November 1-6: CompUSA, Monsters, Inc.
Published November 1st, 2004

This frankly isn't the most exciting week in Apple history we have documented in this series, but there were a couple of interesting events.

The first is what may well have been Apple's prototype testing for what would eventually become the company's brick and mortar Apple Stores. We're talking about the CompUSA store-within-a-store concept, which was announced this week in 1997.

This was important in a number of ways. Firstly, it marked the return of Apple to a major computer retailer after having pulled out of CompUSA, Best Buy, Circuit City, etc. earlier in the year. The store-within-a-store idea gave Apple a dedicated shopping area within CompUSA, so that customers would (in theory) find stocked shelves, working Macs, and trained staff people.

The reality, of course, is that some CompUSA locations "got it," and these areas kicked retail butt. Others, however, didn't get it, and the stores-within-a-store were not well-maintained. Be that as it may, the CompUSA stores were largely a success, helped in part by the popularity of the Bondi Blue iMac.

Moving on to Steve's other job, it was this week in 2001, believe it or not, that Pixar's Monsters, Inc. was released. It was...wait for it...a monstrous success.

In more mundane news, it was this week in 2002 that Apple bumped the TiBook line to 867 MHz and 1 GHz. We have details on that, and the new iBooks also introduced, below.

Lastly, it was this week in 2003 that Apple pointed out to the world that the iTunes Music Store (iTMS) was the top dog in music downloads. Apple announced that its customers had downloaded some 5 times as many songs as Napster customers during Napster's first week of operations. That pretty much made it clear that the iTMS was going to remain the #1 service for the foreseeable future as Napster was the best and biggest challenger yet to come knocking on Apple's digital doors. All had failed to unseat the champ, though Napster has so far been the most nimble of Apple's foes.

You can find more information on many of the entries below in Owen Linzmayer's excellent Apple Confidential 2.0. The other entries can be found in TMO's archives, and we link to articles whenever we can.1981:

November 01-06

1997: Apple announces it has struck a deal with CompUSA, one of the leading computer resellers in the United States, to launch a new "store within a store," featuring Macintosh products in every one of its 148 retail locations. The CompUSA experiment will prove an immediate successes; in those CompUSA locations featuring an Apple "store within a store," Mac sales quickly soar from three percent of CompUSA's overall PC business to 14 percent.

2001: Pixar Animation Studios -- Steve Jobs' "other company" -- releases Monsters, Inc., the firm's fourth feature film. The opening-weekend gross of US$62.6 million is the sixth-largest opening in motion picture industry history.

2002: Apple updates its iBook and PowerBook lines of portable computers with faster processors, more powerful graphics controllers, and Mac OS X 10.2 "Jaguar" preinstalled. The iBook family now comes standard with ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 graphics controllers. The iBook with a 12.1-inch TFT display costs US$999 for a 700MHz G3 model, or US$1,299 for an 800MHz model. The top-of-the-line iBook with a 14.1-inch display and 800MHz G3 costs US$1,599.

The Titanium PowerBook G4 series has standardized on the ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 graphics controller to drive its 15.2-inch display. The entry-level PowerBook G4 with a 867MHz G4 and a Combo optical drive now costs US$2,299. For US$700 more, you get a 1GHz G4, the industry's first slot-loading SuperDrive, and more memory, a bigger hard drive, and an AirPort Card built in.

2003: Apple announces that music fans have purchased and downloaded 1.5 million songs from Apple's iTunes Music Store in just one week, five times as many songs as sold by Napster during the same period, its first week of operation as a legitimate digital music purveyor. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the iTunes Music Store had more than 80 percent market share of legally purchased downloads last week. With a catalog of over 400,000 songs priced at 99 cents each, Apple has sold more than 17 million songs since launching the iTunes Music Store in April.