The first Apple stores opened 15 years ago -- watch Steve Jobs walk you through one

Apple store brussels 5AppleApple’s new store in Brussels, Belgium.

It may be hard to imagine a time before they existed, but Apple’s retail stores celebrated their 15th birthday on Thursday.

When they first opened, the concept of an Apple Store seemed like a risky proposition —  The New York Times called it “an aggressive move during an economic slowdown”. 

At the time, Apple’s computer business was doing OK, but the personal computer landscape was still dominated by Windows PCs. The iPod was a success, but in the pre-iPhone days Apple didn’t have a lot of money to burn on ventures like retail.

Fifteen years and 479 stores later, the bet Apple made paid off. Apple stores generate more revenue per square foot than any other retailer — even jewellery stores. They’re so successful that Microsoft has opened their own stores in the hopes of replicating Apple’s success. 

Before they officially opened, Steve Jobs made a video walkthrough of the Tysons Corner, VA store to give folks an idea of what the stores would look like. Some things, including the genius bar and long wooden tables, have remained the same, while the overall layout of the stores has since evolved.

The video is a blast from the past, and comes from a time when Apple was still the underdog, trying new things to differentiate themselves from all the other PC makers.

 

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