apple This Saturday, Apple will open its latest retail shop - this one in London's bustling Covent Garden. Unlike the opening of, say, a boring BlackBerry shop, this event stirs the interest of media and public alike.

It's Apple's 300th shop since the first opened nine years ago in the US, and perhaps surprisingly, this will be 28th Apple shop in the UK alone.

Like the Regent Street shop, Apple's first retail outlet in Europe, the Covent Garden will become something of a flagship. Or one of select 'significant stores', as Apple calls its larger branches.

[NB. All photography courtesy of iPhone 4... ]


In keeping with the original design of the building - formerly the Rock Garden venue - the Covent Garden Apple Store has been restored in all its arched and brickwork glory. As well as being the 300th store, this one also boasts 300 members of sales staff.


The shop works on many levels - four in fact - with many dedicated areas, including One to One training areas, Genius Bar and group learning in the Community Room. The latter includes professional-level training, known as Pro Labs.


Sky's the limit - a glass canopy covers the dedicated ground-floor iPad area, and brings light into each sub-level too.


Plenty of iPhone cases to choose from on the accessories level

gb cases

As a tourist magnet, the Covent Garden branch will also offer Great Britain-specific cases, including a custom arch-themed Covent Garden case for iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS [left]


Tills, Apple style. Furniture is said to be selected British oak throughout

stairs 1

Apple Stores are renowned for their glass staircases. The Covent Garden shop doesn't have one...

stairs 2

...but two glass stairways - the only double-glass-equipped Apple Store in the world, it seems.

Ron Johnson, Apple's senior vice president of Retail, is promising that there are more iPads and iPhone 4 stockpiled and ready for sale here than any in other place in the world at the moment.

To the teasing question of whether Apple will have enough free iPhone 4 bumper cases to cater for all these phones, Johnson lightheartedly replied 'Next question!'. He then went on to explain that the Apple Store sells a wide range of accessories.

The Apple Store in Covent Garden is at 1, The Piazza, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8HA - a footfall from Covent Garden Tube station, and directly opposite Covent Garden Market.

It opens to the public at 10am, Saturday 7th August 2010. The first visitors will receive an exclusive launch T-shirt.