The first lines outside Apple Store

You may have forgotten by now, but the first lines outside Apple Store were for the openings…

My graduate school friend, Dave, called me that morning and mentioned that an Apple Store was opening up in the area and we should check it out. We casually showed up just before noon and were totally blown away by the lines.

The line for Apple Store

The line for Apple Store
Apple Store, Palo Alto, California

Olympus C-2500L
(3 exposures, 1/200-1/400sec, f/2.9), iso100, 11.8mm (47mm)

I took this photo nine years ago today (October 6, 2001) outside Apple Store Palo Alto. It was the ninth Apple Store opening, and the first street-level Apple Store.

The sign reads: “5 down, 95 to go.” It is a reference to the fact that Apple has only 5% market share and the retail store concept was trying to reach the other 95%.

Apple modeled the store after the Gap. The anticipation buildup was stolen from the first lines for Microsoft Windows 95 six years earlier. Apple’s nearest competitor, Gateway Country Stores failed three years later in 2004. Microsoft would copy this idea eight years later in 2009with impending failure?

I’d say the retail store idea worked better than Apple could have ever imagined.

Discouraged by the lines that morning, we had lunch across the street at Pluto’s. When we finished, there was no line and we walked right in. They still had some free t-shirts when we left.

That was a good day.

Update: Apple and Microsoft go head-to-head with Microsoft’s fifth store-to-be.

2 thoughts on “The first lines outside Apple Store

  1. Apple retails stores are amazingly popular. It seems like every time you walk by one, the place is full. I am a PC guy but every time I go into an apple store, I come so close to blowing $2k. Their products lend themselves so well to presentation.

    On a side note Palo Alto is the perfect place for an apple store.

  2. Apple stores do tend to be a bit crowded as they found themselves quite a maket in people who wants to go for the product. I am an apple fan myself. I will confess to an uncontrollable urge to rub my neck every time I see the price tag puked out by the symbol scanners at the store.

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