Apple Shuts Iconic ‘Mothership’ Store Forever – Know Why?

Apple is closing its ‘mothership’ Infinite Loop retail store for good. The Infinite Loop store looks like any other Apple store outside, with big windows, an open layout, wooden tables, and bright white walls.

But for big Apple fans and people who’ve worked there a long time, the Company Store at Apple’s old headquarters has been a special place: a test spot for products and ways to sell things, even before iPhones were everywhere. So, hearing about its closing on Saturday is extra tough.

“The Infinite Loop store is extra special for the Apple community because of the history of the campus,” said Michael Steeber, a tech writer turned developer.

The Infinite Loop campus was Apple’s main spot from the mid-1990s until they opened Apple Park a couple of miles away in 2017.

“When you think about Infinite Loop, not just the store, but the whole campus, that’s where the original iPod, iPhone, and iPad were created. So many people make sure to visit that store because they know its history,” Steeber explained.

For Virgil Apilado, a retired quality assurance software engineer at Apple, the closing brings back 20 years of memories. “I was shocked to learn about the store’s closure,” Apilado said. Back in 2000, when Apilado started at Apple, “it was the only store that sold Apple products in Silicon Valley.”

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At first, the company store was only for employees. Apilado and his colleagues would often buy gear and other stuff not found elsewhere to give to family and friends. “I remember buying T-shirts, mugs, caps, bags, and other memorabilia from the store,” Apilado said, settling in Santa Clara, not far from Infinite Loop, after moving to the U.S. from the Philippines.

In late December, word spread that Apple would close the store at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20. In early January, a sign at the Infinite Loop Apple store sent customers to the bigger Apple Park Visitor Center store.

Now, there are at least 529 Apple stores worldwide, with over half in the United States. Apple didn’t respond to requests for comments, but an employee said current staff would move to other nearby stores.

Tech analyst Tim Bajarin said he used to stop by the store when on campus. “For decades, Infinite Loop was the main place we’d go for meetings and special events.” They’d get official Apple stuff or gadgets and accessories.

But it drew fans from all over the world too.

“In 2015, Apple was showing off its new store design at the Infinite Loop store,” Steeber said. He’s visited hundreds of Apple stores and made an app for virtual tours. He felt sad about the closing but understood Apple’s decision.

Not much to see in what many call “the mothership.” That’s part of its insiders appeal, unlike the more touristy Apple Park Visitor Center, with its big Apple store and regular activities for the public.

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