Samsung opens first North American Apple Store -- er, Samsung Store

Apple arch-rival Samsung has just opened the doors at its first retail store in North America and we'll give you one guess as to where the design inspiration came from. The store, which has just opened at Burnaby's Metropolis at Metrotown, Vancouver looks awfully similar to any Apple Store you can walk into today. Minimalistic, open floorsplan, product demonstration benches, large screen TV's demonstrating products and software. The technical staff are even wearing blue t-shirts similar to Apple's genius bar staff. The Vancouver Sun managed to get a good look around the store.

The phones are lined up; there's a choice of tablets starting with the little Galaxy Note, the tablet with a 5.29-inch display that seems to have found a fit with a niche market, chalking up more than 5 million sales by the first quarter report. As you walk further into the store — the offerings get larger until you reach the notebook computers. Accessories line one wall and if you keep going right to the back, you'll find Samsung's version of the Apple Genius Bar, an area set aside for one-to-one or group demonstrations to help customers put the devices through their paces.

Samsung isn't the first to try to ape Apple's retail model -- Microsoft Stores are still rolling out across the street from Apple in as many cities as they can manage. Maybe one day every high-traffic corner and mall in America will sport an original Apple Store, and Microsoft, Samsung, and Google in a tidy square...

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but isn't all this Apple-like stuff getting just a little bit boring? You could argue that there are only so many ways to equip a sales floor that aims to show off consumer electronics, but as a customer, wouldn't you at least like them try something fresh and new? Maybe come up with something better? Or maybe that's everyone's grand plan -- to make Apple seem less special by sheer force of imitation? (Feel free to insert your own Apple Store design patent jokes here.)

There is a video giving you a brief look around the store and an interview with Samsung's director of channel sales Nelson Lemos. When you've watched it, let us know what you think. Is Samsung deliberately copying Apple's store designs?

Source: The Vancouver Sun

UK editor at iMore, mobile technology lover and air conditioning design engineer.

  • What copy cats. They just don't have an original idea.
  • Ugh, that's just embarrassing for Samsung. Wow.
  • It all looks intentional. Deliberately trying to piss off Apple. Or a way to get attention since if they didn't look like an Apple store, they probably wouldn't be in this blog.
  • Copy cats? Its a store that sells electronics. Should they just put the boxes up for display? I've never seen a 3x3 lcd wall in an apple store.
  • Give me a break. This is clearly modeled after an Apple Store. Your anti-fanboy wrath is showing through lol. Samsung is pathetic in their attempts to copy Apple. I give them and Google a little credit for trying to copy and improve. But it would be interesting to see them try to make their own devices. At least Microsoft is trying something different.
  • anti-fanboy? hahaha...First off I own an iPhone and a MBA and I use them both daily. I have nothing against apple or samsung products. I just think it's ridiculous to label someone as a copy cat for opening a store. "...looks awfully similar to any Apple Store you can walk into today." Looks similar to any electronics store that walk can walk into today. You go into a Verizon store and they have the same floor plan. AT&T, Sprint, Radio Shack, Best Buy (some departments) they all have similar floor plans that display what they are selling so customers can try them out.
  • Samsung Fanboy alert!
  • The best answer I've seen. And I strongly agree I never saw an screen that type on apple store. And samsung galaxy is better then iPhone 5s anyways.
  • Perhaps they could design their stores to have a more original look. Perhaps they could design their phones to not look like iPhones. Perhaps they should add other innovative features that allow photos to be shared with other phones besides the GS3. But then, if they did those things, Apple wouldn't get to sue them, and they must enjoy being sued for copying Apple. There are an endless number of ways to design objects and spaces without copying another successful vendor. There's no justification for it.
  • It is too bad that copying is so easily done and so difficult to prove. I see HTC and Motorola doing a fine job of designing without copying, however. Microsoft, with their new stores, took Apple's idea but didn't completely make their stores into Apple stores. Why the likes of Samsung can't do this makes me think they just don't have any original ideas or they are lazy. Or... smart. How best to make your Android phone popular? Make it look just like the iPhone. I mean seriously, there are so many Fandroids that seeth every time we cry "copy-cat" but why? Can't you be a fan of your product and still see when copying is copying? Sure it might be overused a little, like the cry that Apple is the only one with patent lawsuits out there... but everyone can see that Samsung follows Apple almost in a taunting way. The whole Samsung copying Apple thing is a tired subject for us all. It spawns stupid lawsuits and gets people on both sides upset. The simple truth is this will continue until Samsung figures out how to be its own company. Lets hope its soon.
  • Finally someone with half a brain. It all comes down to money. Do you think the Samsung board gives one rats ass what iFanboys and girls think? Not when they sell 10 million S3's in the opening month. All they care about is making money. And in Eastern culture, copying the west is common and accepted. I still can't figure out why people are so bent out of shape about this. I also have to disagree with people who are saying Samsung is only copying. Look at the original Galaxy, now look at the S3. The evolution is dramatic. While I'm still stuck using the same UI and screen size on my iP4S as my buddy has on his 2G. Talk about a lack of innovation.
  • The galaxy s III is nice, that ram had me thinking.
  • And the big screen, I love it.
  • There has been a north america store in nyc, the time Warner center for some time now.
  • I actually went an looked this up, as I recalled this store as well. It was actually a "Samsung Experience" shop, where you could play with their new tech, but couldn't actually buy items? Regardless, it's been gone for a few months now. They didn't extend their lease at the beginning of this year.
  • I stopped by The Samsung Experience a few times... it was such a waste of time. You could play with all of those toys in the Best Buy a few blocks up, and the employees at Best Buy had a lot more knowledge. I asked the "Experience" workers about the GalaxyPlayer because i wanted to try it out. They had never heard of it, didn't know it existed, couldn't find it in their computers, but it had been on sale online from various electronics vendors like BB and Target for about a month.
  • First off, I'm no fanboy (Apple's notification centre is nice, but it was obviously taken from Android, and the implementation on the iPad seems tacked on). But Samsung seems to be advertising the fact at they just can't come up with an original idea. S-Voice? A music matching service? And now this. It comes across as sad more than anything else. Their devices are selling well, so it makes for some competition, but I'd like to see them actually innovate, go their own way on something and actually try to introduce something new. My hat's off to Microsoft these days; I may not like the Metro UI personally, but at least they're doing their own thing.
  • Why? Why do you want Samsung to "innovate"? First I'm not sure you know what innovate means. Second, why do you care? Jut buy an iPhone. If you already have an iPhone, don't buy a Samsung. Do you walk down to Chinatown and scream at all the KIRF's down there? When two companies produce similar things, ie. Toyota and Nissan, they are forced to continually push the envelope to make their products stand out. Both these car makers now make exceptional cars and trucks when 20 years ago it was hard to tell them apart. Apple is sweating Samsung because they are getting beat by Samsung with a product similar to the one they made famous (notice I didn't say invented). You know how Apple can't beat Samsung? By making a better phone next time that isn't so similar to the ones they made before. It's time for Apple to get back to innovating and getting public excited about their releases. This years WWDC was a dud.
  • Hahaha all of the Apple Fanboys in the comments thinking that apple hasn't copied a single soul.
    notification center-notification tray
    Siri dictation-voice to text
  • Copy from BGR:
    Hmm, let see how many things Apple copied from Android. 1. Notification drop/Center
    2. Facebook & Twitter integration
    3. OTA Updates
    4. Quick reply SMS
    5. Wireless Sync/Backup
    6. Launch applications from Lock Screen. Maybe Apple should try to "Innovate" instead of sue.
  • iOS doesn't have quick reply for text messages unless you jailbreak.
  • And Android stole the following from palm: 1. Notifications Drop/swipe away
    2. Facebook & Twitter integration
    3. OTA Updates
    4. Wireless sync/backup Let's be honest, Android is basically void of any original ideas.
  • LOL.. this is just silly.. they could at least use a different color (even a different shade of blue) for the t-shirts!
  • +1 I nearly laughed out loud when I saw that blue color!
  • I'm not a Fandroid, though I sometimes play one on TV :) Anyways, I'll play devil's advocate on the "why do Fandroids seethe when we cry copy" question. 1) Plain old defensiveness. Just like people here get overly sensitive when Apple is criticized, people over there get overly sensitive when their favorite brand is criticized. It may not be rational, but fandom never is. Personally, I think the proper response to brand copying such as the Samsung store is mockery. It is well-deserved in this case. 2) Lawsuits. The more rational reason is that Apple has a track record of applying for dubious, overbroad patents, and then using them as a club to cripple competitors. Android fans therefore perceive a very real threat each time the "you copy Apple" cry goes up. The slide to unlock patent, for example, covers a gesture, not any technological implementation, and on those grounds should never have been granted. Yes, you can blame the evil patent system, but frankly a responsible company never should have filed for it. Apple fans can argue that a responsible company has an obligiation to exploit every edge in the system, but, as the UK judge said last week, Apple discounted prior art from a 2004 Swedish handset, so even a responsible company should have declined to file, and a competent examiner should not have granted. And yet the patent went through, and HTC had to spend millions of dollars defending. [ ]. In the Motorola case, Apple even argued that this patent grants ownership on taps as well, on the grounds that a tap is just a zero-length swipe [ ] Absurd, yet Motorola had to spend a few million dollars defending. Android fans have some cause to get up in arms when accusations of copying are levelled, because Apple has shown they are more than willing to cause real monetary harm on the basis of technology-free "patents," and, since with patents this broad, there is little way to determine what copying Apple will consider legally actionable. Were I a Fandroid, I'd be a little leery too. Regarding Siri and S-Voice, the irony is that Apple is now facing a lawsuit for violating a 2005 patent granted to Zhizhen [ ]. This patent seems like one of those overly broad ones that could apply to Siri, S-Voice, Google Now, or even simple voice dialers, but it was granted, and seems no more absurd than slide-to-unlock or data-tapping. All signs point to Zhizhen just wanting license payments from Apple, but, frankly, I hope Zhizhen refuses to be bought out and goes after everybody, so the public outcry will blow up the system once and for all, even to the point of punishing companies for filing such tech-free patents.
  • I hope they put something up to dampen the sound echos in Apple concrete and white walled stores.
  • Minimalistic - Yes, Apple invented the concept of minimalism.
    Product demonstration benches - Yeah, that's something you wouldn't expect in an electronics store...
    Large screen TV’s demonstrating products and software - See above The technical staff are even wearing blue t-shirts similar to Apple’s genius bar staff - Do you think that may have to do with the Samsung logo being blue (since, like always)? You know, could it maybe not have anything to do with Apple...could you imagine that possibility?
  • best buy reps donned blue long before apple stores existed. Does that mean apple copied BB?
  • "...and we'll give you one guess as to where the design inspiration came from..." Best Buy!
  • How is this copying an apple store, it's a tech shop selling tech products how else is it going to look?
  • How is this even news? I thought it was called "imore" everything apple.... this has nothing to do with apple and neither benefits/educates me in anything apple....
    Complete waste of an article.
  • Look out Microsoft! Samsung could crush you in terms of store count. There are 26 Microsoft stores, and MS says they play to open 75 more stores in the next 3 years. We think Samsung could beat that total number. Because they make TV sets. Popular TV sets.
  • I hate to break this news to iMore nation, but Apple didn't invent the concept of the minimal retail stores that sell their tech. Bose & Gateway (remember those stores?) were around long before Apple supposedly revolutionized retail. Gateway stores even had tech support & classroom space for learning computers workshops. Apples innovation to retail is curved glass. Not much else.
  • I am all for variety and competition, so bravo to Samsung. That said, they need to make it a different color, or at least have some color, because "make the whole store white" smacks of not even trying. Their normal color scheme (CES booth, etc.) has lots of blue, grey, and white, so I would expect the stores to look that way.
  • god who cares, why this is newsworthy who knows
  • Seriously.... I'm getting tired of the whole copying argument between Apple and all it's competitors. There are only so many ways a store that sells phones and tablets can present itself. I look at the photo above and it looks just like every Telstra store here in Australia. Will everyone claim they copied Apple too? I own an Android phone (Note) and an iPad 2, so I'm no fanboy of either camp, but this is getting ridiculous.
  • OMG! Samsung is just shameless!!! Whats next? Adopt a pear or a peach as their new corporate logo??
  • wow smh what biters! Look at the whole store it looks exactly like most apple stores. For example, look at the workers and their uniforms, blue t-shirts and slacks is similar to apple. Also, look how they use galaxy tabs to learn about other devices the same way apple uses ipads smh samsung is the most unoriginal company ever. Their motto, if you can't beat 'em, copy 'em.
  • FYI....Their shirts are blue because well....thats the color of their logo!!!!
  • it looks like most apple stores because most mobile phone stores look like this. You're obviously just ignorant to research.
  • I will not dignify this article with silly accusations about Apple/Samsung. But I've seen Samsung Stores in my country have the white background and employees in Dark Blue outfits. The white background might have been Apple's idea (though the jury is still out on that), but they don't own a patent on the color. Almost any store you visit around you will be white. As for the blue outfit, Samsung probably has a bigger reason to use blue than Apple does (check the logo if you didn't get the hint). And their reps have been wearing blue outfits since ages, yes. You're feeding Apple fanboi's with munchies by sending out articles like these. They're gonna love it of course, but you're missing out on a lot of things. It's jackassery like this which spreads a divide between Apple and Google/Android products. Do your due diligence before getting on with an article. PS: I own a third gen iPad, a fourth gen iPod Touch, the Samsung Focus and the Google Nexus S.
  • APPLE DO NOT OWN THIS FLOOR PLAN IMAGE!!! Every Three shop in Ireland looks like this.... all the eMobile shops look like this too. This is such a stupid article and the comments are even worse.