One of the busiest days of the year for British Mac users saw the opening of the largest Mac-focused show of the year, as well as the official launch of the first Apple Computer Inc.-owned retail store in Europe.
Mac users waited in queues to get a glimpse of the latest Apple products on the first day of Mac Expo 2004, at the Business Design Centre, in Islington, England. Users were also eager to get a look at products from third parties including Microsoft Corp., Quark Inc., Adobe Systems Inc., FileMaker Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Epson (UK) Ltd.
Reaction to the first day from both attendees and exhibitors was overwhelming positive. Keith Harris, international vice president at FileMaker, described the show as "very busy. Weve been pleased with the number of people so far."
Mark Jenkins, a graphic designer from Croydon, described his first experience of the show as "very positive. Its nice to see so many products in one place, as it really makes you appreciate that the Mac is alive and well."
Clare Hopkins, a college IT support technician, travelled down from Birmingham for this, her second Mac Expo. "This year looks a lot busier than last year, which was pretty quiet on the first day. Even the areas away from the center, where Apple [is], seem to have more people in them."
Last years show attracted some 23,000 visitors over three days, a figure that show organisers expect to match and possibly beat this year.
While Mac fans were congregating in Islington, across town, on Regent Street, Apples senior vice president of retail, Ron Johnson, was officially launching the first Apple store in Europe. The store, which opens to the public on Saturday, is the 99th that the company has opened since 2001, and—as a sign of the importance of the European market—has the largest floor space of any of its stores.
According to Johnson, "Apples stores have always been about being more than a store. Our goal is to be part of peoples lives, so we need to locate our stores to be part of their lives. We were thinking about a London store, and we wanted it to be on Londons busiest street."
The store stocks more than 1,500 Mac products, more than any of Apples other retail outlets.
Johnson also revealed that the company would be launching two other stores in England in 2005, in Birmingham and Kent, and was "working closely in Europe" to open other stores during 2005 and 2006.
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