Apple is being bribed to set up its cathedrals for its new religion by local councils who believe the stores are status symbols for a city which magically attract new business.
One case was Utah which is bringing an Apple Store to the City Creek Center in downtown Salt Lake City. Apple was bribed with five years' free rent to move in.
New York's MTA transit authority offered Apple a bargain-priced deal of $60 per square foot to open a store in Grand Central Terminal. Any other computer seller would have to pay $200 per square foot. Another retailer would also have to give the city's underground system a cut of the profits, but Apple didn't have to agree to that.
Apple also made a deal with Chicago officials, scoring 10 years of free rent in exchange for $4 million to renovate a nearby underground station.
While this seems unfair to other businesses, it would appear that the reason the sweeteners are being offered is because other stores benefit from Apple's haloed presence.
In other words, it is not illegally favouring one type of company with taxpayers' cash, it is investing in a magical talisman to draw more business to a region. We doubt there are the numbers to prove this, it is just a matter of faith in the new religion.