Apple stores: 10 years of genius (photos)

Many laughed when Apple opened its first retail store 10 years ago. Nobody is laughing now.

Topic: Apple
1 of 21 Andy Smith/ZDNet

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.

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Steve Jobs takes you on a tour of the first store just before it opened in 2001. They even have labels on the ceiling to identify the different stations. Watch the YouTube video.

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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.

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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.

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Line for the iPad wraps around the Apple Store in Shanghai, China.

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The Apple store in the Soho district of New York City lives in an area that was famous for its red lights.

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Here's the store in Rome, Italy. Not quite so dramatic.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This Apple store had low tables for kids to try out new machines.

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Even Apple stores can be hit by low-tech robberies. It took 31 seconds for these burglars to grab iPhones, iPods and MacBook Pros from the story at the Sagemore NJ Apple Store.

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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.

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Thinking back, it's hard to believe that lines were forming a day before the iPhone 3 was introduced in 2009. Here's one at the San Francisco Apple Store.

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But once again in 2010, lines formed again worldwide for people to be the first to get an iPhone 4. Here's what it looked like in Paris at the Carrousel du Louvre.

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The end of the line at the at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris.

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iPhone 3 GS lines were actually shorter in Louisville, Ky in 2009 than others for earlier versions of Apple iPhones.

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Apple's trademark.

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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.

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Apple's Scottsdale, Ariz. store.

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