Apple opened its seventh own-branded retail outlet in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday.

Apple fans queued for hours for a first look at the store – a phenomenon also seen with the opening of the other six.

MacCentral tells how one couple waited outside the store from 9pm the previous night.

Apple's next store opens on September 14 at International Plaza in Tampa, Florida.
The company continues to emphasize its reasons to move into retail, a move which has achieved positive responses on Wall Street despite growing economic gloom.

Apple hopes that by placing its products in high-traffic stores that reflect its award-winning design ethic it will attract new customers.

A statement on Apple'sWeb site reads: "Apple currently has around five per cent market share in personal computers. This means that out of 100 computer users, five of them use Macs.

"If only five of those remaining 95 people switch to Macs, we'll double our market share."

Apple expects to open a new store each week in the run-up to Thanksgiving, traditionally the busiest shopping period in the US in the year.