Back in 1996, right before former Apple CEO Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997, Apple was thinking about building the so-called Apple Cafe.
The story of the Apple Cafe was discussed by Tony Christopher, a former Disney talent and founder of the Landmark Entertainment Group, in an interview with Fast Company.
Apple Cafe Explained
Christopher was given the task of coming up with the design for the Apple Cafe, and in the interview with Fast Company, he shared concept images of what the futuristic cybercafe would have looked like and the story behind it.
According to Christopher, Apple did not even know what it wanted to do at first, though the company knew that it wanted to come up with a way to connect with its customers. Christopher, who is unsure whether it was his team or Apple that came up with the idea of a cybercafe, said that the Apple Care would have been the first of its kind.
Two decades ago, there was no such thing as a cybercafe, and people who did not have their own computers wanted a way to use them. Christopher and his team at Landmark started working on the secret project, and came up with several details regarding the Apple Cafe.
The Apple Cafe would have had booths wherein customers can use Apple computers, which would contain several programs. One of these programs would have allowed customers to order food, with customers also allowed to play video games and watch movies. Customers interested in buying computers can also do so through a retail section within the Apple Cafe.
According to Christopher, the interior design of the Apple Cafe was "very high tech," with his team working on it for around six months. He added that while Landmark made a name for its theme park designs with things such as dinosaurs and castles, the company needed to shift its mindset to the future instead of the past in order to visualize the Apple Café.
What Happened To The Apple Cafe?
"The plan was to build the first one in the first location, then roll out around the U.S. and the world," Christopher said, but the first Apple Cafe planned in Los Angeles never came to fruition.
According to Christopher, the concept for the Apple Café was sent to Jobs, who liked it upon seeing it. However, Jobs decided to put the idea on hold because he had his own idea for another way to connect to customers.
That idea by Jobs turned out to be the Apple Store, the first of which was released a few years later.
While the Apple Cafe, as Christopher and his team at Landmark designed it, never became reality, it can be said that it merely evolved into the Apple Store that we know today. It can even be suggested that the concept inspired the Apple Stores of today, where customers can purchase Apple products, try out the company's devices, and speak with Apple representatives on a Genius bar that gives the retail stores a more personal vibe.