Tech giant Apple is set to open its first ever stores in the United Arab Emirates this week, and invited the media to see the new locations.
The Abu Dhabi and Dubai stores will open their doors to the public this week. Despite rumors that the Dubai location would become the largest Apple Store in the world, members of the press that attended the previews have shown that it will not be nearly as big as predicted.
Journalists allowed sneak preview of UAE Apple Stores
Selected journalists were invited to the new UAE stores before the official opening on Thursday. Gulf News attended both events, and estimated that the Dubai location offers less than 10,000 square feet of total floor space.
Rumors had previously claimed that Apple Store Dubai would boast over 50,000 square feet of floor space, making it the world’s largest. However the store, located inside Mall of the Emirates, is actually smaller than many Apple Stores. The world’s largest location is Covent Garden in London, which comes in at 40,000 square feet of floor space.
Many of Apple’s larger locations are split over multiple stories, but Dubai will only have one floor. It does however boast natural lighting and trees in the middle of the store.
Government grants exception for new stores
The Apple Store in Abu Dhabi will be located inside Yas Mall and features a more traditional layout familiar to other Apple retail locations. A glass storefront, lit Apple logo, wooden tables and a Genius Bar do not depart from Apple’s standard design.
Residents of the UAE will be able to visit the new Apple Stores from 7 p.m. local time on Thursday. Apple was able to open shops in the emirates after the local government granted it an exception from foreign ownership laws.
Apple is expanding its presence in the Middle East after its first regional store opened in the Turkish capital of Istanbul in April. The store boasts a giant glass cuboid on top that acts as a skylight for the underground store.