When people are largely buying products online, what is the point of a brick-and-mortar store? Many brands have been working to transition their physical locations from places where customers can buy products, to places where they can immerse themselves in the brand's world and find community.
This seems to be Apple's plan as it drops the word "store" from all descriptions of retail locations. As 9to5 Mac reports, the new San Francisco location is being called "Apple Union Square" and Apple employees appear to be referring to locations without the word "store."
Apple stores have always been places for a wide range of activities, from workshops to kids programs. This shift probably means that the company will be continuing to use its retail spaces to create community around the brand. ES