20 Years of Apple Store Bags (2001–2021)

Apple opened its first two retail Apple Store locations on May 19, 2001. The first opened at 10AM (EST) at Tysons Corner Center in McLean, Virginia, and the second opened three hours later (at 10AM PST) at the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, California. Here in Illinois, Woodfield, Apple’s fifth Apple Store, opened in Schaumburg about three months later.

From the very beginning, Apple used their Apple Stores not just as a store, but as a place to showcase the Apple lifestyle. According to the first Apple Store press release:

“At each Apple store, knowledgeable salespeople will be able to demonstrate Macs running innovative applications like iTunes and iMovie, as well as Mac OS X, Apple’s revolutionary new operating system. All of the Macs are connected to the Internet, and several are connected to digital lifestyle products that complement the Mac experience, such as digital cameras, digital camcorders, MP3 players, and handheld organizers.”

In 2021, there are now over 500 stores in 25 countries. I have visited at least 17 Apple Stores—15 in the United States, one in Toronto (Apple Eaton Centre), and one in Berlin (Apple Kurfürstendamm).

This part of my collection highlights Apple’s retail store bags. The designs transitioned through a few different plastic options and are now made from recycled paper.

Apple has also created a few limited edition bags over the years used during product releases, such as a black iPhone bag in 2007. While I have a few of these limited bags, this collection focuses upon the standard, day-to-day bag designs.

In my research for this post, I have found no source that mentions the history of Apple Store bags. Some of the stock photo sites, as well as my own Apple Store photos, show shoppers in Apple Stores carrying the bags of the time.

All Apple Store plastic bags were two-ply, and each layer used a slightly different material. The earliest blue version of the Apple Store bag used a bright blue interior plastic and a translucent clear exterior. This drawstring bag was printed with a white Apple logo and the web address apple.com repeated around the drawstring in the Apple Garamond font. I only have two sizes of this bag, a medium and large (compared to all other bags). I’m not certain if a small bag in this design existed.

The next plastic bag was white with a black Apple logo and the web address apple.com repeated around the drawstring in the Apple Garamond font. I have a small, medium, and large version of this drawstring bag design.

The next two plastic bag styles were white with a silver Apple logo. One style featured a silver Apple logo and the web address apple.com printed once below the logo in the Apple Myriad font. A later design featured only a silver Apple logo. These styles came in three sizes and all used drawstrings, however, the medium sizes were threaded in a manner that the bags could be used as backpacks.

Apple’s current paper bags were awarded a United States Patent (15062993) for a “bag container formed of white solid bleached sulfate paper with at least 60% post-consumer content” along with additional bag innovations outlined in the patent document. Perhaps most interesting, and printed on the bottom of the bag, is a callout for its “circular-knit handle made entirely from paper.” The versions I have are made from 80% post-consumer content.

My collection includes fourteen different bag styles (not including several limited-edition bags). I hope to update this post as I learn more details. The bag “families” are shown in this post. Separate posts in this blog highlight each bag design individually.

Sources: Apple (press release, store list), US Patent and Trademark Office, Getty Images, 9to5mac, Alamy (blue bag, white bag 1, white bag 2)

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