May 15, 2001: Steve Jobs flips the script on the dreadful experience of computer shopping, unveiling an ambitious plan to open 25 innovative Apple stores across the United States.
The first two Apple stores, located at Tysons Corner in McLean, Virginia, and the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, California, are set to open later that week. But this new Apple initiative is about much more than just a couple of retail outlets. It’s a radical reinvention of tech retail that will change the way computers get sold.
Apple is closing a pair of retail stores in east Texas, and opening a new one nearby to take on their traffic. But this has little to do with customer convenience; it’s likely all about patent lawsuits.
The move could easily save Apple millions of dollars.
People dropping into the new Apple Store in Chicago might be surprised to find that it’s actually a McDonald’s. This fast-food chain’s new flagship restaurant bears a strong resemblance to Apple’s retail stores.
The similarities are more than skin deep. The McDonald’s location strives to be as environmentally friendly as an Apple Store.
Angela Ahrendts is behind Apple’s strategy of rethinking its retail stores to play a bigger part in local communities, Apple’s senior vice president of retail revealed in an interview at Fortune‘s “Most Powerful Women” conference Monday night.
It’s with great sadness that I heard about the passing of Gary Allen this morning. I met Gary several times over the years and called and corresponded with him many times. He ran IFOAppleStore.com, by far the best website about Apple’s incredible chain of retail stores, a topic that proved a rich hunting ground, given its size, influence and global reach. Gary had an encyclopedic knowledge of Apple’s stores and his site — now sadly offline — was an incredible resource.
Gary was also known for traveling all over the word to attend store openings, often camping out the night before. He visited London, Paris, Tokyo, Istanbul, Beijing and many, many other cities. Some saw this as eccentric, but the point was not the store opening itself, but the chance to socialize with a bunch of like-minded people. To get some idea of his devotion to his hobby, check out his Twitter and Flickr feeds, still online and full of pictures from his travels.
I wrote a profile of Gary a few years ago that is now also offline, so I’m resurrecting it below.
Apple is planning to open a magnificent new flagship store in the heart of Chicago, according to a new report that claims the iPhone maker has zeroed in on 401 N. Michigan Ave. Apple already has one retail store on Michigan Avenue, but supposedly plans to shut down that one and move a half-mile south to the southern tip of the Magnificent Mile.