Jobs originally wanted Apple Stores to target creative professionals

Jobs originally wanted Apple Stores to target creative professionals
A Forbes report on Ron Johnson, the man who made Apple Stores what they are today, highlights some interesting history behind the edifices. When Johnson signed on, much time and energy had already been placed into a very different concept – stores that would target creative professionals.

The idea was born before the mobile revolution of course, and Steve Jobs was trying to create stores that could broaden the reach of Apple computers at a time when electronics retailers weren’t even stocking Macs due to their low market share and high prices. Creative professionals were one of the few niches markets where the Mac still had a large market presence, so it’s easy to see what Jobs and team were thinking.

Johnson recounted how he tackled the idea even before he was hired, "(Jobs) said it'll be a store for creative professionals. I said, 'Well, then I'm not coming. If you want to be a store for all Americans, sign me up.' "

Apple’s suite of self-branded retail stores are now the most profitable in the world, earning an astonishing $6,000 per square foot. Their strong presence is also what has allowed Apple’s star to rise so quickly in the smartphone and tablet industry; while the original iPhone was a breakthrough in technology and user experience, Apple also benefitted because they had a launch pad to sell the devices. Customers that were put off by the shopping experience at cell phone stores in 2007 could instead choose to shop at an Apple Store, where the iPhone is the only choice.

Likewise, the already-existing retail base helped to launch the iPad when it shipped, and two short years after launch Apple sold more iPads in Q4 than any PC vendor. Yet it wasn’t inevitable. Even after ground had been broken on the original Apple Stores, Johnson made drastic overhauls to make sure they got things right. The story that Johnson recounts feels like a classic Steve Jobs story:

Johnson had come in early to meet with Steve before a meeting to tell him that the Apple Stores were designed all wrong. The stores had been designed around showcasing individual products, rather than the new digital hub lifestyle that Apple was promoting. Jobs was reacted with fury, responding “Do you realize how much time I put into designing this store?" After an interminable silence, Jobs finally admitted "You might be right, but don't talk about it to the team today."

Johnson headed to the meeting, and when Jobs showed up what do you suppose the first thing out of his mouth was?

"Ron thinks this store is all wrong, and he's right. We're going to start over."  

The Apple Stores of today, where many of us go to purchase the latest iDevice, isn’t just a product of Steve Jobs, they are a product of the shared vision of Steve Jobs and Ron Johnson. With the passing of Jobs and the departure of Johnson to J.C. Penney’s, it will be fascinating to see how the Apple Stores evolve in the coming years.

source: Forbes via Apple Insider

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19 Comments

1. SleepingOz unregistered

like baristas

9. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

Oh hell yes. Best comment evar.

24. mikocok

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 09, 2012

yap, apple bar, barista bar, creative bar. or maybe apple creative barista bar.

2. ilia1986 unregistered

How can you get creative on a device which RESTRICTS you, compared to a similar device - but from a different company (Microsoft, Google, Linux, you name it)???

19. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

do u know anything about macs? they are not at all restrictive like ios… many editing applications built for macs are the best on the market… and what exactly does google create? chrome os… which is highly highly restrictive…

20. ilia1986 unregistered

I know alot about macs. I know that there are very few Mac-exclusive titles - but I also know that there are millions of PC-exclusive ones. And Google makes Android - a completely open source OS. Nuff said.

21. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

okay so now u r resorting to how much content is on an os rather than to if it is open or not… i suppose that means u agree mac osx is "open" i cannot argue a game-content war, as windows clearly wins, but with creative applications, mac os is probably better we are talking about desktop oses… not mobile oses… and google's desktop os it highly restrictive

22. Contreramanjaro

Posts: 153; Member since: Dec 04, 2011

Yes, I'd like to expand on Lucas' comment. The Apple stores first sold only Macs and Mac software. There was no such thing as iOS, which to be fair is very restricted. The Macintosh however is quite open. It was never a question of quantity but quality. Also, "a lot" is two words, please be wrong in proper English.

3. jamrockjones

Posts: 345; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Creative professionals!!! Is that what Apple lovers think of themselves? I don't know why people think they are creative for owning a Apple product, it's pretty simple and plain looking, which I love the look of them, but creative is not the word that I would use.

6. SleepingOz unregistered

totally true!

18. Contreramanjaro

Posts: 153; Member since: Dec 04, 2011

I think they meant creators of media and things like that. A few years ago if you made videos, you probably did so on a Mac. If you used Photoshop, you thought Mac. Of course, these things were available on the other platforms but they were more iconic on Mac. There was always the feeling that you don't care about the computer, only the content on it and you expected your computer to "just work" which the more closed Mac provided just a hair better. The whole feeling is that the computer is just a tool.

7. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

The word 'target' is funny here its like Apple preying on people!

8. ilia1986 unregistered

Of course it's preying on people. To Apple - consumers are nothing more than mammals with cash. Apple thinks consumers can't think or choose for themselves - so it chooses for them. Stop the madness now. We will not become eyeSlaves. We will not let the Personal Computer to become a device with only a given set of specific functions!! And we most definitely will not allow the richest consumer electronics company in the world to tell US - the consumers - what we can do with our products - and what we can't do!

11. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

That's really all most people are. That's the reason Apple is so popular. The general populace is too stupid to realize they are being taken advantage of, so they continue to buy into the insanity.

17. cellphonator

Posts: 298; Member since: Oct 29, 2011

"That's really all most people are. That's the reason Apple is so popular. The general populace is too stupid..." You nailed it down! That's the reason and that's why Apple is SO successful , it's stupid proof but at the same time it looks good.

25. cellgeek82

Posts: 518; Member since: Dec 20, 2009

Actually "target" is a marketing term. All companies target certain groups of people. Like McDonalds target kids, Starbucks target professionals (with money), Holister target teens , Hot Topic target...whatever they are? Play Station and Xbox may have mild games but is targeted to more hardcore gamers and Nintendo targeted younger/family friendly gamers. So, Apple does target professionals who in fact take advantage of the Mac environment while others want to be thought of as professional or geeky. Microsoft has contracts with lots of office companies and has a reputation with PC gamers. In Apple's defense, they target professionals and "professionals" alike...and they reap lots of rewards doing so. Marketing, no matter what company it is, is very persuasive.

10. PAPINYC

Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

Stevie was just projecting; a 'creative professional' was something he always aspired to be. But, in the end, he was just a sheep herder who wore a black turtle-neck and tried to sue everyone. Oh, and he also won an iGrammy.

14. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

wow, Jobs conceded to him? That's just amazing, he is probably only a handful of people that could legitimately claim that.

23. TryllZ

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 09, 2012

who cares what jobs wanted, nobody wanted jobs...either anyway..

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