On the first anniversary of Steve Jobs' death, the popularity of Apple's products is a living testament to his special genius. But it's not the just the Macintosh, iPod, iPhone, and iPad that are his legacy. The hundreds of Apple stores are a kind of monument to his design and marketing vision and virtuosity.
With more than 390 stores in 13 countries, Jobs engineered a direct-to-customer connection and more than 1 billion people have entered an iconic Apple store since the first one opened in May of 2001. Jobs proved a multitude of critics wrong, who believed the retail store investment would never pay off.
Today Apple's stores generate more money per square foot than any other U.S. retailer, and accounted for $16 billion in sales for 2011 from 327 stores. Between October 2011 to August 2012, nearly 300 million people visited an Apple store around the world, and 50,000 people a day belly up to the Genius Bar for assistance, according to Apple.
Jobs' imprint is all over the stores. He fussed over many of the design details, and received patents for the glass staircase and other design innovations (see this New York Times interactive graphic for Jobs' patent citations). As reported in Walter Isaacson's biography, Jobs obsessed over what hue of gray to paint the store restrooms, the signature glass staircases and windows, and the stone used for the store floors that came from a quarry outside of Florence.
The digital store that was part of Jobs' disruption of the entertainment industry has sold more than 20 billion songs in the last nine year. The iTunes store is now available in 63 countries, and Apple now has 435 million accounts with a credit card attached. Going beyond music and video, the Apple App store is available in more than 150 countries and has more than 700,000 apps available.
Jobs left a strong foundation for his successors to build upon, and will be a tough act to follow.