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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 16, 2003

Apple store opening in Ala Moana

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

"Macheads" and people interested in a free T-shirt are expected to gather tomorrow for the opening of Apple Computer Inc.'s first retail store in Hawai'i, at 9:30 a.m. near Macy's and Shirokiya at Ala Moana Center.

Donovan Canon, assistant store manager at Ala Moana Center's Apple Computer Inc., tests out the iBook laptop computer. With the latest Apple offerings to be available, the store's new products and gadgets are expected to be a hit.

Richard Ambo • The Honolulu Advertiser

The computer maker has been rolling out its 2-year-old retail endeavor across the country, often to hundreds of Apple enthusiasts waiting to participate in workshops and see the latest Apple offerings.

"The Apple people, they're an interesting crowd," said Ed Slavish, president of the Hawaii Macintosh and Apple Users' Society, or HMAUS (pronounced h-mouse). "They come out for new products, gadgets, new operating systems - anything that's new and interesting that Apple puts out ... they love the stuff."

Apple has scheduled more than 20 free classes, workshops and demonstrations throughout next week and is giving away Apple T-shirts to the first 1,000 store visitors.

An Apple spokeswoman said 1,000 people waited in line for the opening last Saturday of a new store in Seattle. "It's a passion for a lot of people," she said. "We're super excited to come to Hawai'i."

Slavish, however, said Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple has not made any direct attempt to let HMAUS and its 300 members know when the store would be opening.

"We know absolutely nothing about it," he said, adding that he will be playing golf during the store's grand opening.

The Ala Moana Apple store will be the 57th retail outlet owned by the company, which continues development of new stores that provided 9 percent of Apple sales, or $135 million of $1.5 billion in sales during the first three months of the year.

Apple has spent $30 million opening stores in the six-month period through March, and expects to spend $75 million further expanding its chain of retail stores this year.

Reach Andrew Gomes at agomes@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8065.