Who would have thought that little limp-along, Zoe Riley and myself would be attending another Apple Store opening in less than a year. But there we were heading to the centre of Manchester on a bright Saturday morning.
I must say that the opening of the store caught me a little by surprise. I’d been following the progress, since the second Manchester store was announced, on the ifoAppleStore RSS feed and through the photos by Nik Fletcher. But I only heard last Thursday.
When we arrived at the Arndale at about 8:30am the shutters were down and security people had put up barriers to control the crowd. This wasn’t really necessary as there must have only been about 15 to 20 people in the queue. Time ticked on, as it does and who should appear from underneath the shutters but “The Apple Store Opening Guy”. Yes, the same chap who warmed up the crowd at the Trafford Centre, only this time wearing combat shorts instead of blue jeans. He could do with standing a little closer to the razor in a morning but the same chap. We all did the cheering a couple of times and the Mexican wave a couple of times… well, when I said we, the blokes in front didn’t and I’m pretty sure that Zoe didn’t either, so just me. “The Apple Store Opening Guy” was running up and down the queue with the wave and I think even he would agree that he spends far too much time in the glow of a computer screen for that kind of thing. One of the chaps behind us rightly said that “The Apple Store Opening Guy” would never have done that at Regent Street it would have killed him.
All the staff members ran out and high-fived the people in the queue. Again, I think there was only me in my section of the queue. Was no one else excited? They all ran around, back into the store and we all followed them. T-shirts and store guides were handed out and all the staff stood clapping as we entered.
We checked out all the new stuff: 24 inch iMacs, iPod nanos, no sign of the new shuffles (I can’t honestly see how they will be able to display them, surely the security device will be bigger than the item it’s protecting!), MacBooks and MacBook Pros. I’m still really impressed with the built-in iSight camera and how they managed to get that, and the display, in such a thin enclosure.
After about half an hour we’d seen everything. Just as we were about to leave I was asked to fill in a competition card. Why can’t this be done electronically? A member of staff could ask you to type your details into a web-page on a MacBook. My typing is damned near perfect on any keyboard, my handwriting is appalling at best, illegible at worst.
Upon leaving the store I am saddened to have to report that the “The Apple Store Opening Guy” was nowhere to be seen. This can only fuel the rumours that he is in fact cryogenically frozen and only thawed out for grand openings.
Surprisingly when we finally left there was no queue of people waiting to get in like there was at the Trafford Centre. When we arrived back at the car I think that I found out why. £5.20 for 3 hours or less in a NCP car park. It is surprising that Manchester is flourishing so much when visitors are discouraged from using their vehicles to drive into the city.