I’m working in and around Union Square in San Francisco today. I stopped by the Apple store after a briefing with Lenovo and before the gdgt.com launch party to pick up a couple of Mophie Juice Pack Airs. The flagship San Francisco is often busy, but it was absolutely packed today. The Apple salespeople were overwhelmed and it took me quite a while to find an employee that was free to swipe my credit card.
Apparently someone forgot to tell the hundreds of people shopping for MacBook Pros and iPhones that we’re in the midst of deep recession. The lower level of the store was packed with people buying MacBook Pros and iPhones. The upper level was packed with people buying accessories, watching a Garage Band demonstration and taking one-on-one Mac lessons.
There were only a handful of people at the Genius Bar, all of whom were being helped. There are usually a lot more people waiting at this store’s Genius Bar for help.
I’m not sure if this scene is being repeated throughout the rest of Apple’s retail ecosystem, but this definitely shows the advantages of having a strong retail presence in high-traffic shopping districts. The local Sony Style store recently shuttered its doors and it’s virtually impossible to go hands-on with high end PCs before buying one in San Francisco. A lot of people want to touch and feel expensive items before buying them. I’m hoping that Microsoft’s retail stores can generate similar scenes in the near future and expose a wider audience to the best of what HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, ASUS and others have to offer.