Apple lost its biggest fan ever this week. Gary Allen, creator of the beloved ifo Apple Store blog, died Sunday at the age of 67 after battling brain cancer.
Allen was one of the most respected voices in the Apple community when it came to the company’s retail presence worldwide, and often made long trips to Apple Store openings across the globe. He attended more than 140 openings, and knew more about Apple Stores than any other outsider — insight he gladly shared with fans on his now-defunct blog.
ifo Apple Store announced it was shutting down in March. Citing increased interest in Apple’s retail operations from analysts, architects and others, Allen said he was shutting down the site to get back to family.
“Who am I to keep up with them?” wrote Allen. “So, I’m doing to focus on my family and friends, drop the demands of writing and get back to what it was before—just fun.”
In an article in the Washington Post, Allen’s brother said the real reason he gave it up was his brain cancer diagnosis. He didn’t want people to worry about him.
Gary wasn’t just a fan of Apple products. He loved the way they brought people together. His passion and insights into Apple Stores and how they reflected the style and culture of the cities they inhabited was unparalleled, and his absence will be felt.
I never knew Gary personally, but I did email with him for stories quite a few times. He was always so nice, enthusiastic and eager to share what he knew. He was better than anyone at covering Apple retail.
Besides being the ultimate Apple fanboy and an encyclopedia of Apple knowledge, Allen was a really great guy. My colleague Luke Dormehl’s message in Slack this morning sums up how most of us feel about his passing better than I can express:
“The ecosystem of people who write about, read about, buy and collect Apple products is a pretty passionate one — particularly for people who remember the ‘bad old days’ of the 1990s. I had the opportunity to speak with Gary just a few times, but he was always incredibly helpful and insightful with his love of (of all things) Apple Stores. The world has lost a great Apple writer and, from where I stand, a pretty darn nice guy, too.”