or an order online and it’s reserved in store, assuming that the store have the item. Why have two prices?

These stores must have a high overhead, but by charging more for their ‘real’ stores they are loosing business and having to pay for postage to the customer when they could have sold the item to the consumer in store.. could these stores not change their view of the way that they do business and view their ‘real’ stores more like a regional uplift and promotion centres, rather than the old style retail stores they used to be?

I used to love seeing Virgin Mega stores where you could listen to your music and try before you buy (I know that original independent record stores used to do this before Virgin). With all the competition online, ‘real’ stores need to do more to bring customers into their stores. Why just show iPad / iPhone speaker Docks? Consumers want to try them out! Remember the days when every electrical store had a Hi-Fi / Home Cinema room to let you try out the kit before you chose the one you wanted? You can’t do that online.

Bricks and mortar retail need to learn from the past, what worked and still works for the best retailers, yes I do mean take a lesson from the Apple store !!

The only store that I can think of in the UK, apart from Apple, that comes close to this idea is Argos. Argos allow you to order online and pick up in store for the same price even on the same day, unfortunately you can’t try the product (or even see it out the box) before you buy it..

Maybe I expect too much from my retail experience?

Since writing this blog, HMV in the UK collapsed, it’s website currently (March 2013) advises “As you probably know, HMV went into administration* on 15 January 2013 and therefore the website has been suspended and no purchases can be made online until further notice.”

I had a gift card for HMV and had gone to their website prior to the collapse and it was horrific. If you wanted music or DVD/BlueRay films you got details of the item (probably from IMDB or record company site etc) but if you wanted one of their electronic devices, such as iPod docking stations / memory card / iPhone accessories etc, then there was no information available, nothing – how the hell were you supposed to be able to make an informed decision you wanted the item? Where was the salesmanship, the draw to buy? I’m not surprised it went to the wall.(There are rumours it will be resurrected by record company execs & it’s existing suppliers, hopefully they will do a better job).

Thoughts on Apple Store Braehead Grand Opening

On Saturday at 9 am the Apple Store Braehead opened it’s shiny glass doors to the public for the Grand Opening.

The crowed was small but they were clearly Apple fans and some of the younger members of the queue were heard to mention that they would have liked to have worked in the store.

As with All Apple Store Grand openings you could hear the Apple Staff throughout the shopping centre and on numerous occasions I spotted shoppers wondering what the commotion was about as they peered down from the first floor balcony to the shiny new store below, looking bemused and confused by the event.

The Apple staff were in great spirits and some appeared to be leading their colleagues from the front of the corridor of blue t-shirts just inside the front of the store, creating a ripple of excitement (or in my wife’s case fear, as she hates Apple Store openings.. loves the products, likes the stores, loves the design of the non mall stores, but hates the hype) as each customer made their way from the queue into the new Store to claim their Opening Day t-shirt & Visitors Guide, a chance to gaze at the new store & the shiny new Apple products on offer within.

Something that summed up the opening for me was the kid that was getting photographed at the front of the store, I assume that he was first in the queue and won something. The kid was surrounded by the hyper Apple staff and was being photographed, but like a true Scottish kid, did he smile? No chance.. He looked like he was going to school when he had a test that day.. If I’d won something I’d have been bouncing off the ‘king walls..

Over the weekend it has struck me that there was a lack of press coverage.. no tweets from Braehead Shopping Centre (just double checked – only a few replies to others tweets about the store and a link to their store directory listing for the Apple store). The press that mentioned back in February / March that the store was coming didn’t appear to have a presence at the launch. Even the Internet appears to have passed on this store opening for the other Grand Openings in the US and Germany.

I know Braehead is not the most exciting place to have an Apple Store, but it’s our store, Renfrewshire’s Apple Store (despite the address showing Glasgow).. Well until the next Scottish store open anyways.. [looking at the rumours on]

I’ll post some photos when I’m back at my desktop Mac.. ( or check my Color feed) for those of you that are interested..

If your interested in finding out other people’s views on the Grand Opening see Colin Kell’s blog of the Grand Opening

Apple Store Braehead opening confirmed

Last night had a posting that they had noticed an update about the Apple Store Braehead was opening on Saturday the 17th September, unfortunately it appears that the change disappeared from Apple’s site as soon as it appeared.

This morning I noticed that again had updated to advise that the listing was now live on Apple’s site.

I can confirm that the listing is showing at and I have recently received an e-mail from Apple confirming the Grand opening on Saturday 17th at 9:00.

The new page for the Apple Store Braehead is now live on Apple’s UK retail store pages at

See you there 😉

Hunting High & Low

Since I first heard about Apple opening a store in Braehead I have periodically popped in to the shopping centre to play spot the store.

Early on I thought it may have been beside Marks & Spencer, but that wasn’t an ideal location and didn’t provide the store front that Apple have used for their other UK shopping centre based stores. As it turned out, it wasn’t the location, as it’s now an H&M.

Then I thought it would be in the centre section, which although the space looked small, appeared to fit as an ideal location with loads of natural light, loads of space outside the store for the massive opening queues and being close to the food hall, staff and customers could get a Costa coffee, a snack or lunch. Again these locations have now been filled.

On my last trip I started getting disheartened by the store fronts that were vacant, not what I would consider prime Apple Store locations. Although the stores that have been there for a while have moved about a bit recently, so maybe in a few store shuffles time, the ideal store may just appear.

My mind is now wandering to the possibility that the store could be built in the X-Scape part of Braehead, although if they did that, they would get the younger audience and people who go there to get a meal, watch a film or go on the SnoZone slope. I can’t see Apple placing there store there, unless they are trying to make a statement & shun the UK shopping centre fronts that they have used recently.

I have heard people suggesting that the store is going to be located in the old PC World unit, just outside the Shopping Centre, but it would then be a stand alone unit, squashed between Halfords and Dixons, not really a prime location and not one that I would have picked.

I’d love Apple to build a store from
scratch at Braehead, or renovate one of the old buildings that are dotted around outside of the centre, putting the Apple brand on the area, but I don’t think that that’s the intention, at least not at the present time.

So, with no nice Apple banners appearing in the area to shroud a fledgling store of the future and bringing excitement to the area and no visible hints yet, I guess I’ll have to continue visiting Braehead to play my game of cat & mouse.

Either I’ll spot something or I’ll be standing in the queue awaiting the store opening, whenever that may be.


After an accidental stumbling on the SkyScraperCity site It appears that there are indications that the Apple Store will take the spot vacated by GAP [although the posting is from 2010]. Cross referencing this information with another site it appears that the store will be at 8 Braehead Shopping Centre ?. That puts the store next to ‘The Officers club’ at 10, Wallis Fashion Group at 7 & Bay Trading at 6.
If my memory serves me correctly, this is where Braehead currently have a renovation barrier which said something like ‘ making way for a new exciting store’.. So the clues appear to be pointing in the same direction? Only time will tell..

Update 04/09/2011:

I have recently been informed that a store front that has been getting some work done on it is now displaying the Apple logo.

After a quick look online brought up a link to, which has a picture ( see the [Barricade] link) of what I have recently suspected to be the site of the new Braehead Apple Store . The original plain black hoarding has now got the Apple logo and Apple’s UK URL added, indicating that the launch should be soon. On the home page is a suggestion [see ‘Grand Opening Schedule’ at the top right] that the store could launch on Saturday the 10th September. There is no official posting of this date on the Apple UK website at this time.

[Update 09/09/2011]

Earlier in the week I posted (On my Twitter Acount, via Color ) a few quick photos of the hoarding that is currently up around the location of the new store, Whilst there I did a quick check for any telltale Wi-Fi signals that would indicate that the store was ready for launch, nothing apparent showed.

Still no sign of an official Apple opening date. are now showing a possible opening of the 17th.

Personally I have heard from different sources that Apple are currently recruiting for weekend or possibly part time staff (sounds like 1st interviews), whether this is for the Braehead or Glasgow store I’m not sure at this point & it could be that these are XMas positions? If they are for the new store then I would then put the opening date as sometime during September weekend (local Public Holiday weekend Friday 23rd – Monday 26th) Which has always been my preferred date (those who know me know why) If so it should be a good weekend.

Update 14/09/2011

Apple have finally announced the Grand opening of the Apple Store Braehead on Saturday the 17th September. A new Apple Store page has now gone live on Apple’s UK retail Stores area (see my blog page ‘Apple Store Braehead opening confirmed’)

Looking to the future

As anyone that reads my blog is aware I’m a bit of an Apple Fanboy, so it’s no surprise that I regularly follow rumours on the proposed future Apple product developments, taking everything with a pinch of salt (as you have to with any rumours).

I have recently been looking on the Internet to see if there are any further rumours about the proposed (ie reported in the Scottish press) Apple Store in Braehead.

During my trawl, I found a page from the Paisley Daily Express that appeared to indicate that Apple are considering an Edinburgh store in Princess St?? I also found an older website that also had this suggestion (although it also suggested East Kilbride) and this has got me thinking..

Just to justify my comments for a second, I like the hidden parts of Edinburgh with it’s Indy record stores and quirky little shops (I miss the Chocolatier that used to be near the Scottish Parliament – cracking choice of hot chocolate), but there’s too much tourist tat and the parking is horrendous. East Kilbride is Ok, but it’s not got anything you can’t get in Glasgow and the old parts of the shopping centre are feeling very dated the last time I was there ( which was some time ago, so to be honest it may have improved?)

Going back to my original point, could there be places in Scotland that Apple could open stores, places like Edinburgh and East Kilbride that have tried to pull their shopping streets and shopping centres up from their bootstraps, but struggled because of the economy. Could Apple use their retail magic to turn these pumpkins into crystal coaches and bring other big names to cinderella’s ball like they did with Regents St, London?

On a Personally note, I would love Apple to open a store in the Glasgow Fort, partially because it’s on my doorstep, but also because it’s a great location and, since the rumour that Marks & Spencer’s were going to build a store there a few Xmas’ back, there hasn’t been much in the way of exciting new developments ( sorry I’m not interested in fashion clothing stores & the loss of Borders has ripped out the heart of the fort for me).

In my mind, there are a few things going in the fort’s favour, including late night shopping on the run up to Xmas and twice a year the fort opens early for the Next sale, which snakes round the closed stores as the coffee shops (Costa & Starbucks) and the food stalls provide the queuing shoppers with morning rolls & drinks. I’m sure that the centre management and security would happily accommodate the same for a store opening or several product launches.

Looking at the area around the fort, North and South Lanarkshire, who I believe use a lot of Apple products in their schools, would benefit from the store and the store would benefit from parents and teachers purchasing from the store. Areas of Glasgow, not already covered by the Buchanan Street store or the proposed Braehead store, would also benefit in a similar way.

Since it appears that M&S aren’t going to build the store rumoured at the fort, there is enough land for Apple to build a shiny new store right next to the M8 which would act like a beacon for style shoppers who have passed but not taken the opportunity to pop in.

Where will Apple wave it’s retail wand in Scotland next? Only they know, but I’m sure I’ll be there when they do, to get a launch day t-shirt! (ok so I didn’t go to the Aberdeen opening.. but you can’t have it all)

Update (26/04/13): I’ve just had a look on my WordPress stats and someone searched for “when does the apple store open in the fort in glasgow”, do they know something no one
else does, or is is just coincidence? I’m not aware of anyone else touting The Glasgow Fort as an Apple Store location so it’s interesting to spot this.. If you are the person who searched, thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment or contact me on Twitter (see the Braehead Apple Store posts).