It’s called Apple, not the Apple Store.
The Cupertino company has decreed that its chain of retail stores will now only be referred to thusly in what seems to be part of an ongoing attempt to rebrand them from shopping destinations to community gathering places of sorts.
Apple’s new flagship store in downtown San Francisco opened as simply “Apple Union Square” in May, and now, the company’s website shows, many other stores, like “Apple Fifth Avenue”and “Apple World Trade Center,” are following suit and losing the “Store.”
MacRumors reports that the company recently sent out an email informing retail employees of the change. The transformation would be gradual, it reportedly said, and the newest stores would be rebranded first.
The simplified name fits with Apple’s minimalist, pretentious and particular sensibility towards branding. The iPhone is always simply referred to as “iPhone” it’s never to be preceded by an article and the name “Apple Watch” is always displayed with a Mac logo in place of the first word.
At a tour of the new San Francisco store earlier this year, Apple retail chief Andrea Ahrendts made a rare press appearance to lay out the blueprint for a long-term overhaul of the stores.
The flagship location was to be thought of as a “town square,” she said, where people would gather for workshops, lectures and even musical performances. A tree-filled “Genius Grove” replaced the chaotic “Genius Bar,” and a second similar kiosk was added to offer tips on photography, music-making and video-recording.
That model would be eventually replicated, to some degree, across all of Apple’s nearly 500 stores, Ahrendts said, starting with its most heavily trafficked spots.
It’s not explicitly clear whether the name was shortened to deliberately advance those ends Apple wouldn’t comment on the record but the word “store” obviously denotes a place of commerce, and Apple wants you to think of it as more than just that.
As tech blogger Jon Gruber points out, the formulation does match the way you might naturally refer to a designer brand outlet you go to “Gucci” not “the Gucci store” and Apple likes to think of luxury names as peers. Even Walmart and Target are never “the Walmart store” or “the Target store.”
Tech companies in general usually like you to believe they are something more than just business enterprises; Their headquarters are “campuses,” their emerging market grabs are about “changing the world” and their workplaces look like luxury playrooms.
So it makes sense that Apple would apply a similarly lofty logic to its retail outlets.