(Pocket-lint) - It's not every day you get ponder life while sat under a tree in a shop on the busiest retail street in London. But that's exactly what we've been doing.
We sat under a tree on a comfy cushion inside Apple's new flagship store on Regent Street and we have to say we liked it.
The store is once again fully open after undergoing a complete refit. The new store, which regains its true flagship status from the Covent Garden branch, is the result of Apple's new vision for the modern day shopping experience.
Visitors to San Francisco's store will notice similarities, the big open spaces, the attempt to bring the outside in, but there are differences. Apple has built something designed specifically for the space. The walls are clad in marble. Above there is one huge light box, which takes the prize for the longest luminous ceiling panel in the world. And there is even a secret boardroom hidden in the back for wooing special customers.
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The original exterior of the John Nash-designed building retains its now iconic high windows, but the store inside is completely unrecognisable to what was there before.
Gone are the crowded shelves, the glass floating staircase (that's so last decade), and in come wide open spaces, a vaulted seven-metre high "forum" and twelve Ficus Ali trees. Yes, there is lots of trees.
Throughout the store, accessories have been pushed to the walls on the side, while Apple's multiple devices take centre stage on traditional-style wooden tables.
A giant video wall takes centre stage of the ground floor, with seating for around 75 customers in front. The Regent Street store always had a theatre for demos and lectures, but now it's a lot more central, with the ability to walk in and out of sessions with ease rather than feeling you're in a lecture.
Either side of the screen are staircases that feature sandblasted and honed Castagna stone handrails hand carved into the walls. A glass balustrade on the mezzanine level lets visitors overlook the ground level and grand hall. It's impressive.
Upstairs is almost entirely dedicated to the Apple Genius bar, with the company able to either fix your devices or offer intimate workshops on how to get more from them.
The biggest noticeable difference, apart from the sheer opulence of light everywhere, is that nothing is bolted down. You can freely pick phones up, see how they feel in the hand, even put them in your pocket - just don't walk out the door. The lack of security is as welcoming as it is unnerving.
This isn't a shop as you know it, but a centre for you to learn, enjoy and then buy.
That's exactly what Apple hopes you will do. And it makes it much easier an experience than ever before.
Angela Ahrendts, senior vice president of retail, explained to Pocket-lint the Regent Street store now has over 500 employees, up from the 100 the store had when it opened in 2004. With that many staff, you are always likely to get served quickly. There are no "pay here" counters for you to queue at.
Once again Apple is trying to change the way we shop, removing the boundaries of what to expect while trying to recreate sitting under a tree in Cupertino in the Californian sun.
How that will fair with Brits over time is yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure, you won't have been in a shop like this ever before.