This app is a travel machine in the past from Apple Stores

ShopDifferent It’s the kind of 3D game that you’re walking around in an Apple Store, like the one on Fifth Avenue in New York. A chance to rediscover old products and see the evolution of Apple. The app is free and reserved for macOS.

So yeah, when we saw That a developer has made 3D models for several Apple Stores In order to make it a video game, on July 25, 2022, we were laughing too. The approach, on the border between historical loyalty and fan spirit, has something suspicious. However, the app Apple Store Time Machine (also called ShopDifferent), available exclusively on macOS (Intel and Apple Silicon), is clearly an interesting thing. In particular, it allows us to see the evolution of Apple over the past 20 years, as well as the evolution of computing and the way it is sold. All with HD graphics and amazing attention to detail for an independent project.

The Apple Store Time Machine, which weighs 1.72 gigabytes, opens with an animation of the Mac booting process, then makes way for a welcome video that appeared when you set up your Mac for the first time in a while. It’s a few years old (remember, one says “hello” in all languages). It then allows you to travel to 4 Apple Stores, carefully selected to represent their eras.

The first Genius bar at the Apple Store in Tysons Corner. // Source: Capture Numerama

Apple changed a lot between 2001 and 2015

This is it Developer Michael Steeber who is behind the project (An Apple Store enthusiast, who maintains a site that documents their history.) He decided to make his time free while trusting that his users would donate to him. Application models four stores:

  • Tysons Corner, the first Apple Store that opened in 2001. Best known for a video of Steve Jobs taking a tour to reporters, explaining the concept of Genius Bar. You can find the video in the store.
  • Stanford Shopping Centerthe first “Apple Mini Store” opened in 2004. Since its replacement by a larger one, it initially allowed Apple to expand its business strategy, with smaller stores that could be anywhere.
  • Fifth StreetThe New York Cube that needs no introduction. The most famous Apple Store on the planet can be visited in its 2006 edition, the day it opened.
  • infinite loop, a store that Nomirama visited in June 2022, located at the foot of Apple’s second campus. This isn’t the historic version (which used to be called The Company Store), but it was redesigned in 2015, with the new, more modern look for Apple Stores.
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At the Apple Store in Tysons Corner, a PowerBook at the entrance plays a video of the guided tour by Steve Jobs. // Source: Capture Numerama

Every time you walk into the Apple Store, you get a quick history lesson. We’re told, for example, that in 2001, the year Tysons Corner opened, Apple didn’t separate its shelves by product category, but by usage. Music, photos, home… That’s how we navigate the Apple Store, as well as the supermarket (so iMacs were in several places). The Genius Bar, on the other hand, was located from the first store, as was the Children’s Corner, which has since been removed by Angela Ahrendts.

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In the first Apple Stores, everything was sorted. // Source: Capture Numerama

ShopDifferent It also allows you to see the evolution of Apple over time, where the iPod, for example, has occupied more and more importance.

Store design has evolved a lot, moving from very traditional tables to wood and glass, before gradually abandoning glass for wood and Apple’s own aesthetic icons.

By the way, we enjoy the presence of a section dedicated to software and games, which are sold in the form of tablets. There were also Nikon cameras in Apple stores or camcorders, before the iPhone crushed everything in its path.

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The Apple Store on 5th Avenue at its opening. // Source: Capture Numerama
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In all Apple stores, there was a software section. // Source: Capture Numerama
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We did not have such small stores in France, but Apple launched small stores in 2004. // Source: Capture Numerama
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Starting in 2015, Apple changed the look of its stores. The infinite loop was the first to take advantage of it. // Source: Capture Numerama

If you have a Mac and are interested in the history of Apple, we highly recommend downloading it Apple Store Time Machine. Far from being a nostalgic side, it’s a very good way to see how computers have gone from being an accessory to being a staple in our society.

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