Big Shoulders, Retail Macs (11/22/00)
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Okay, so the cat's out of the proverbial translucent bag on this whole Apple-operated retail store deal, and Uncle Steve's probably none too pleased about one of his Macworld Expo keynote surprises being spoiled. Still, he's a smart guy and he knows the way of the world, so he can't exactly be stunned that a venture requiring the involvement of lots of outside agencies led to a bit of premature chatter on the subject. Sadly, we can fake putting a man on the moon, but we still lack the technology to conjure forth a slew of retail stores overnight without all that tedious mucking about with loose-lipped architectural review boards, zoning commissions, and the like. Bummer, huh?

But wait, there's more! Not only do we know about the three stores Apple plans to open in California this spring, but now we also know that it's not just a Left Coast thing. According to a Crain's Chicago Business blurb we first saw mentioned at MacNN, it appears that the Windy City is also slated to host an Apple store that'll probably open its doors "next spring." A "person familiar with the matter" indicates that Apple is about to sign a lease on a 28,000-square-foot former home of the Gap, located at Michigan and Huron in the swanky shopping neighborhood known as the Magnificent Mile.

An Apple-branded store on Michigan Avenue in one of AtAT's spiritual home towns? Hey, you can't beat that with a stick. While it's true that the Magnificent Mile isn't exactly the place where the Unwashed Masses might go to do their computer shopping (the area's more conducive to on-foot window shopping, not to picking up an iMac or two), it draws a lot of tourist traffic, and during the holiday season the throngs of shoppers are three people deep. Apple picked a great spot for visibility and mind share alone, even if it doesn't sell a single Mac. However, given that Chicago's big design and advertising firms are a stone's throw away, we bet that business might actually be pretty brisk.

Apple's somewhat ritzy choice for a Chicago location is starting to clarify the primary goal for its retail project: to increase the visibility and strength of the brand, rather than to compete hardcore with its own resellers. (At least, we hope that's the case.) By the way, we imagine that zoning permissions and stuff like that's all a matter of public record, so we're guessing that details about other Apple stores slated for a spring grand opening may start to surface soon enough. Stay tuned to find out if one will be coming to your town soon.


 
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The above scene was taken from the 11/22/00 episode:

November 22, 2000: Chicago surfaces as the latest city lucky enough to host an Apple retail store. Meanwhile, Apple launches a new commercial pushing the iMac as the best way to give the Internet to that certain special someone this holiday season, and an astute viewer uncovers undeniable proof of Apple's project to release Mac OS X for Intel...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2695: The Mystery Of Dog Face (11/22/00)   Last night we got to experience that rare joy once again-- the surprise sighting of a brand spankin' new Apple commercial on broadcast TV. There we were, tuned in to Buffy as per the usual sacred Tuesday night ritual, when Jeff Goldblum's inimitable presence commandeered our set and proceeded to tout the Internet as the ideal holiday gift, and the iMac as the ideal way to give it...

  • 2696: Highly Illogical, Captain (11/22/00)   We admit it; as far as long-standing Apple rumors go, the "Mac OS on Intel" one sort of leaves us cold. Sure, the PowerPC is hideously behind x86 on the clock speed front (if not necessarily in terms of performance), and it's undoubtedly hurting Apple's sales...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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