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Apple stores set for global makeover, addition of new educational programming

The Apple store in San Francisco. (Foster + Partners Photo)

As Apple builds out a new store in Seattle’s University Village Mall, the company is gearing up to revamp its top stores around the world.

Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and leader of the redesign projects, appeared on CBS This Morning Tuesday and outlined the changes coming to Apple’s top 100 stores around the world. She described the architecture of the store itself as the hardware, and what happens inside as software.

Many aspects of the redesign carry over from changes to Apple’s flagship San Francisco store unveiled last year. The two-story store features 42-by-40-foot sliding glass doors that allow the store to become part of the outdoor space.

Changes at stores will include new screens, trees and other landscaping and spaces set aside for meetings and classes. The famous Genius Bar is getting a makeover as well. It will be called Genius Grove, and it will have staffers specializing in things like music and photography.

Apple announced this morning plans to launch dozens of new educational sessions in May in all 495 Apple stores ranging in topics from photo and video to music, coding, art and design and more. The programs, known as “Today at Apple,” will in some cities feature well-known artists, photographers and musicians, teaching sessions from basics and how-to lessons to professional-level classes.

The construction site at University Village, adjacent to the current Apple store. (GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy)

The redesign and new educational programs aim to make Apple stores more welcoming and appealing to a broader set of customers.

“We’re creating a modern-day town square, where everyone is welcome in a space where the best of Apple comes together to connect with one another, discover a new passion, or take their skill to the next level,” Ahrendts said.

GeekWire recently uncovered permit documents indicating a new Apple store is going up in Seattle’s University Village mall. The blueprints show several of these new concepts included in the redesign, including trees in the store and meeting spaces.

An architect listed on documents for the Seattle project — Foster + Partners — designed the San Francisco location.

Apple opened the University Village location in 2003, approximately two years after the company opened its first brick and mortar locations. In 2011, Apple revamped the store, though it stayed the same size.

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