AppleInsider may earn an affiliate commission on purchases made through links on our site.
Located in an upscale outdoor shopping center south of Los Angeles, the Apple Irvine Spectrum Center retail store has a unique design and is an oasis within the city.
The Apple Irvine Spectrum Center retail store is located in the southeast part of the center. It is a sunlit glass rectangle that complements and acts as a mirror to the muted desert neutral colors of the mall’s Moroccan architecture.
This architectural choice suits Irvine well, as it is surrounded by snow-capped desert hills in winter. Southern California is that special kind of place where tourists can ski, shop, and surf—all in one day.
The mall includes Nordstrom and Target stores, a Ferris wheel that serves as a great backdrop to Spectrum’s massive ice rink during the holiday season, a popular macaron shop called Honey & Butter, and a 21-screen Regal Cinemas.
Apple is now well practiced at creating buildings that are both architecturally and aesthetically attractive, drawing us in whether or not we need new technology. Unlike the retail stores that surround it, this Apple location is unusual in that it stands on its own and is not linked to other businesses that might distract the eye — and the wallet.
The glass and white brick design is a perfect fit for California, where homes made of glass stand like beacons on desert hills in affluent areas. Although not as beachfront as Newport, Irvine really is one such area.
In 2023, the average minimum rent in Irvine is $3,162 per month for a 900-square-foot apartment. The high price relates to parks, proximity to beaches, cleanliness, and most importantly – a first-class safety arrangement in the city.
Irvine has been ranked by the FBI as one of the safest cities in the United States since 2005. In fact, it has consistently been ranked as one of the safest cities to live in in the world.
Given its safety and proximity to parks, it’s no surprise, then, that the Apple Irvine Spectrum is a popular choice for families and tourists tired of LA crime looking for a little break.
Inside, the Apple Irvine Spectrum is smaller than Apple’s Third Street Promenade, but just as quiet. Unlike the single-façade wall of glass on the Third Street Promenade, the Apple Irvine Spectrum has two walls of unobstructed ceiling-to-floor glass that stream in the daily sunlight and sunsets that SoCal has to offer.
Accessibility: There’s no way around it — gritty SoCal traffic
The Greater Los Angeles area is known for its mild year-round weather, celebrity sightings, traffic, and sunlit beaches. However, it is not known for its convenient public transportation. The Apple Irvine Spectrum is accessible by car first and foremost.
The Irvine Spectrum is car based, with no less than 2,300 parking spaces surrounding the center itself. During the holiday months it can still be hard to find parking.
The Apple Irvine Spectrum is located like a wedge of cheese between Interstates 5 and 405. It is easily accessible by parking at the structures closest to Target and 7th Entry. Depending on how busy you are and how high up the parking building you have to park, the Apple Store is a five to ten minute walk from Terminal 7.
During busier months, choose parking structures rather than outdoors to reduce frustration as you peel your eyes off seeing brakes and reverse lights.
Once you walk around Target, you will find the Apple Store in front of a beautifully lit fountain.
If you’re new to Southern California and the hectic drive has increased your cortisol levels, head around the corner and grab a bakery from 85C Bakery Cafe and coffee from BLK dot.
Relax in front of the fountain or on the comfy orange chairs before heading inside the Apple Store. 85C Bakery Cafe always attracts a big crowd. The bakery is known for its wide range of baked goods at reasonable prices.
BLK dot is famous for its Vietnamese inspired java. Be careful, however. Our iced Vietnamese coffee has five full shots of espresso!
During the warmer months, the white noise and fountain scene outside the Apple Store provide the perfect place to rest aching feet — or let the kids play.
The fountain is often closed during the winter months. However, this does not prevent children from enjoying the area.
History, planning and design
The Spectrum Center mall is owned by the Irvine Corporation, a leading real estate company that has grown from a ranching operation in 1864 to one of the most prolific owners of office buildings, apartment complexes, retail centers, resorts, and golf courses on the California coast.
Previously, this section of the shopping center housed Macy’s. However, as online shopping pressures began to take its toll on the profitability of brick-and-mortar stores, Irvine decided to reform “big box” stores such as Macy’s in favor of smaller stores in hopes of reviving its profit margin.
In 2016, Irvine announced that Macy’s would be demolished. In its place, they had to put 20 smaller stores. In 2018, new stores opened in the southeast section of the mall, featuring the new Apple Store as well as 19 other retail stores and restaurants.
It was a smart move, considering that the pandemic would inherently shift the consumer away from “big box” stores like Macy’s two years later.
Spectrum center mall is surrounded by high-rise companies and luxury apartments. Over the past decade, its beauty and thriving tech job market have led to an influx of tech industry professionals to the area.
In an interview with Irvine standard“Irvine is the new Silicon Valley,” says Huolin Xin, associate professor of physics and astronomy at UC Irvine. “If you want to attract talent, this is the place.”
The Spectrum Center itself took ten years to build. The mall is famous for its hit episode “The Miami Mall” of the Disney Channel TV series Austin & Ally.
Word Domain Itself brings to mind a range of colours, as seen in a rainbow. The neon orange-and-yellow spectrum of desert architecture, the violet-pink sunset, and year-round string lights play in the center’s name.
Like any resplendent Apple Store with thick glass walls, traffic and chatter are silenced as soon as the heavy double doors close behind you.
The building itself is a one-story rectangle with the slightest feeling that we’ve come to an Apple Store. The ceiling itself is light and bright and surrounded by warm overhead lighting.
The two glass windows from the ceiling to the floor allow the transoms to be flooded with sunlight from an L-shaped angle. The brick wall inside is smooth and light gray in color so as not to absorb natural light.
The walls are lined with the latest and greatest iPhone cases and MagSafe chargers. Phone cases are color-coded for a pleasing aesthetic.
There are a number of wooden cubes in the back to sit on while you wait to see your Apple genius for service, as well as a large TV. The TV displays advertisements for new products as well as instructions and dates for Apple Seminars.
The television itself occupies most of the back wall, which is quite eye-catching. A free-standing screen in front of the TV shows events and happenings at Apple for the day.
We know how hard it can be not to mess with your favorite technology. Although masks are no longer required inside, complimentary hand sanitizing stations are on every table to allow you to sanitize between products.
Consider signing up for one of our Apple Store sessions and learning new skills from our informative creatives, or visit the Genius Bar for hands-on tech support. Just be sure to make an appointment online, as you won’t be guaranteed a no-holds-barred appointment during peak in-store hours.
Like many Apple Stores, a corner pickup area dedicated to collecting online orders sits along a long wooden desk.
Apple Stores across Los Angeles
California has the most Apple locations in the US, with 54 Apple Store locations in California alone. There are fifteen Apple Stores in Los Angeles County, only a few of which flaunt a freestanding, soothing aesthetic rather than the sterile, hospital-like fluorescent feel of some of the tiny hole-in-the-wall storefronts inside indoor shopping malls.
Other notable Apple Stores in Los Angeles include The Grove, another outdoor arena.