The arrival of Angela Ahrendts at Apple may signify a change in the retailer’s stores that is fast becoming due.

The arrival of Angela Ahrendts at Apple may signify a change in the retailer’s stores that is fast becoming due.

Every time retailers, designers and pundits are asked to name a store that impresses and which signifies all that is good about store design, it’s a fair bet that Apple will be the answer. Whether it’s the glass staircases, the “genius bar” or the seemingly endless, but appealing, wooden tables covered in matt silver metal computers, iPads and iPhones, it sometimes appears that this is a brand that can do no wrong.

Yet pause for a second and consider the matter of forward motion. The template for an Apple interior is close to celebrating its 10th birthday and in that time it has hardly changed. The locations chosen for new stores do vary, of course, but whether it’s New York’s Grand Central Station, London’s Regent Street or Birmingham’s Bullring, the essence is the same as it has been for a decade, more or less.

In the normal run of things, a store fit that has remained preserved in aspic for a decade would be considered due for an overhaul and yet nothing much seems to change in Apple World. Perhaps this is because shoppers keep flocking, the format continues to perform or maybe, just maybe, because there is a degree of complacency about what has been done.

The arrival of Angela Ahrendts from Burberry as a vice president in charge of retail and online retail may be a signal that the technology giant has realised that it’s time for a change and that a fashion overlay on top of a tech offer could be just the ticket. Ahrendts is credited with having turned Burberry around and having done so by putting the luxury brand in the vanguard of technology, as well removing it from the football terraces, where it had been stuck for a while.

The question and dilemma that Ahrendts will have to confront is how do you improve upon what many consider to be retail perfection? It is, to coin a phrase, a big ask, but one that needs to be tackled as Apple stores are as much prone to the predations of time as any other retail proposition.

It will be interesting to see what is done and who Ahrendts retains to make this a reality. Apple can and should undergo a subtle process of in-store change.