Saturday, June 28, 2003


They aren't kidding when they say the Apple Store North Michigan Avenue is the greatest Apple Store ever, and last night's big opening night party just reinforced that belief (take that SoHo!).

I hopped in line about two and a half hours before the 6 p.m. grand opening. I was about the 150th person in line (not bad, actually). I even heard the people in front had camped out overnight.

The line got much, much, much longer as the afternoon wore on. By the time the doors opened, the line went all the way around the block. Then it doubled back and went all the way back around the block. When I left the store around 7:00, the line still was still huge.

The employees were obviously excited (and for good reason), and came out to greet the people in line before the store opened. Once the doors opened they were standing right inside cheering and giving high-fives to everyone on the way in.

The store itself is fantastic. The glass staircase is big, awe-inspiring, and also just a little unnerving to walk on. The second floor features a theater with rows of big movie-theater style chairs. To the right of the theater (if facing the screen) is a big ol' software and peripheral section and the internet "café" (my only gripe is that the term "café" refers to a couple rows of iMacs with iSights on them; no actual Café is in the Apple Store). To the left of the theater is the store's fantastic Genius Bar. It's huge, it has screens showing off "Quick Tips", and it's full of geniuses. Also on the left is the "kiddie" section with those crazy sphere chairs. The first floor features all the hardware, with the checkout in back. You can try out basically every Apple machine (but, no, there wasn't a single G5 to go drool over).

Everyone got a free t-shirt on their way out (there was also the iSight giveaway; I didn't win). The shirts are very nice, and have changed since the last store opening I attended (the Oakbrook store, back in November). While I miss the "Shop Different" logo on back, the slick and simple sans-serif look is very nice.

If you're ever out in Chicago... well, you know where to go (it might not be a shindig every day, but it's still an awesome store).


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