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Monday, July 23 12:00 AM ET

Apple Store to Begin
Charging Entrance Fee

By Brian Briggs

Cupertino, CA – If you want to see the iPhone at an Apple store, be sure to bring some cash. Large crowds flocking to see the iPhone and next generation iPods have forced Apple to begin charging a $5 entrance fee for Apple stores.  Many analysts anticipated the move, and expect a positive response from customers.

"Part of the move was to limit crowds to keep the stores safe, but also we wanted to keep the right kind of people in the stores," said vice president of retail outlets, Vince Sciopiano.  "By 'right kind of people' I mean true Apple customers with money, willing to pay just to look at our newest wares."

While Apple Geniuses patrol inside the store, Apple "Muscleheads" will guard the window displays and entrances. 

For the $5 fee, customers will get an Apple button which will allow them entrance into the store and is used to track the customer's movements.  Sciopiano noted that the $5 fee could be applied to purchases on that visit

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Customer reaction at a pilot project at the Apple Store in Canoga Park, California was positive.  Alexander Hu, an avid Mac user, said, "I don't mind paying $5 to get into the store, if it keeps out the iPhone gawkers and Windows lusers who want to drool over the new Macs."

Not everyone was pleased though.  Kyle Martin said, "Five dollars to just walk into the store?  It's like they want to be elite snobs or something."

When told of the criticism, Sciopiano said, "That's exactly the case."

Apple shares were up on the news.
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