I Get To Attend an Opening…Again

Ah yes, I remem­ber it well: The long lines in the Cam­brid­ge­side Gal­le­ria Mall, the T‑Shirts for those near­er to the front of the line, the excite­ment as the doors final­ly opened… The Apple Store open­ing in Cam­bridge, Mass­a­chu­setts was one of the first ones that Apple had. We were used to the fact that although we weren’t Cuper­ti­no (or even San Fran­cis­co), Cam­bridge was one of the East Coast cen­tres for Apple’s pres­ence. After all, in the ear­ly days of Mac­world Expo (and I doubt if many peo­ple who own an Apple prod­uct know this at this point), there was a West Coast Mac­world Expo in San Fran­cis­co in Jan­u­ary and an East Coast Mac­world Expo in Boston, usu­al­ly dur­ing the hottest week in August. It was­n’t until that fate­ful day when Bill Gates’s 20-foot face appeared on the screen behind Steve Jobs dur­ing his keynote (and it was hissed by the crowd) that Steve made sure that there would be no more Mac­Worlds in Boston.

I know, I know, there were prob­a­bly oth­er rea­sons, but Job­s’s annoy­ance at the dis­agree­ment of the Boston crowd with his strat­e­gy of hav­ing Microsoft invest in Apple dur­ing their dark­est hour prob­a­bly did­n’t help the show. In the fol­low­ing year, Jobs refused to give the keynote, and the show moved to New York City. It con­tin­ued on a few years there at the Javitts Cen­ter, but atten­dance at that venue quick­ly petered out. As many have point­ed out, the Inter­net can now dis­perse infor­ma­tion about prod­ucts far faster and far­ther than any show floor could. There is now only one Mac­World Expo, each Jan­u­ary, and it remains a San Fran­cis­co tradition.

When we moved to Van­cou­ver, I missed that sense of being on Apple’s radar. Despite the fact that many here use the Mac (in fact, in recent years it’s increased), I found the local Cer­ti­fied Apple Deal­ers a bit ram­shackle, with rel­a­tive­ly small vari­ety of periph­er­als and messy, poor­ly main­tained dis­play areas. My first job was work­ing for some­one who hat­ed the Mac, and he was relieved when I did­n’t insist that I use one in his small office (I would have been the only Mac user in the shop). At IBM, we all were assigned Thinkpads, of course. The con­sul­tants from Vic­to­ria often had Macs. At Blog­ger and small­er busi­ness events, the Mac was pre­dom­i­nant. Nev­er­the­less, the absence of the iPhone in Cana­da, the high­er prices for prod­ucts, and con­stant­ly hear­ing the rumors that Apple Hat­ed Cana­da did­n’t help matters.

Our days of liv­ing in a rel­a­tive­ly less impor­tant spot in the Apple uni­verse are about to end. On this com­ing Sat­ur­day morn­ing, I hope to be in line for the open­ing of the first Apple store in Van­cou­ver. We’ve been wait­ing for this for some time. Its going to be in the heart of down­town, at the Pacif­ic Cen­tre Mall (actu­al­ly the pre­vi­ous loca­tion of Holt Ren­frew, a high end Depart­ment Store, who have moved into new digs near­by). I believe that it’s only the fifth store in Cana­da, with the oth­er three in Toron­to and one in Laval.

To put things in a bit of per­spec­tive, anoth­er Apple store opened in Boston (across the riv­er from Cam­bridge, but cer­tain­ly near our old home) last week. It’s the largest Apple Store in the world, tak­ing up three floors and sport­ing an all glass facade, on Boyl­ston Street. Oh well, I guess Boston still looms larg­er in Apple’s realm, but at least we’re no longer off the map.