Today in Apple history: Apple reinvents the computer store

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Steve Jobs offers a sneak peek at the first Apple store prior to its opening.
Steve Jobs offers a sneak peek at the first Apple store prior to its opening.
Photo: Apple

May 15: Today in Apple history: Apple reinvents the computer store, with plans to open 25 Apple Stores in the U.S. 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.

Atlanta could get super-sized flagship Apple Store

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This could be the next Atlanta Apple Store.
This could be the next Atlanta Apple Store.
Photo: Schroeder Architects

The Apple Store in Atlanta’s Lenox Mall is apparently getting a big upgrade.

An illustration of a new store coming to this high-end mall has surfaced, and while it doesn’t yet have an Apple logo, the company’s familiar design is very much in evidence.

This McDonald’s is as pretty as an Apple Store

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Is this an Apple Store or a McDonald's?
Is this an Apple Store or a McDonald's?
Photo: McDonald's

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.

Apple plans store in Downtown Los Angeles’ historic Tower Theater

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The Tower Theater will be the home of the first LA Apple Store in the Downtown district.
The 91-year-old Tower Theater will be the home of the first LA Apple Store in the Downtown district.
Photo: Steve Minor/Flickr

There are multiple Apple Stores in the Los Angeles Area, but not one in the Downtown district. That’s apparently just about to change.

The iPhone maker has plans to put an Apple Store in the historic Tower Theater on S. Broadway.

New Seattle Apple Store focuses on education rather than products

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Seattle Apple Store has a giant screen
A giant screen for Today at Apple classes is the focus of the Seattle Apple Store.
Photo: Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times

You can still buy MacBooks and iPads at new Apple Store in Seattle, but that’s not the main emphasis. Instead, this retail location is built around a giant screen that’s used for educational events.

Of course, these educational events are all product related, like how to take better pictures with an iPhone. Or run a small business with an iPad.

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

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AppleStore_7
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.