It was 10 years ago on May 19, 2001 when Apple underwhelmed the world with the opening of its first retail store in the Tyson's Corner Center mall in Tyson's Corner, Virginia. You can find it next to LL Bean's and Nordstrum's. Now Apple has stores throughout the world and there isn't a company that doesn't envy their success.
Larry Dignan was one of the skeptics. Read his blog.
Although many of the stores are located in malls next to shoe stores or whatever, Apple does have some dazzling locations like this one in New York.
In 2010, Paris Opera Apple has added another retail location in Paris in a beautifully restored building smack dab next to the French capital's Théâtre National de l'Opéra. Note the towering ceilings, balcony, and the edge of a huge skylight.
Line for the iPad wraps around the Apple Store in Shanghai, China.
Here's the store in Rome, Italy. Not quite so dramatic.
The highlight of the Apple store on West 14th Street and 9th Avenue in the Meatpacking District of New York is this glass staircase. The neighborhood, once known for exactly what its name suggests, has now become a chic shopping and nightlife hub for both tourists and locals.
Apple stores have pretty much the same format: large open spaces, gear and software against the walls, and tables in the middle with computer or gear to try out.
One of the biggest feature of the Apple stores is the Genius Bar. While many sales are conducted online or at retail stores where sales clerks could be high school students earning extra bucks, the Genius Bar offered a place to bring in your defective gear and get a quick opinion of what's wrong with it - and some immediate action.
ZDNet's Jason Perlow relates his experiences, first a bad one at a packed store at the Garden State Plaza in New Jersey, then a great one at a relatively quiet store at Tice's Corner in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
The West 14th Street store in New York is the first Apple store to have a "Pro Labs" section, where free tutorials about programs are available for professionals who populate the downtown neighborhood.
This Apple store had low tables for kids to try out new machines.
Today, Apple stores are probably best known by the general public for their press photo ops of the lines that form whenever Apple comes out with a hot new product. Here is the scene at the Cambridgeside Galleria in Cambridge, Mass. days before the launch of the original iPhone. Note that that people are ready with their laptops and folding chairs.
The end of the line at the at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris.
Microsoft is one company that has tried to emulate Apple's retail empire in the last few years with a scattering of store openings. This one is in Scottsdale, Ariz. Next page is the local Apple store - the store wars.
They didn't quite have the same lines as Apple at the last launch of IE 9.
Apple's Scottsdale, Ariz. store.