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Originally published Friday, September 22, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Apple unveils new store design

Apple Computer is unveiling a new store design to add more show room for iPod music players and Macintosh computers and stations where shoppers...

Bloomberg News

Apple Computer is unveiling a new store design to add more show room for iPod music players and Macintosh computers and stations where shoppers can get technical help for their products.

The new stores will have an "iPod Bar" and Studio where artists and musicians will offer advice on creative projects, said Ron Johnson, who runs Apple's retail operations. Apple stores already have "Genius Bars" for repairs and questions on Macintosh computers.

The new design puts twice as many Macs and iPods on display and should speed customer service, Johnson said.

More than 10,000 people visit each store a week. Apple, which opened its first store in May 2001 to fuel sales of Macs, said in July that retail revenue rose by 29 percent in its fiscal third quarter to $715 million.

The new design is modeled after Apple's Fifth Avenue store in New York, which opened in May and has become the company's most visited outlet. It includes stainless steel walls, Italian stone floors, illuminated displays and larger tables for showcasing Mac and iPod models. The design also lets Apple display 50 percent more products from other companies that sell Mac software and iPod accessories.

Apple to buy AMD semiconductors?

Hector Ruiz, chief executive officer of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), said Apple Computer will eventually buy its semiconductors to provide an alternative to Intel chips.

Apple started selling computers based on Intel microprocessors in February, and its exclusive use of them will drive it toward using AMD parts, Ruiz said in a speech Wednesday at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.

"Everybody wants choice," Ruiz said in the speech, in which he added that larger rival Intel's practices have stifled the PC industry's growth. "Knowing Apple, why would they want to be held hostage like everyone else has been?"

Apple is selling more Macs in the U.S. after the switch to Intel chips and as its iPod music player spurs PC purchases. Adding AMD as a supplier will be simple for Apple because the company has already adapted Macintosh operating system software to work on Intel chips, which use the same instruction set as AMD, Ruiz said.

Apple won't comment on its plans, spokesman Lynn Fox said in an e-mailed statement.

AMD, the world's second-biggest chipmaker, is Intel's only remaining competitor in the more than $30 billion market for microprocessors, the computing engine of personal computers.

Last year, Ruiz's company grabbed sales from Hewlett-Packard and other PC makers, pushing Intel's share of the market to less than 80 percent for the first time in four years.

Bloomberg News

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