They queued around the block for the opening of Apple’s first purpose-built European store on London’s Regent Street which opened Saturday. By the time I got there the waiting time was down to around an hour so I patiently waited in the drizzle to get a squizz at the much touted renovation. Heck, it’s not often I’m in London and it would’ve been foolish to pass it by.
The first thing that you notice on entering is just how much open space that’s left unused, something that’s very much in-vogue with retail outlet designers it would seem. The emphasis seems to be on interactivity, with each of the tables full of internet ready Macs of all varieties (including the snazzy new G5 iMacs) ready to be used each with some add-on to showcase whether it be multi-hued iPods, iSights, digital cameras, Airport or whatever. Every Mac was being used when I was there, people flagrantly checking their email, the news or whatever. Upstairs there was a fleet of eMacs set up for kids to play games on. As well as all that the entire shop seemed to be an Airport hotspot with the savvy multitude hooking up their Powerbooks. Up the see-through staircase were the much-vaunted Genius Bar, somewhere to check in with Mac related queries, while the Studio was pitched at the assorted Creatives that make up much of the loyal Mac fan-base. Electro DJ Luke Slater held all in thrall over at the lecture-hall style conference area.
It may have received an awful lot of hype for what is essentially just another shop but Apple Regent Street is, for the Mac fanatic in your life, something close to Heaven.