In July 2011, a decade after the first ones opened, there were 326 Apple stores.
The biggest was in London's Covent Garden, the tallest in Tokyo's Ginza.
The average annual revenue per store was $34 million, and the total net sales in fiscal 2010 were $9.8 billion.
But the stores did even more. They directly accounted for only 15% of Apple's revenue,
but by creating buzz and brand awareness they indirectly helped boost everything the company did.
Even as he was fighting the effects of cancer in 2011, Jobs spent time envisioning future store projects,
such as the one he wanted to build in New York City's Grand Central Terminal.
One afternoon he showed me a picture of the Fifth Avenue store and pointed to the eighteen pieces of glass on each side.
"This was state of the art in glass technology at the time," he said.
"We had to build our own autoclaves to make the glass."
Then he pulled out a drawing in which the eighteen panes were replaced by four huge panes.
That is what he wanted to do next, he said.
Once again, it was a challenge at the intersection of aesthetics and technology.
"If we wanted to do it with our current technology, we would have to make the cube a foot shorter," he said.
"And I didn't want to do that. So we have to build some new autoclaves in China."
Ron Johnson was not thrilled by the idea.
He thought the eighteen panes actually looked better than four panes would.
"The proportions we have today work magically with the colonnade of the GM Building," he said.
"It glitters like a jewel box. I think if we get the glass too transparent, it will almost go away to a fault."
He debated the point with Jobs, but to no avail.
"When technology enables something new, he wants to take advantage of that," said Johnson.
"Plus, for Steve, less is always more, simpler is always better.
Therefore, if you can build a glass box with fewer elements, it's better, it's simpler, and it's at the forefront of technology.
That's where Steve likes to be, in both his products and his stores."