More Retail Rumors A-Plenty (5/4/01)

You know, at this point the real mystery isn't where Apple's retail stores will be, or what they'll look like, or whether their commercials will feature arrow-through-the-head Crazy Steve pushing Midnight Madness sales by holding up fistfuls of cash while yelling "Insanely great, or just insane? Our prices are so low you'll think I'm mercurial!" Nope, right now the question that's vying for the most attention of our frontal lobes is why, in the name of all that's good and decent, hasn't the company acknowledged that these stores are even in the works? After all, everyone knows that this is happening; loose-lipped zoning board members and mall managers from coast to coast have blabbed enough details to erase all doubt.

For instance, the latest in the leakage comes from Think Secret. Check in there for further dirt on how New York City may get as many as four stores (now that's a Big Apple), news of an Apple rep scouting out potential spots in Miami, word that Apple is invading Microsoft's backyard with stores in Seattle and Bellevue, a faint suggestion that more stores are headed for "Memphis, Las Vegas, Louisville, Portland, Boise, Montgomery, Orlando, and Jacksonville," and more. Meanwhile, the general manager of a shopping center in Phoenix spilled to the Business Journal last week, revealing that an Apple store will be opening in his own little slice of consumer paradise. And even those crazy birds chirping outside the AtAT studios are whistling encouraging tunes about no fewer than three such Mac havens sprouting up in the immediate Boston vicinity. The news is everywhere.

And yet, Steve Jobs pulled together a vast assemblage of reporters three days ago, chucked a bunch of iBook specs at them, and hustled them out with nary a mention of the hush-hush "R" word which rhymes with "shmetail." Color us clueless, but we're stumped as to why Apple insists on remaining so tight-lipped about what is shaping up to be the worst-kept secret since the role of fluoridated water in the subjugation of humankind to a hostile alien race. The most obvious scenario is that Apple's waiting until the first stores are actually ready to open their doors before stunning the world with such utterly unexpected news, but given that at least some people are talking about a "surprise" announcement as early as next week, we're hard-pressed to guess what difference a one-week delay would make. But this is all firmly in the realm of rumor, after all.

In any event, we're still expecting an announcement sooner rather than later. Don't forget to act surprised when you hear the news; there's no reason to spoil Steve's fun, right?

SceneLink (3033)
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The above scene was taken from the 5/4/01 episode:

May 4, 2001: Apple continues to wave the "No Comment" flag even as further evidence of scads of Apple retail stores continues to pour in. Meanwhile, service steps up a notch as Apple ups warranties on refurbished products to one year and restores extended AppleCare options, and now that the new iBook is done, Apple's gnomes turn back to the PowerBook in preparation for a feature bump this summer...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3034: Service: Getting Some Back (5/4/01)   Speaking of poorly-kept secrets, it's not going to come as any surprise to most of you that technical support for Apple customers-- while still pretty strong-- has been on a downhill path for the past few years...

  • 3035: ...And Back To The TiBook (5/4/01)   More than a few of you are a smidge puzzled by one thing about the new iBook: the option of getting an internal CD-RW or CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo drive in Apple's lower-cost consumer portable, while the high-end PowerBook G4 is strictly DVD-ROM-only...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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