Apple Store Time Machine: Revisit four Apple stores on their grand opening days

The free new Apple Store Time Machine app takes you back in time, letting you explore four iconic Apple stores on their grand opening days.

The original Genius Bar at Apple's first-ever store is being depicted in 3D graphics in the Apple Store Time Machine app
Apple’s first store as it looked back in 2001 | Image: Michael Steeber

Introducing Apple Store Time Machine

Michael Steeber (@MichaelSteeber) has been following Apple Retail and reporting news of the company’s brick-and-mortar stores. And now he has painstakingly recreated a few of Apple’s iconic retail stores as they looked on their grand opening days. Read: What is Apple ID balance and how to use it on Apple devices

The Apple Store Time Machine is a celebration of the places and products that have shaped our lives for more than twenty years. This interactive experience recreates memorable moments in Apple history with painstaking detail and historical accuracy.

Clearly a labor of love, this project uses the Unity graphics engine to let anyone virtually experience the following four Apple stores:

  • Tysons Corner as it was on May 19, 2001
  • Stanford Shopping Center on October 16, 2004
  • Fifth Avenue on May 19, 2006
  • Apple Infinite Loop on September 19, 2015

The level of detail is extraordinary as Steeber himself confesses that he put countless hours into researching these stories to their tiniest detail. You can walk around in three dimensions using the WSAD keys on the keyboard like in some first-person shooter. You can crouch by pressing C on the keyboard and interact with some objects by pressing the E key. At any moment, press the Esc key to bring up a keyboard cheat sheet. Read: How to type the degree symbol on Apple devices

Nostalgia just kicked in

In some stores, you can watch Apple’s commercials. In others, you can interact with apps like Photo Booth and GarageBand on computers lined up on desks. The first-ever Apple store (Tysons Corner) recreates the old Genius Bar (Apple’s free tech support service available within stores). Thoughtful details such as a ringing phone at the Genius Bar and boxes of software complete this extraordinary experience.

Explore the Tysons Corner store long enough and you might even see Steve Jobs walking through the aisles and talking. It’s fun touring these stores virtually and remembering which products were popular back in the day. For example, the first three stores featured the iPod, Apple’s iconic music player, on their virtual shelves.

How to download Apple Store Time Machine

You can download Apple Store Time Machine via Michael Steeber’s website. The app is completely free to download and use, but you can make a donation if you like it. And while you’re there, be sure to check out Steeber’s Tabletops newsletter.