Apple Express is a new retail store experience designed with COVID-19 in mind

Apple Express Store Burlingame
Apple Express Store Burlingame (Image credit: Marci Harris)

What you need to know

  •  Express is a new shopping experience inside existing Apple Stores.
  • The company is changing how people shop in-store to help them stay safe during the pandemic.
  • Apple Stores now more closely resemble banks than the swanky stores we're used to.

Apple is trialing a whole new Apple Store collection experience for those who have placed an order online for in-store pickup.  Express is designed to keep people safe while the COVID-19 pandemic continues while still allowing them to collect their Apple Store items in the flesh.

The new stores, starting with a trial at Apple Burlingame in California, now more resemble banks as 9to5Mac points out. And while the experience might not be as fancy as we're used to, it's an altogether safer one given the current situation we're facing.

Apple Burlingame in Burlingame, California is the first location to pilot what Apple calls "Express," a simplified version of the Apple Store experience that resembles a bank teller window. Apple has partitioned off the entryway to the store with a temporary wall, wood counters, and plexiglass shields to serve customers at. Two sets of shelving display popular accessories available to purchase.

Beyond the items on those shelves, anyone wishing to pick something up will first need to have placed an order online. Genius Bar assistance is still available, although by appointment only.

 Express is just the latest example of Apple changing its Apple Stores and the shopping experience in the face of the pandemic. Apple has so far closed and then re-opened the majority of its worldwide Apple Stores at least once. While there doesn't yet appear to be any indication when or if this new shopping experience will roll out to a wider collection of stores, it's great to see Apple further altering its stores to meet the needs of 2020.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.