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spargo
20th November 2004, 05:53 PM
(posted 07:43 GMT)

It is to be the coldest day so far of this year's northern winter (max. 4 degrees), and I am about to step out the door to join the masses already queued up along Regent Street in central London to be one of the first in the door to experience the first Apple Retail Store outside of the U.S. and Japan..

Armed with a Columbia ski jacket, thermals, and the best ski gloves and beanie I've got, I've been told to expect a queue in the cold with at least 500 die-hards in front of me, some of which have slept overnight in sub-zero temps to be the first in..

See this link (http://www.ifoapplestore.com/stores/regent_street/) for an on-line diary from someone already there in line..

Will Steve (or others) be there for a surprise appearance? I shall find out and post back later today.

Gotta go, the line is only growing! And I'm gonna get a T-Shirt!

zen
20th November 2004, 07:13 PM
That takes a lot of determination to wait outside in the cold :o
So is it worth it in the end? :lol:

Phillip
20th November 2004, 09:49 PM
Hell yeah its worth it! You get a free T-shirt you can sell on ebay for 200 pounds (too lazy to the the pound symbol)

And the new London Store looks hot :P. Probably the best Apple Store in the world. Those lucky english bastards!

spargo
21st November 2004, 05:35 AM
I am back! And I am wearing an official London Store opening T-Shirt!! (and no, it is not for sale!)

I arrived at the storefront at 8:55am local time where the overnight campers were still arising from their sleeping bags and makeshift cardboard shelters - and after winding my way along the snaking line I arrived at the end of the queue 5 minutes later!! - the best estimates were that there were 2-3,000 people in front of me - no kidding! It was unbelievable to see!

It was a very organised and thought-out system which winded into the backstreets behind the store, managed by an army of private security guarding the queue from jumpers, and supported by several metro police officers who ensured that where the line crossed streets, we were kept in order.. Everyone was excited, but bloody freezing at the same time!..

After being bunched up for an hour, the line started moving just after the 10am opening time and slowly but surely we made our way towards the store. The crowd was quite jovial despite the 4 degree temperature and overcast skies.. by 11am, we had progressed a third of the way back towards Regent Street and the storefront, and still weren't even sure if we were still in the running for the renowned Store opening t-shirt! But the faithful around me in the queue pressed on!

Everyone slowly began talking to those around them in the queue and discovered there were some interesting Mac conversations to be had, and I even dropped a few suggestions for my new temporary friends to check out this site - even had a few of them type the ATAU site address into their phones/PDA's.. By half-way along the line it was coffee time, and we sent a 'trusted' volunteer off to Starbucks to get the order for our section of the line (i.e. 3 Latte's, 2 long espresso's, etc). I think we all figured that if they had stayed in the queue for 2 hours, they wouldn't do the runner with our £2.20! (note: i got my coffee and change!)

We soon rounded the last corner and were in sight of the black Apple flag (white logo) hanging above the door - in its prominent position for all to see along the very famous Regent Street.. Word soon spread along the front of the queue that there were in-fact t-shirts left - and seconds later we were ushered in to cheers and strained enthusiasm from the staff who were on the door to welcome the faithful into what is the most impressive retail store of any kind Iíve ever seen! the photos speak for themselves - take a look at mine below in the QuickTime movie, or check out the official store website at http://www.apple.com/uk/retail/regentstreet/

You will never see so many Apple products out on display to play with and test out, so many accessories and software lines, and this amazing theatre where they will hold free training sessions in so that you can learn in an interactive environment how to better use your products and software -

As for the shirt - it might be just a black t-shirt, but I was very impressed with the front print showing 'London' and the logo, and the back print showing the standard 'designed by apple in California' - and as with all of their products, the box was a work of art - folding out Apple-origami style to reveal a gold interior with apple logo and text 'say hello to London' -

Simply brilliant!


(ps. but alas, no Steve - i was a little dissapointed...)

spargo
21st November 2004, 05:39 AM
more photos from inside - see QuickTime movie below..

spargo
21st November 2004, 05:46 AM
and finally - here are a few shots of the elusive t-shirt and fancy box..

enjoy -

(sorry for the numerous posts, only way to get the files uploaded and under the 500kb file limit..)

spargo
21st November 2004, 07:59 AM
Here is a diary from someone at the front of the queue: click here (http://www.ifoapplestore.com/stores/regent_street/index.html)

Apparently my earlier estimates on the queue numbers were a bit overblown, and infact i think i saw this guy at about 9:30am walking along doing a count of the queue numbers with a clicker..

But in any case it was still a great experience -

zefi
21st November 2004, 08:31 AM
Thank you for sharing the experience, the store looks fantastic.

Phillip
21st November 2004, 11:02 AM
Did you get a lucky bag Spargo?

Lucas
21st November 2004, 11:11 AM
Thanks for the pics. While you were there did you see many system sales or was it just people looking?
Just pondering how long I would wait in line for an Aus Apple Store. Probably a few hours but not overnight. would anyone on appletalk wait a whole day?

p996911turbo
21st November 2004, 01:33 PM
would anyone on appletalk wait a whole day?
I'd wait a whole day if I had some people to wait there with.

Ozi
21st November 2004, 01:53 PM
yeah I would wait overnight, but only if it was in Melbourne. I don't think I would pay to go interstate if it was in Sydney or something...

spargo
21st November 2004, 08:56 PM
Surprisingly it took until probably a thousand people had gone into the store for the £250 lucky bags to be snapped up - i really thought they'd all be brought by the hard-core people at the front of the line..

Apparently most people intend to just breakdown the contents and sell on eBay over here.. I'm still not exactly sure what was in them.. probably listed ona site elsewhere.

And no, I doubt that i'd travel interstate for it - it was just good luck that it happened while i'm here.. and i probably wouldn't have lined up for much longer - 3 hours was a bit extreme as it was freezing, but the t-shirt is great to have as a momento.

that said, i'm off to the Piccadilly Circus Virgin Megastore late tonight for the midnight release of the new U2 Album.. enjoying queuing and cold weather all at the same time - i'm becoming more like a whinging local everyday!

cheers.

Snowy28
21st November 2004, 09:53 PM
My friend in the UK didn't get a lucky bag, though he camped overnight. The Apple Store Employees saw his overcast look, found out what happened, and he was given a free silver mini!

I don't think I would camp out, but I would definately go the day it opened.

Phillip
21st November 2004, 10:04 PM
I think I would camp out if there were other Mac fanatics there. Off course I would have to have a iBook or Powerbook to do that.

I wonder if anyone bought a PC notebook and waited or camped.

spargo
21st November 2004, 10:21 PM
These Retail Stores have a wireless network available with free web access etc (they use it for the training sessions and also to connect the display machines everywhere), so apparently those in the queue overnight had their portables out to pass the time - couldn't see anything but silver and white machines though!

and to answer an earlier question - i did see two iMac boxes get taken out the door - but mostly it was software and smaller pieces like iPods, AE's and iSights that were being snapped up..

A few people have said there were a few dramas with the distribution of the Lucky Bags, but I couldn't see anything from where I was two blocks away!!