First On TMO - London Apple Store Opens to Media (FIRST PHOTOS)

by , 7:30 AM EST, November 18th, 2004

LONDON -- Apple Computer opened its new London retail store to the news media Thursday for a 'sneak peek' of its new UK flagship store which will open officially to the public Saturday.

MacUser UK editor Nik Rawlinson was one of the first reporters to see the new store, as only European press were allowed access.

"It's like nothing we've seen in London," said Mr. Rawlinson. "It's the perfect mix of architecture that was there already together with a new, modern look."

The store covers two floors on London's upscale Regent Street. Apple representatives said the new London store has the largest single sales floor of any Apple retail store and a 14-metre long Genius Bar with 20 stools. Apple said some 100,000 people visit the genius bar at Apple retail store worldwide each week seeking help and advice.

The ground floor entrance has the same type of glass staircase leading to the second floor as exists in Apple's New York City flagship store.
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The store has 77 iPod's and 60 Macs on display covering both floors. Unlike other Apple retail outlets, the London store has the largest selection of third-party products anywhere, the company said.

The Genius Bar spans some 14 metres, one of the longest and largest of any Apple retail store.
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The new store has a 64-seat state-of-the-art theatre where some 250 classes will take place in the first 30 days, Apple said.

In addition, the new store has two specially equipped studio classrooms offering hands-on technical instruction for Mac beginners and professionals alike. Creative experts will be on hand to help Mac users with a variety of issues.

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There will also be two studios behind scenes for face-to-face classes - something Apple has not done in its other retail stores until now. Classes will range from Apple products to third-party solutions, starting at 99 including VAT for an iPhoto class and daily productivity solutions.

Apple said it had gotten some 4,000 applicants to work at the store in the past six months. 138 people will work at the store, none of them on a commission scale.

Nick Rawlinson and MacUser UK magazine contributed to this article, including photos.

(Click the thumbnail for a larger view.)

(Click the thumbnail for a larger view.)