‘Time machine’ app takes you inside Apple Store history


Sure, time travel exists. But in this case, you can only go to four places.
Sure, time travel exists. But in this case, you can only go to four places.
Photo: Michael Steeber

If you missed some of the biggest Apple Store openings ever, don’t worry. Now there’s an app for that. The Apple Store Time Machine app transports you to opening day at four iconic locations with a surprising amount of detail.

Michael Steeber created the interactive app to take you back to opening day in four places (and times): Tysons Corner (McLean, Va.), Stanford Shopping Center (Palo Alto, Calif.), Fifth Avenue (New York, NY) and Infinite Loop (Cupertino).

Apple Store Time Machine app goes back to four opening days: Tysons Corner, Stanford Shopping Center, Fifth Avenue and Infinite Loop

Apple Retail maven Michael Steeber built the Apple Store Time Machine app. It’s an immersive Mac app to experience and explore four Apple Stores. They appear in great details, just as they were at their grand-opening events.

Steeber knows Apple Retail, history and design. Some of his past projects saw him create the Apple Store app, map out Apple’s wide array of space gray shades, track Apple stores open during the pandemic and explore new Apple Stores, such as Tower Theater in Los Angeles.

Now the new app takes you back in time to four important Apple stores. And he shows you how they were on their opening days with what appears to be a high degree of historical accuracy.

“The Apple Store Time Machine is a celebration of the places and products that have shaped our lives for more than twenty years. This interactive experience recreates memorable moments in Apple history with painstaking detail and historical accuracy,” Steerer said of the project.

The camera moves a bit quickly and kind of jerks around a bit. Hopefully you’re not prone to motion sickness.

Are you ready to travel in time?

When you start the app, an opening loading screen with flying toasters, sound effects and Mac OS Aqua main menu greets you.

The four stores (and times) you can visit are Tysons Corner in McLean, Va, on May 19, 2001; the world’s first Apple Store in the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, Calif. on October 16, 2004; the Fifth Avenue store in New York City on May 19, 2006; and the “reimagined” Infinite Loop in Apple’s hometown of Cupertino, Calif., on September 19, 2015.

When you go into a store, you get a brief description of its history and significance. You can navigate using the ASDW or arrow keys and/or your mouse or trackpad.

Along the way, you’ll see a remarkable amount of detail. You can see price tags and specs on the original products that were available on opening day. You can check out video Steve Jobs pitching products on a PowerBook screen and behold the original Genius Bar with the bright red phone of yesteryear.

Try Apple Store Time Machine — it’s free

Whether you’re obsessed with Apple or you just have fond memories of spending all your money on Apple Store Time Machine is kind of a trip.

It’s a free download (for Mac) but you can donate to support the work that went into researching, designing and building the app.

Where to download: The Apple Store Time Machine


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