Just in case news of the overly hyped third Apple store didn’t reach you, the tech giant opened its third outlet in Singapore yesterday at yet another tourist destination – Marina Bay Sands.
But there were no tourists at yesterday’s opening amid ongoing travel restrictions. When Coconuts Singapore arrived around noon, a long line of local Apple devotees were queuing to be among the first to enter the brand’s aquatic outlet, which has been heavily marketed as the world’s first “floating” Apple store (it doesn’t).
While Apple Marina Bay Sands is definitely more visually appealing than the other Singaporean outlets, taking photos there can be difficult unless without a wide-angle lens.
Everything is spread out across a narrow, elongated hallway on the lower level and across a wide, circular space upstairs, where glossy display cabinets reflect the dome and surrounding light, which can obscure the products within.
If you need space, peace, and quiet while mulling over new AirPods and iPhones, it’s the place to go – for now. The venue‘s spaciousness makes social distancing easy. Everyone’s required to stand two meters from each other and visitors have to book appointments before arriving.
Visitors enter the two-story glass dome on the lower level and exit onto the Marina Bay Sands boardwalk, at least in good weather. Entering on the lower level, shoppers are greeted by rows of gadgets including smartphones, smartwatches, laptops, and accessories. There is also a wall of Apple watch straps not available anywhere else except for Apple Fifth Avenue in New York.
Soundproof wood panels cover the ceiling, through which an escalator ascends at the end of the hall.
Take it up to the second floor, which sits under the glass dome. The company proudly brags that these are the first escalators in any Apple store, saying they were custom-designed in “space grey.”
Maybe their unfamiliarity was why the ride seemed longer than it should – about 45 seconds (yes, we timed it). There is also a lift available for wheelchair access.
At the top, more Apple employees in white nylon face masks greeted guests. They explained that the store’s 150 employees collectively speak 24 languages. The face masks they wore were also specially made by Apple and not for sale – yet.
Hundreds of smartphone cases are stored in a wall of built-in drawers that customers can help themselves to before paying.
Some architectural features were pointed out by an Apple guide. The dome was modeled after the Roman Pantheon, according to guide Melvyn, 30. It consists of 114 glass panels and 25 white rings of shades blocking direct sunlight. The rings form an oculus in the center of the structure that shines like a spotlight down to the lower floor. Two water cannon stand ready in case of fire.
Ten benches and tables are spread across an area for events such as design and instructional workshops. Listening devices are available for the hearing impaired.
Apple Marina Bay Sands
2 Bayfront Avenue, B2-06, Singapore, 018972
12pm to 8pm daily by appointments only
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