Apple Computer has announced it plans to open 25 retail stores during 2001, with the first two set to open 19-May-2001 at busy Tyson's Corner mall in McLean, Virginia and the Glendale Galleria near Los Angeles. Future locations will include Chicago's North Michigan Avenue, Prince Street in Manhattan's SoHo district, and the gigantic Mall of America in Minnesota. The Apple stores will reportedly feature the complete Apple product line, as well as third party devices and peripherals like MP3 players, digital cameras, digital camcorders, PDA devices, and other "digital lifestyle" products. The stores will also carry hundreds of software titles for professionals, consumers, and education. The Apple stores will be organized into five sections, including a Theater demonstrating Apple technology, a Solutions area showing how to make the most of a Mac and integrate it with other digital products, and a "Genius Bar" which Apple says will be staffed by the most knowledgable people in the local Mac community, ready and willing to answer any questions customers might have. (We'll hope the Genius Bar fares better than the Apple Cafe.) At a news conference today, Apple clearly indicated it wants these stores to be visible, hip showcases of concrete advantages of Apple technology in high traffic, affluent malls and lifestyle centers. Ron Johnson, Apple's vice president for retail, speculated that the Apple stores would be seeing more than 100,000 people a week during the 2001 holiday season.
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