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Feature: Apple Store, Tysons Grand Opening






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Living only about 20 minutes from Tysons Corner
Center, I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Apple
Store yesterday, during its grand opening. I arrived at
2pm and took my place in line.
An hour
and fifteen minutes later I was admitted, by the
guards standing watch, into the store. It
was worth the
wait.


Apple's high-design store layout felt much more like a
modern-art gallery than a computer retail outlet. The
store was teeming with Apple sales people (and
"geniuses" back around the Genius Bar) sporting black
"Shop Different" t-shirts. All current Macs (save the
dual-processor G4's which are a special order item)
were represented either along stylish wall-displays or
spread about
various island display arrangements. The various
AirPort wireless hubs, connecting all the Macs in the
store to the 'net, were prominently display as well.
There were Macs
equipped with video cameras running iMovie,
connected to ink-jet printers for print demonstrations,
and sporting headphones for iTunes demos--all were
running OS X.


There were more than just Macs on display for sale,
rounding out the feel and value of the store. There was
a moderate selection of boxed software on display, as
well as various Handspring and Palm handhelds, and
a nice selection of printers, scanners, displays, and
speakers.
The store is also selling a range of digital video
cameras as well as various pocket MP3 players. And
towards the back of the store, next to the Genius Bar, is
the presentation area where Apple reps were working
through a day-long schedule of product/technology
demonstrations. Pretty good stuff. (Read
more...)



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It was a pretty impressive event, all around. A great
many passers-by stopped and asked those in line what
the stir was. I was asked by ten people, I'd say. "Are
they giving something away?" they'd ask. "Is there
someone famous in there?" When they heard that
there were no door prizes (well...you did get a t-shirt
upon exiting), no celebrities, it was
interesting to note their varied responses.


Some were simply surprised by the turnout. Others
were somewhat dumbfounded ("the store's gonna be
there tomorrow, and every other day, right?"). Others,
still,
were more shaken to the core, it seemed ("you have
GOT to be KIDIDNG me--Christ!"). I think most "Mac
people" present were in the line, so those asking about
the event were a good representation of the 95% Apple
is after. And I think the stores are going to be a big win
for Apple, because regardless of how mystified the
onlookers were upon seeing the massive line, after
shaking their heads for a few moments, every single
one of them walked slowly by the store and gave this
genuine curiosity a long, hard
look.
There is no doubt that every single one of those people
will pay a visit to that store at some point, to see what
all the fuss was about.
I'm sure everyone in the line was pleased and
encouraged to see that sort of reaction. So even if each
individual store is not profitable (which, looking at retail
margins, I think is not unexpected), it's still a huge
advertising win for Apple--which is precisely the point.


We'd be interested in hearing others' reactions, in the
discussion forum, to the
opening of this store and the one in Glendale. It will be
interesting to track the
turnouts as each new Apple Store opens, one every ten
days for the rest of the year. In the meantime, if you're
lucky enough to live in close proximity to one of these
new stores, be sure to swing in and take a look. You
never know what you'll walk away with (in my case, it
was a new Epson printer)!

Related Roundup: Apple Stores