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Apple’s new and improved store at The Grove in Los Angeles is now open.

The company held their traditional opening event, with employees cheering as the giant glass sliding doors opened and the first customers walked in. They were greeted by none other than Apple CEO Tim Cook.

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“I love the clean lines… but I also love that they brought nature in,” said Lorena Oruna of Rancho Cucamonga, a customer who attended the opening day celebration.

The store is twice the size of the location across the way that it replaces. Apple says The Grove location has been around for about 20 years and is one of the company’s most popular stores. The new location features a spacious design with real trees lining the sides of the store and a giant mirrored ceiling.

“With the mirrors and everything… it’s such an open concept… the window… I’m so envious of this store, it’s gorgeous,” said Alexis Salazar, a visitor from Simi Valley.

If you visit the store, be sure to walk to the back and turn around and face the entrance way for the full outdoor/indoor effect.

The store is also among the first to feature a dedicated in store pickup area for online purchases.

“The fastest growing online segment is buy online pickup at the store and we love that. It gets the person on the property, and they get engaged, and people don’t want all their packages coming at home,” explained Grove developer Rick Caruso, who was admiring the design of the finished store.

Once Apple CEO Tim Cook was done greeting guests, he made his way over to me for an exclusive, one on one interview.

“We want a place for people to come in and browse and come in and explore technology and find out what the products will do for them,” started Cook.

I then asked how he thinks our relationship with technology has changed because of the pandemic.

“I think it’s become much more important to us… in getting along with our daily lives… it enabled us to stay connected to each other… and our work as well,” said Cook.

Next, I asked about the company’s recent decision to help customers repair their own iPhones and Mac computers.

“It feels good to put the manuals out there and get the parts out there that enables people to do this,” said Cook.

The company released many well-reviewed products in 2021, including the iPhone 13, new AirPods and new MacBook computers aimed at professionals. Of course, everyone wants to know what Apple is working on next.

“We’re very focused on augmented reality, we’re very focused on artificial intelligence… we’re very focused on autonomy, we’re very focused on all these things that are core technologies, and we’ll use them in a variety of ways,” started Cook.

Then I asked if Apple would have something that is the “next big thing,” sand he said “of course… Apple will always have something that is the next big thing.”

Guess we’ll have to stay tuned to find out exactly what that is.

Watch more of my exclusive interview below.