An Interview with the AAPL Collection Owner & Curator — Jimmy Grewal
Learn more about this unique collection of Apple vintage products, the AAPL Collection, curated by Jimmy Grewal.
During my research, while working on the series “Remembering The Story Behind Every Apple Computers I Ever Owned“, I stumbled many times on a unique website, the AAPL Collection (available here https://aaplcollection.com but also available on Instagram and Twitter). If you don’t know about AAPL Collection, it is a private collection of vintage Apple products, based in Dubai, mostly consisting of Macintosh computers but of many other artifacts. For a bit of context, don’t miss the story of the collection’s debuts. It’s really an impressive collection composed of rare and unique items. Jimmy Grewal (Twitter profile), the owner and curator of the collection, accepted to answer my questions for my curiosity and your pleasure. I hope you’ll enjoy this written interview as much as I did reading Mr. Grewal’s answers.
How many devices and artifacts are composing the AAPL Collection? Do you maintain some sort of inventory description of each piece?
I currently have 272 Apple computers, monitors, printers, and storage devices. Along with that there are more than 100 Apple accessories (keyboards, mice, etc) and a similar number of documents and marketing materials. I maintain a simple database of items. I hope to have that database accessible on the web later this year for anyone to browse.
Are there artifacts of Apple’s history that you are still looking for to get that is missing in your collection? What is it?
I’m looking for an original Audio Cassette Interface for the Apple-1, a working Apple Graphics Tablet for the Apple II, a number of Apple printer and monitor models, and spare parts to restore and maintain the computers I already have.
I guess you are probably subscribing to some sort of insurance, have you ever tried to estimate the collection’s value?
The value is subjective, but the collection is insured for over $1M. That will reduce somewhat after the upcoming auction of one of my two Apple-1 computers.
Are all computers in working condition? If not, are trying to restore them so they work again?
Most of the desktop computers have been restored to working condition, but I have yet to start on the laptops and printers. This is a continuous process as even computers that are working can fail at any time and require additional restoration work.
What current Apple products do you use every day?
I use an M1 16-inch MacBook Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, 2022 Studio Display, 2020 iPad Pro, Apple Watch Series 7, and a 2013 Mac Pro.
What’s the best device Apple ever made?
For me it’s a toss up between the 2021 M1 MacBook Pro and the 2003 Apple iSight camera.
Do you know if Steve Jobs was aware of the existence of the collection?
He was not because it was not organized and put on display until 2019, even though I started collecting in 1995.
Do you know if any high-ranking guys in Apple leadership are aware of the collection’s existence? Have you reached them or did they reach you?
Some who know me from when I worked at Microsoft are aware, and others may be aware but have never communicated with me about it. I’m not the only collector and Apple has never supported or encouraged people like me. Steve Jobs was not a nostalgic person, but the current leadership has referenced the company’s rich history more frequently so perhaps things will change.
Do you have a never shared story about your collection that you are willing to share with our readers?
When I worked at Microsoft on Internet Explorer for the Mac, Apple would occasionally lend me pre-release hardware as part of their AppleSeed program. I still have two of those computers…they never asked for them back and I accidentally packed them up with all my other computers when I moved back to Dubai from California. It’s been nearly 20 years since I left Microsoft, but if they want them back they know how to reach me.😉
We all know that we are not eternal, so how do you plan for the collection to stay perennial beyond you as the original owner and curator?
The AAPL Collection belongs to a holding company for all our family assets. My wife helps me with certain aspects of managing the collection and knows who to contact for help in case something happens to me. We are looking for a permanent public venue to house the collection, preferably here in the UAE. If we don’t find one in the next few years, then we will explore other options.
There you are. Now you know a bit more about this well-known and unique Apple products collection and how it came to be. It’s my first experience with a written interview, and I’m glad Mr. Grewal took the time necessary to sit down and provide extensive answers to my numerous questions.