By Valens Quinn

I’ve just arrived back from my sneak peek at the new Apple store in downtown George Street, Sydney. There’s a lot of media attention dedicated to the grand opening, which is this Thursday June 19th at 5PM. So should you be one of the many predicted to be there when the doors open – or even join the small queue of faithfuls who are already lining up?

Essentially, Sydney’s Apple store is like a giant display case. It’s designed so that all three floors, and the products showcased inside, can be visible to passers by through a huge 700 square metre glass frontage. The Sydney store is the 215th to be opened across 4 continents, so you’d expect that Apple would know a thing or two about retail by now.

Apple Store Sydney

Once inside, it becomes apparent that Apple does indeed know how to cater to the public. Yes, the place is certainly beautiful, and designed with Apple’s clean and simple ethos in mind.

You’ll be greeted by a friendly orange-shirted concierge, who will direct you to one of three floors. There’s a wide assortment of Macs on the ground floor. Smaller devices like iPods, networking products and accessories are on the middle floor, and Apple’s considerable service department is based on the top floor.

Actually, the term ‘service’ doesn’t really fit – it’s so cold and impersonal. In fact, over half of the store’s space is dedicated people who already have Macs, rather than just selling products.

Apple Store SydneyOnce you ascend the beautiful glass staircase to the top floor, you’ll see the world’s longest Genius Bar – it’s 20 metres long! Behind the counter are Apple’s top gurus who you can just go up and ask pretty much anything about their product range. I’ve given it a try already and they’re well versed in hints, tips and Mac hardware – or just advice on how to do things.

You can also attend what Apple calls ‘Personal Training’ at the George Street store. This isn’t a physical workout, thank goodness, but rather a tutorial program. For just $129, you can sign up for a personal one-hour tutoring session for every week of the year! Not bad value at all, and a great way to learn how to create web pages, Podcasts or make the most of your Mac.

There are also many other educational programs planned including group workshops, programs for kids and school nights. Apple says that its flagship store’s 125 employees can deliver 1,000 personal training sessions and genius appointments per day, which should keep waiting lists and queues to a minimum. Check online in the store or at home to sign up, or just make your way to the Genius Bar for more information.