Apple Stores’ biggest fan shined a light on the little people

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Gary Allen with his son, Devin, at a Beijing Apple Store in 2008.
Gary Allen with his son, Devin, at a Beijing Apple Store in 2008.
Photo: Devin Allen

Cult of Mac 2.0 bugTim Cook, Jony Ive and Apple’s legendary Steves earned their loyal followings.

Writer Gary Allen made sure the foot soldiers — Apple retail workers and even the carpenters who made display tables for Apple Stores — got props for their contributions to Cupertino by way of Allen’s now-defunct website ifo Apple Store.

In doing so, Allen left his own thankful and devoted followers saddened when he passed away last fall from brain cancer.

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.

World’s biggest Apple fanboy dies

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ifo Apple Store creator Gary Allen.
ifo Apple Store creator Gary Allen.
Photo: Gary Allen

Apple lost its biggest fan ever this week. Gary Allen, creator of the beloved ifo Apple Store blog, died Sunday at the age of 67 after battling brain cancer.

Allen was one of the most respected voices in the Apple community when it came to the company’s retail presence worldwide, and often made long trips to Apple Store openings across the globe. He attended more than 140 openings, and knew more about Apple Stores than any other outsider — insight he gladly shared with fans on his now-defunct blog.