Apple to open pop-up shop in Austin for SXSW, iPad 2 release

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The tech world is descending on Austin, Texas, this weekend for the annual South By Southwest Interactive conference, and Apple is looking to cash in on the action.

Apple is opening a pop-up shop in Austin on Friday, the first day its much-hyped iPad 2 will go on sale and the first day of South by Southwest -- better known as SXSW or simply, South By.


The move is no doubt being made to get as many iPad 2s in the hands of attendees as possible and alleviates a bit of stress for those tech fiends who both wanted to go to SXSW and get their hands on Apple’s next tablet on Day One -- especially since no pre-orders are being offered.

A leasing agent told the Austin American-Statesman, a newspaper and website in Austin, that Apple’s pop-up shop will open in the Scarbrough Building on Congress Avenue and West Sixth Street in the city’s downtown. Apple officials weren’t available for comment on Thursday morning.

Apple is taking over a 5,000-square-foot space in the Scarbrough Building for about two weeks and since about Wednesday, construction has been underway to add Apple’s minimalist retail touches in time for Friday, according to the Statesman report.

Black vinyl has covered the windows at the store front so far this week, the report said.

Rance Wilemon, a partner at Plat.Form Real Estate, told the Statesman that Apple has been eyeing a downtown Austin location since last summer but officially picked the pop-up shop spot on Monday.

‘They came in town on Monday, did a quick tour, found a spot, and they’re in there working and will open by Friday,’ she told the Statesman.

Wilemon also told the Statesman that, as of now, Apple isn’t planning on making the temporary store into a permanent location.


The pop-up shop ‘is not as much to test the market as much as it is to be a part’ of SXSW, she told the Statesman. ‘There’s a huge opportunity to get brand recognition to a large audience during’ SXSW.

Apple already has two other permanent locations in malls in Austin, but downtown Austin is where the events of SXSW take place, with thousands of visitors attending not only the technology conference, but also a SXSW film and SXSW music conference, all three of which overlap until the events end on March 20.


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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Top photo: Attendees test out Apple’s iPad 2 at an event in San Francisco on March 2. Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg.

Bottom Photo: The iPad 2 is shown at Apple’s March 2 unveiling of the device in San Francisco. Credit:Jeff Chiu/AP Photo.