Apple Store 2.0 opening in Palo Alto Saturday | October 26, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - October 26, 2012

Apple Store 2.0 opening in Palo Alto Saturday

New location on University Avenue to be unveiled this weekend

by Sue Dremann

Shrouded in black and still largely hidden from view by barricades, the sleek new Apple Store in downtown Palo Alto will open Saturday, Oct. 27, at 10 a.m., company officials have announced.

The relatively late announcement leaves little time for hype prior to its opening, save for an email sent to Apple users and a brief mention on the company's website.

But the new 16,600-square-foot, two-story building at 340 University Ave. is designed to be inviting, with a clear-glass facade framed by stone-paneled vertical columns so passing shoppers can see what is happening inside. It will have new product displays, more training and workshop sections and an enlarged Genius Bar to help customers, according to a company announcement.

The new Apple isn't falling far from the tree. It is situated two blocks west and across the street from its predecessor at the seismically unsafe 451 University Ave.

Excitement is growing among Apple aficionados and its ever-expanding base of regular folks. Over at the Apple Store at Stanford Shopping Center Wednesday, Oct. 24, 20-something Jason Lee surfed the Internet from his iPhone.

"Any Apple Store that opens, people will be trying to get there. The stores are always crowded. It's real exciting," he said.

It was controlled chaos at the Stanford Apple, which some call the "Apple store Mini," where a dozen employees in royal-blue polo shirts helped customers who had trouble not bumping into each other.

Henriette Langdon, a San Jose State University professor, waited outside for her appointment to learn more about her new MacBook Air laptop. She said the new downtown Palo Alto store would be a welcome improvement if it offers more space and a larger Genius Bar with faster customer service.

"Having a larger store will certainly improve on the backlog, especially with the holidays coming up," she said. "I need a human being to interact with. ... Those of us who are a little older need the personal touch."

Back at the current downtown store, Christine Bullock said she hopes for a bigger Genius Bar.

"It's always super busy," she said.

Renovation of the new Apple building has been entertaining to watch, she said, with its sleek front all done up in black to obscure what awaits inside.

An Apple spokeswoman offered no glimpse of what customers will find when the new store opens, other than to invite the public and reporters to come to the unveiling. There will be a commemorative T-shirt giveaway to the first 1,000 attendees, the company announced.

"It's Applesque to hide it to the last second," said Fred Balin, a Palo Alto resident and former employee and member of the Apple Consultants Network certified by the company. He still has the commemorative T-shirt Apple gave out when the first Palo Alto store opened in 2001, he said.

"The concept of the retail stores was genius. A bricks-and-mortar store in the Internet age?" he said.

The retail chain has grown to about 380 locations in 13 countries, according to Apple.

Given Apple's growth since the first downtown store opened and its transformation from a computer company to a consumer-products megalith, Balin said he expects the new store will be "a reboot of the operating system" for its retail chain. He noted the company's been using the word "prototype" to describe the store.

"That seems to indicate it will be different," he said. He predicts there could be a presentation area to demonstrate the products.

But, he added, "I'll miss the store (downtown) that is there now. I have some very good memories."

The new store was designed when the late co-founder Steve Jobs was still alive, Balin said.

"You can never really outguess what he was thinking. It's hard to think of them changing things around" since Jobs died in October 2011, he said.

Balin ran into Jobs at the precursor to the Apple Store, ComputerWare, which was a chain that sold only Apple products. Before Jobs returned to Apple in the late 1990s, Balin recalled seeing him purchase an educational program at the store.

"He must've thought to himself, 'I can do this so much better.' And of course, he did."

In addition to the downtown location, a 12,100-square-foot Apple Store is planned for Stanford Shopping Center, located near Neiman Marcus. It will be nearly 23 feet tall in a single story and features a tall glass cube with an overhang, as reported in the Palo Alto Weekly's Shop Talk column in May. Construction is currently in the steel-girders phase.

Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be emailed at


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 25, 2012 at 10:50 am

How does a store opening become headline news? Did Apple pay for this story?

Like this comment
Posted by Concerned resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 25, 2012 at 11:00 am

There is no mention of parking in this article so I assume Apple is allowed to build this huge store with no extra parking as part of the deal. How was this approved? Absolutely criminal!!

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 25, 2012 at 11:32 am

?? I don't think this new "huge store" occupies any more acreage than what was there before, or exceeds any height limit, or required any zoning change.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 25, 2012 at 11:36 am

"How does a store opening become headline news? Did Apple pay for this story?"
You've got to be kidding. A lot of us have been waiting months for this store to open so this is news of the highest order that I had heard nothing about previously. Thanks much to the PA Weekly for providing this information. It changes my plans for this weekend.
As for the parking, didn't PA recently build 3 new parking structures in the downtown area? This grand opening may push them to capacity but once the excitement dies down I expect that the new store to generate about the same business as the old one and parking has not been an issue previously. Why the negativity? Seems like just an excuse to rant rather than celebrate this huge addition to the downtown scene.

Like this comment
Posted by Sue
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 25, 2012 at 11:41 am

To "resident" of Downtown North: It concerns interested people, that's why the story is there! And people who went to the store's previous location will go there and wonder what happened to the store!! Somehow they must be notified that the store MOVED! Certainly I myself would want to know!!! You personally don't have to care!

To "Concerned resident": No, they did not build a new structure!! The building was there before, just updated! You would know this if you read Palo Alto Online every day.

Like this comment
Posted by ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 25, 2012 at 12:05 pm

ducatigirl is a registered user.

The prdecessor of the new Apple Store became too small for the crowds that filled it years ago, and it really impacted service. the new one is long overdue and very welcome.

Like this comment
Posted by CommonSense
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 25, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Even though I myself don't care for Apple one bit, I want to confirm that the store has been 'built' in the previous Z-Gallery, so nothing really changed in terms of parking, etc.

Like this comment
Posted by Joanna
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 25, 2012 at 12:21 pm

The store is full of kids checking their facebook accounts and using free internet. No thanks.

Like this comment
Posted by Laura
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 25, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Welcome to the 21st century antiquated Palo Alto residents. Yes, a new store is news, especially one that brings as much money to Palo Alto as Apple does. Absolutely criminal? Really? Absolutely ridiculous is my comment to that. The Apple store moved into a large space that had been vacant since ZGallerie left town. I'm thankful they upgraded and beautified that area. I'm also thankful that they're filled with "kids" (I'm over 40 and LOVE the Apple store)using the internet and living in 2012. Move along folks, change is, in this case, a good thing.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 25, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Laura -
I agree completely. The energy & enthusiasm I experience in the Palo Alto Apple store is invigorating - whether I've come to buy something or just browse the latest gadgets. There's no other shopping experience that compares and the folks of all ages who shop here seem to be having as much fun as I am.

Like this comment
Posted by Fartoto
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 25, 2012 at 3:54 pm

My son is 10 and I am 47 and we both like to check out the apple store once in a while. I used to eat there before ZGalley. From Falafel to Korean Kimchi. Ahhh the good old days!!!

As for parking, we are talking about a store not a baseball Stadium.

Like this comment
Posted by etaoin shrdlu
a resident of another community
on Oct 26, 2012 at 1:17 pm


"...leave them alone and they'll come home, wagging their tails behind them."

Like this comment
Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Ducatigirl is a registered user.

I had met Steve Jobs personally, he was a neighbor, and not well-liked as a neighbor.

However, I still like and use his products and am looking forward to a bigger, better store. Despite the crowds, the downtown PA store has always been the best one. The others are rather snarky.

Like this comment
Posted by really?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Funny how someone who complains about ” rants”, vendettas” and ” hidden agendas” in another thread, feels the need to denigrate a great pioneer.

Like this comment
Posted by Ex-city employee
a resident of another community
on Nov 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Why was the other Apple store thread locked?

Anon posted he didn't like the design and blamed the new management. This store is build like the Times Square Apple store, Web Link. So blame past management.

Also, I hope the glass isn't anything like their iPhone screen. Just about everybody I know has had a cracked screen.

Like this comment
Posted by Martin
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 5, 2012 at 8:16 am

I visited the new Apple store this weekend ... What a waste!! It looks like a alleyway from the outside, and sounds like a train station from the inside. Perhaps Apple will pull the plug on this (no pun intended), and someone will fill it with plants.

Imagine trying to make a critical purchase decision with ear pain, and washed out screens. Somehow, I don't think this was Steve's vision.


Like this comment
Posted by Apple Fan - usually
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 5, 2012 at 9:55 am

I have to agree with Matin. Although I am normally a strong Apple backer, this is a terrible store. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the Apple head of retail was fired shortly after it opened. It is painfully loud - to the point I would think OSHA might be interested for worker safety. It is corporate and cold - a marble train station in all but name.

What was Apple thinking?