The online Apple Store has undergone a redesign, after mysteriously going offline.
The site was down for just under an hour, very early on Wednesday morning UK time. It came back up with an entirely new look, based largely around cards.
Ordinarily, the Apple Store is taken offline for the launch of new products. It tends to go down shortly before Apple’s major events, apparently to give the infrastructure underpinning it time to be updated for any new releases.
This time around, however, the store itself was the new release. As well as the new look, the website now features a devoted “store” tab at the top of the screen.
Such a tab used to feature on the old version of the website, but Apple removed it to include only its products, and users could buy them by choosing which of its devices they wanted to buy. Now, it is back, in addition to that list of products.
The design of the store itself is in keeping with the App Store as it appears on the iPhone, iPad and Mac, and borrows the same card design. Such an approach could make it easier to interact with through touch – or possibly through future augmented reality hardware, which has long been rumoured to be in Apple’s plans.
It is still yet to be tested whether the Apple Store will have to go down with the launch of new products, even after the redesign. But it has received major updates in the recent past, and that tradition still remains – it is unclear at this point whether the downtime is a technical necessity or simply a marketing gimmick aimed at increasing interest in whatever might arrive when it is back up.
The answer will almost certainly come soon. Apple is expected to unveil new iPhones next month, as well as new Watches, and rumours suggest that is also working on updated MacBooks and AirPods.