Blast from the Past: Steve Jobs Introduces the Apple Store [Video]



As Apple commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Apple Store retail launch, it’s fun to take a look back and see what things were like a decade ago. In the pre-launch video below from 2001, Steve Jobs gives us a walkthrough of Apple’s newest creation.

Apple Stores: A distinctive vision

A decade later, The Apple Stores still have the same overall look and feel. But there were fewer computers on hand and more accessories and peripherals back at that time. A full 50% of the floor space is dedicated to showcasing solutions and Mac software for sale. Contrast that with the current day, where boxed software products are disappearing from store shelves at a rapid clip — and soon none may be stocked at retail at all.

The G3 iMac and iBook, and the G4 PowerMac and PowerBook Titanium, were the core products of the day. AirPort wireless networking was the hot new technology, and Steve gleefully shows off how cool it is to pick your computer up and surf the internet without wires. Quite easy to pick up the PowerBook, in fact – those security cables that lock the laptops to the tables were probably introduced sometime on Day 2.

Genius Bars and iMacs

The Genius Bar was a lot smaller then, just a small table in the back nearly overshadowed by the other sections of the store. Check out the red Batphone on the back counter that Geniuses could use to call Cupertino should a problem stump the locals. I don’t even remember that, wonder how long it lasted?

The back of the store housed a theater for product demos, announcements and training. Within a few years, those were all removed to make room for the ever-expanding Genius Bars. And you gotta love those Flower Power iMacs at the front checkout counters! Customers weren’t very fond of this model (or it’s companion in Blue Dalmatian). I wonder if Apple needed some way to put their excess stock to use?

It’s not noted which location this is — could be either of the first two Apple Stores to open, in Tysons Corner, Virginia, or Glendale, California. Anyone recognize the trappings of the time?

Video: Steve Jobs introduces the Apple Store

Update: The store is Tysons Corner, Virginia, and the video was shown at MacWorld New York in 2001. The final version had music under Steve’s narration, this appears to be a rough cut of that presentation.


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