Apple’s first floating store will open in Singapore

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The FINANCIAL — Apple today previewed Apple Marina Bay Sands, the first Apple Store to sit directly on the water. Appearing as a sphere floating on the iridescent Marina Bay, the store introduces a new and captivating retail experience at one of the most iconic locations in Singapore. Apple’s newest retail store located in Singapore will soon be open for public on Thursday.

Apple’s rich history in Singapore spans more than 40 years, beginning with the first corporate office in Ang Mo Kio. In 1981, the team was responsible for producing the majority of printed circuit boards for Apple II computers worldwide. Since then, Apple has expanded its corporate and retail presence, and now supports over 55,000 jobs across the entire Apple ecosystem.

The store is called the Apple Marina Bay Sands, and is located in a luxury district of Singapore full of shops, restaurants, and the Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino. The sphere is constructed from 114 individual pieces of glass held in place by 10 vertical mullions (the architectural term for supporting bars between panes of glass in a window), and Apple says the dome is a first-of-its kind construction: all-glass and fully self-supporting. On the interior wall of the sphere there are baffles that create shade and what Apple is calling a “nighttime lighting effect.” As well as a shop floor with all the usual gadgets on display, the dome houses a video screen and seating area to host the various talks and tutorials Apple likes to give at its stores. Apple says this space includes the company’s “first underwater Boardroom,” where “entrepreneurs and developers interested in receiving training and advice can meet with Apple team members,” The Verge reported.

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The team at Apple Marina Bay Sands will welcome visitors for the first time on September 10 at 10 a.m. SGT. The store will implement the same rigorous health measures for both employees and visitors seen across all Apple Store locations, including a mask requirement, temperature checks, and social distancing.

The building has a 360-degree panoramic views of the city that shows a remarkable look of the skyline. Just like the Pantheon, it has an oculus located at the apex of the dome that provides a flooding ray of light that travels through the space. Though it seemed like the dome idea could result to a smaller physical store for Apple, it is not. In fact, the Marina Bay Sands revealed the massive space inside the dome. “They can explore curated Apple products and accessories, receive personal technical support from Geniuses, or simply take in the stunning view of Marina Bay,” said on the announcement, Tech Times wrote.

The Apple store will have near 150 employees that can speak over 23 languages to assist consumers with personal technical support. The third zone sees an escalator descending to an underwater boardroom where it will host training and personal consultation services to entrepreneurs and developers. The lower level doubles as a subaquatic tunnel that connects to The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands shopping mall. Visits will be allowed by appointment only, according to The Forbes.

“We couldn’t be more excited to open the breathtaking Apple Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, building on our commitment to this special place that began more than 40 years ago,” said Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail + People. “Our passionate and talented team is ready to welcome this community to our new store and deliver the care and support that our customers around the world love.” – She added.

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This is not the only news surrounding Apple. Italy’s competition authority announced Monday it’s looking into cloud storage services run by Apple, Dropbox and Google after hearing several complaints about allegedly unfair commercial practices. The Competition and Market Authority said it has launched six total investigations into Google Drive, Apple’s iCloud and DropBox. The agency is investigating whether the three companies failed to properly indicate how their services would collect and use consumer data for commercial purposes, according to a translated press release. The probe comes in the wake of a larger push by the European Union for tech companies to clarify their terms and conditions and provide greater privacy protections for consumers. In July, Italian officials raided local offices of Apple and Amazon as part of a separate competition probe. That inquiry seeks to determine whether Apple and Amazon engaged in anti-competitive cooperation in the sale of Apple products and Beats headphones. Representatives for Apple, Dropbox and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment, CNBC wrote.

It is interesting to note that Chinese AI company Shanghai Zhizhen Intelligent Network Technology Co., Ltd., also known as Xiao-i is suing Apple on the grounds of patent infringement. Chinese company filed a formal lawsuit against Apple in Shanghai High People’s Court on 3rd of August 2020. This is not their first encounter over this patent. In a social media post, Xiao-i asked Apple “to stop patent infringement on its smart assistant product Siri, including but not limited to stopping the manufacturing, using, promising to sell, selling and importing products.” Read more

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