“Yesterday, May 19, marked the 15th anniversary of the first Apple retail stores, opened in Virginia and California,” Mark Hibben writes for Seeking Alpha. “At the time, as is so often the case with an Apple initiative, the stores were pre-declared to be a failure.”

“What the pundits didn’t get about the stores is what they still don’t get about Apple,” Hibben writes. “The tide of commodity PC hardware that was supposed to engulf Apple is now receding in a multi-year decline. We live in a post-commodity era, in which quality and value, rather than mere low cost, are the deciding factors for most consumers.”

“As the wealth and disposable income of consumers increased in the late 20th century, they became more discriminating. Middle class consumers especially were no longer content with the lowest cost options for many of the goods they purchased,” Hibben writes. “This can be seen in automobiles, the quality of which improved tremendously in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. If you look at cars built in the early 70s, compared to today, the build quality and reliability are deplorable. Cars today are also more expensive, in real terms, but arguably a better value. The reason that higher quality, yet more expensive cars have become the norm is because that’s what won in the marketplace.

Hibben write, “Apple’s bet on its stores was essentially a bet that the same process was occurring in personal computers and electronics.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: People en masse finally recognized that ROI trumps sticker price. (Mac users knew that fact all along.)

It’s time again, of course, for one of our all-time favs:

I give [Apple] two years before they’re turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake.David Goldstein, Channel Marketing Corp. President, commenting on Apple’s opening of retail stores, May 21, 2001

How the Apple Retail Store took over the world – July 22, 2015
Overall sales at shopping malls with an Apple Store are 10% higher – March 11, 2015
Apple Stores dominate retail with double the sales per sq. ft. of nearest rival, Tiffany & Co. – November 13, 2012
Why authorities waive rents and taxes to land Apple Retail Stores – May 20, 2012