In another universe, in another time, the world may have had its first Apple retail stores in the 1970s. Why? According to just-released documents, that's when Apple originally considered building its own line of shops. The documents come courtesy of Silicon Valley marketing guru Regis McKenna, who gave a talk at the Computer History Museum earlier this week.
During the talk, McKenna spoke of his first meeting with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976. A meeting that led to a marketing plan that proposed Apple stores 25 years before the first one was actually built. As Cnet reports:
The pair [Jobs and Woz] came in looking for someone to help market the Apple II. During the meeting, McKenna rubbed Woz the wrong way and hit it off with Jobs. McKenna initially turned down Apple's business and showed them the door.
"Steve [Jobs] called back probably 40 times that night," McKenna said.
Jobs and McKenna had dinner and talked about what the future of Apple could look like, and McKenna signed on. Eventually McKenna drafted an eight-page marketing plan in December 1976. Lo and behold, what was written under "Distribution Channels"? Apple stores.
"I had actually presented this to Apple a couple of times," he said. "I had talked about putting them in different parts of the country."
At first, the company's stores were to be meant for big customers, and serve as centers for corporate sales and training, located in office parks, he said. Then they would gradually move to retail.
You have to wonder what a '70s Apple Store would have looked like. Instead of the white Apple logo and glass walls, would every store have had rainbow logos, wood paneling walls and shag carpets?
In other news:
- For the next month, customers can pick up a 16 GB WiFi iPad 2 in black or white at Walmart for just US$299. That's a savings of $100. The deal is available in-store and online.
- The City of San Francisco has approved Apple's new flagship store in Union Square. An Apple representative told the city's planning commission that the store will be "more iconic" than Apple's 5th Avenue glass cube store in New York City.
- Apple's director of Federal Government Affairs has taken part in a summit on distracted driving sponsored by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. The summit explored what device makers, software developers, car manufacturers and mobile carriers could do to make driving less distracting.