Apple Garosugil, 08:52AM, January 27, 2018
Apple's very first retail store in Korea, "Apple Garosugil" was slated to officially open on 10:00AM, January 27, 2018, after nearly two years of leaked rumours and construction. Being an Apple fan, I had to take a peek, and so I took a high-speed train to Seoul from Naju early in the morning.
I arrived about 70 minutes before the opening, but the lines were already long - I was about 170m away from the store entrance when I lined up. With the temperature below 10 degrees celsius, me and everyone else were bracing freezing winds. As 10AM approached, length of the line had more than doubled, reflecting the great interest.
Waiting to enter the store, 10:11AM
About ten minutes after the opening, I was able to come up to the front of the store. Little did I know I had to wait 40 minutes more to actually enter. Still, everything was orderly, if a bit crowded. It was certainly worth the wait if you're into Apple stuff. Enjoy the photos of the store that follows.
The staff eagerly greeted me as I was allowed to enter 40 minutes later
Apple HomeKit devices were being showcased
Display of colourful accessories for iPhones and iPads
The first "Today at Apple" session was in progress
Browsing the new MacBooks and iPads
True to its name "Garosugil (street lined with trees)" the entrance had trees
Some desks offered power outlets and wireless chargers
You could try on various watch bands for your Apple Watch
The staff were quite enthusiastic about handing out the gifts (T-shirts in boxes) to the visitors
Quick lesson about using Swift to code programs was in progress
So what's my impression? Pretty much everything available on the online Apple Store was ready to buy, which was convenient. The floor is large enough to accommodate a lot of visitors, but being single-story with high ceiling seems to trade atmosphere for practicality. Noticeably missing compared to other Apple retail stores was the physical Genius Bar, but you could reserve an appointment for Genius Bar, so I suppose getting devices serviced wouldn't be much of an issue. I think I'll be making a stop here many times in the future for one thing or another.
One final thing to note is that AppleCare+ is not yet available and there is no immediate plan to offer it, or honour it for the servicing, in the future. This was a disappointment.