Apple to open Palo Alto store on Saturday

Architectural renderings indicate it will be an impressive retail outlet

Apple plans to open a retail store in downtown Palo Alto, California, on Saturday. The new store, less than two blocks from Apple's existing location, appears set to share the all-glass front common on Apple retail outlets but was still covered in black sheeting on Friday morning.

Apple hasn't said much about the store. The tight-lipped company has a teaser on its website but it gives away little about what shoppers can expect on Saturday.

Architectural renderings, provided to the town's planning board, picture a storefront and roof made of glass with concrete pillars on each corner supporting the structure. City documents suggest the store will have around 15,000 square feet (about 1,400 square meters) of retail space.

(See video of the new store on YouTube.)

The design is a world away from Apple's existing Palo Alto store, which was first opened in October 2001 and had the distinction of being Steve Jobs' local Apple store. Both stores are also close to the Palo Alto home of current Apple CEO Tim Cook.

The new store, at 340 University Avenue, not only brings the Palo Alto store in line with the architectural signatures of Apple stores but also takes it a couple of minutes closer to the city's downtown entertainment district where Apple laptops are a common site at cafes and restaurants.

With the new store, Apple isn't yet finished in Palo Alto.

A short drive away at the Stanford Shopping Center, a much larger Apple store is currently under construction. Apple already has a store in the shopping mall but it's small, and seems especially cramped since Microsoft opened a capacious outlet one building away in April this year.

The new Stanford store is at an earlier stage in construction. The steel girders that will make up the glass-encased store shell were still visible on Friday morning.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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