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January 6th, 2000

[Expo Report] MACWORLD Expo - CompUSA Near Moscone Center has Impressive Apple Display - Pictures included
by Bryan Chaffin

John Braun and I headed into the CompUSA that is just around the corner from the Moscone Center where MACWORLD Expo is being held. Since the Apple Store-with-in-a-Store was introduced more than a year ago, there have been complaints from all over the country about the Mac experience at these stores. If the new design we found at this location is any example, those complaints will soon go the way of DOS.

This CompUSA location is set up on two floors. Though somewhat large, the layout is typical of many downtown retail spaces in that it is somewhat narrow, but stretches out. For people interested in Macs, they will find Apple spread throughout both floors. Apple has most of the top floor with some beautifully displayed iMacs, iBooks, PowerBooks, and PowerMac G4s. Many of the iMacs are set up on a CompUSA internal network and all of them had a constant supply of customers testing them out. The other Mac units were not set up on the network.

The iBooks, PowerBooks, and PowerMac G4s were displayed on pedestals and workers were installing great lights that will offer a soft wash over the products. When completed, this will be very sexy. iBooks were also set up in great looking rotating displays in the window space of the store. You couldn't go anywhere without being confronted by lots of Apple "Think Different" advertisements staring you in the face as well.

An Apple Specialist from CompUSA was handling the large quantity of people checking out the goods. He told us that Mac goods have been flying off the shelves for a while now. This included all 30 copies of Quake 3 Arena that vanished within 30 minutes of going on sale.

The full Store within a store was downstairs and was also packed full of people. Of course, to get there, you had to go right past the entirely iMac Internet Cafe provided by Apple and CompUSA. All available machines here were also in use as they were upstairs.

This CompUSA had lots of products for sale including peripherals, software, and plenty of hardware. Everything was in working order and obviously kept that way all the time.

We have pictures of this store available for your perusal!

The Mac Observer Spin: The problem is that not all units are like this. The Apple Specialist on duty told us that it was the same company hired to set up the Expo that had put up the awesome display on the first floor. He also told us that there were 30 stores in Japan with that setup and that more were coming to the States. We can not confirm this yet, but if so it would be a great step for CompUSA and Apple alike.

Our fear is that we found a great store because Apple stepped in to make sure the CompUSA near the Expo was in tip-top shape. They should be doing this all over the country. Of course, CompUSA should be doing so too. Window dressing to pretend that everything is OK is a sad aspect of denial. We would prefer to think that the great CompUSA employee we chatted with is correct and that more stores will be getting the great setup that we saw there.

MACWORLD Expo SF Special Report



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