With today being the 10th anniversary of the first Apple retail store, it's worth taking a look back at what Apple was actually offering when its first stores opened up. Cult of Mac has dug up a wonderful time capsule (no, not Apple's Time Capsule) of a video featuring Apple CEO Steve Jobs giving a quick walk-through of the first store layout:
Notably missing is any background music from the Black Eyed Peas, which were just on the verge of gaining Fergie power, as well as the iPod, which Apple would introduce a few months later. Instead, it's just Jobs doing a quick run-through of the store's various areas, which are broken down by computing need.
"Every product we make is in this first 25 percent of the store," Jobs beams. "You can see the whole product line."
That very point was said to be a cause for concern just a year after this video was taped, when the company expanded its operations into New York. At a speech given to press at the 2006 opening of its Fifth Avenue store in New York, Apple's senior vice president of retail Ron Johnson reminisced that the company was "nervous" about filling nearly 20,000 square feet with a set of products that could fit on a conference room table.
In 2001, Apple's solution was to fill the rest of the store with "solutions" or situational use of computers tied to accessories to give customers an idea of why they should shell out for Apple gear.
"The center half of the store--literally half the store--is devoted to solutions, because people don't just want to buy personal computers anymore," Jobs explained. "They want to know what they can do with them, and we're going to show people just that."
While that idea hasn't changed since 2001, one big thing that has are the third-party products the company stocks on its shelves. At the time, Jobs noted that the store six different digital cameras, six camcorders, six MP3 players, and six handheld organizers. All of those items have effectively been squeezed into Apple's own gadgets since then--specifically the iPhone and iPod touch. The store also stocks more than 300 boxed software titles, something Apple's scaled back on dramatically, and on the road to doing away with completely with efforts like the Mac App Store.