Apple announced today that the top 100 Apple stores worldwide will be redesigned to include a "grove" of live trees, meeting spaces, and large, dominating video screens like that in the new Apple Union Square retail outlet in San Francisco. In addition, 495 locations that are properly equipped will add a new educational event series called "Today at Apple".
The store redesigns will include a name change for the Genius Bar, which will become the Genius Grove in an obvious paean to the trees in the stores. As for the Today at Apple series, it will include both presentations and hands-ons sessions that cover topics ranging from photography, art, design, and music to programming.
The Today at Apple sessions will be led by a new type of retail store employee -- the Creative Pro. These employees are being hired for professional-level knowledge of the subjects they teach at the sessions. In some major cities, the sessions will be taught by world-renowned artists, musicians, videographers and photographers.
The store redesign effort and education events are part of a plan to have the Apple stores become a de facto "town square" for communities. In a CBS News interview, Apple senior vice president of retail Angela Ahrendts said that the company's goal is to serve those communities better:
Today at Apple events will begin at the end of May, 2017.