8 photos that show how different Apple stores looked when they first opened — and how they've changed - deals in retail

By Avery Hartmans

  • The first Apple retail stores opened their doors in May 2001.
  • The first stores had a mix of furniture, hawked deals on third-party products, and had dedicated Genius Bars where people could go for tech support.
  • Since then, Apple had made the stores look sleeker and more modern and the Genius Bar has become a thing of the past.
  • When the stores opened in 2001, Tim Cook was Apple’s senior vice president of operations — these days, he’s CEO.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories

Back in 2001, Apple launched something new that would be ubiquitous in American life and would inspire several other tech companies to follow suit.

But it wasn’t a revolutionary new gadget that signified you were on the cutting edge of technology — it was a retail store inside a mall in suburban America.

Apple’s first two physical retail locations opened in May 2001 in McLean, Virginia, and Glendale, California. Then-CEO Steve Jobs announced that the stores would be the first of 25 the company planned to open in 2001 as a way for Apple customers to “learn and experience the things they can actually do with a computer, like make movies, burn custom music CDs, and publish their digital photos on a personal website.”

These days, Apple has more than 500 retail stores worldwide.

But the Apple retail experience has evolved significantly over the past 19 years. Gone are the curved tables, colorful carpets, and Genius Bar. In their place are long wooden tables chosen by former design chief Jony Ive and roving employees who can take you through the checkout process using just their iPhone.

Here’s what Apple stores looked like when they first opened compared to how they look today.

First Apple Store - deals in retail Apple opened its first two stores — Apple Tysons Corner and Apple Glendale Galleria — on May 19, 2001. Apple said that more than 7,700 people visited the two stores during their opening weekend and Apple saw nearly $600,000 in combined sales in the two-day span.
Steve Jobs Apple retail Reuters Photographer

Source: Apple

The Tysons Corner store opened first, at 10 a.m. that Saturday. But fans were lined up around the block at 4 a.m. that morning — at the time, it was described as “a scene from a rock concert.”

Apple store Tysons Corner
The first Apple store at Tysons Corner mall in McLean, Virginia, pictured in 2011. 
Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Source: Washington Post

The Glendale store opened a few hours later at 10 a.m. in California.

Apple store Glendale Mall
The second Apple store in Glendale, California, in 2008. 
Fred Prouser/Reuters

Source: Washington Post

When Apple unveiled the first store in Tysons, Jobs and other Apple executives, including Tim Cook, were on hand to show off the space and highlight features like the Genius Bar, a space inside the Apple store where customers could ask questions and get tech support.

Steve Jobs Apple store
From left: Apple Senior V.P. Retail Ron Johnson, Senior VP of Operations Tim Cook, CEO Steve Jobs, and CFO Fred Anderson at Apple’s first retail store in McLean, Virginia on May 15, 2001. 
Win McNamee/Reuters

These days, Apple has done away with the dedicated Genius Bar in favor of having roving employees to help with technical issues …

Apple store Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Source: Bloomberg

… and Tim Cook is no longer Apple’s operations chief — he’s CEO.