Apple, the technology company best known for simplicity, is now targeting the community best known for simplicity. Welcome to the Amish Apple Store, now open in Lancaster, PA.
“This is a no-brainer,” says Phil Schiller, head of Apple’s marketing organization. “Apple puts a lot of effort into making technology ‘disappear,’ and so do the Amish. Cha-ching.”
According to sources, Apple expects about 75% of its Lancaster sales to go to people who have no intention of ever opening the box. Apple’s shrink-wrapped boxes (iPods and iPhones in particular) are bound to become popular paperweights, doorstops and building blocks for the children.
However, electricity is not entirely shunned amongst the Lancaster Amish. Though they have traditionally refused to connect to the public power grid, they do use locally produced electricity.
Because of this loophole, the lights will indeed be on in the Amish Apple Store. Between six and ten oxen on Apple-designed treadmills behind the store will generate enough power to keep a number of i-devices functioning throughout the day.
Of course, Apple is not oblivious to the local culture. To better connect with the Lancaster customers, the Genius Bar has been replaced by a Buggy Bar, which offers repair service and one-to-one guidance for all types of mobile devices — including the horse-drawn buggies commonly used by the Amish.
Apple has also created special straw-textured earphones for use with its i-products, allowing buyers to plug in discreetly. As a lure for new customers, a new Amish section on iTunes will feature classic barn singings from Amish communities all over the country.