Today in Apple history: Apple reinvents the computer store

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Steve Jobs gives us a sneak peak at the first Apple store prior to its opening.
Photo: Apple

May15 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 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 erects giant display worth $1.5 million in ‘next-gen’ retail store

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Apple Stores just got a bit more spectacular.
Photo: Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Whether it’s adding tree-lined avenues or high-tech display tables for showing off the Apple Watch or iPhone, the design of the Apple Store is constantly changing.

The latest innovation is a giant floor-to-ceiling television display, which can be seen at Apple’s new Saddle Creek Store in Germantown, Tennessee.

And you thought the 12.9-inch iPad Pro had a big screen!

Remembering Gary Allen, Apple stores’ most devoted overnight camper

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Gary Allen at Apple's store in Tysons Corner, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C.
Gary Allen at Apple's store in Tysons Corner, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C.
Photo: Gary Allen

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 to build new flagship store on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile

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Apple's looking for a new home in Chicago.
Apple's looking for a new home in Chicago.
Photo: Zeller Reality

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.

Apple Watch might hit store shelves sooner than you think

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You'll be able to buy your Apple Watches in-store after WWDC.

Apple is likely to use next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference to announce the availability of Apple Watches in its brick-and-mortar retail stores, according to a new report. The announcement is said to be planned either as part of the WWDC keynote or directly afterward.

Secret Apple Watch boutique is under construction at Paris’ fanciest store

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Photo: Kaysgeog/Flickr CC
The Galeries Lafayette is getting a special visitor. Photo: Kaysgeog/Flickr CC

Apple Watch isn’t just a techie gadget. It’s a fashion item.

To drill that point into everyone’s heads during launch, it looks like Apple is setting up a special booth at one of the fanciest high-end department stores in Paris: Galeries Lafayette Haussmann.

Construction on a special booth at Galeries Lafayette began a few weeks ago, according to Mac4Ever. There’s no official word that the structure is for the Apple Watch, but the timing, location and large white walls all point to Apple.

Take a look at the site:

Machine Crush Monday: Apple’s iconic Fifth Avenue store turns 8

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Apple Store, Fifth Avenue

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It takes a lot to be both New York City’s most photographed landmark and Apple’s most beautiful retail store. It’s rare that a shop can genuinely be said to take your breath away, but in the case of New York’s Fifth Avenue Apple Store, it lives up to its reputation — and then some.

A big glass box with a glass elevator in the middle, as well as a see-through staircase, complete with wrap-around glass banister, it’s a little bit like Apple’s long-forgotten (but spectacular) Power Mac G4 Cube — only so big that you can shop in it.

Grossing more than any other store in New York, and making more dosh per square foot than any other store in the world, exactly eight years after it opened its doors, Apple’s flagship retail store has become an iconic part of the New York landscape.

And like a lot of the best Apple products, it owes it all to Steve Jobs.

London Apple Stores Begin Stocking International Parts For This Summer’s Olympic Games

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Apple's stunning Covent Garden store will be one of the many London stores making provisions for international journalists.
Apple's stunning Covent Garden store will be one of the many London stores making provisions for international journalists.

Apple retail stores in London have begun stocking international parts ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games as the company prepares for an “onslaught” of international journalists seeking repairs. Many of the journalists covering the event, which kicks off on July 27, are expected to be carrying Apple notebooks, so international keyboards are expected to be high in demand.