Sometimes it seems like Apple never forgets. Remember the Cube — a beautiful but flawed Mac, grey encased in clear plastic the stood about 10 inches on a side? Writ large, that’s kind of what Apple’s built in one of New York City’s most public spaces: Fifth Avenue and 58th Street.
The Fifth Avenue store, which opens tomorrow at 6pm and will never close, sits under GM Plaza, across the street from Bergdorf Goodman, the Plaza Hotel and Central Park and steps away from FAO Schwartz. The entrance is marked by a dramtic 32-foot-cube of glass that encases the Apple logo. A 32-step glass spiral staircase winds its way down a round glass elevator one level down.
The number 32 appears weirdly throughout. The cube is 32 feet on each side. There are 32 steps down. Of course, 32 is 2 to the 5th power — and Opening Day is the fifth anniversary of the first Apple store’s debut, and the store itself is on Fifth Avenue. Good thing it’s not on 7th; a 128-foot glass cube might be a tough engineering problem.
The natural light that pours down warms the 10,000 square foot selling area. Ron Johnson, Apple’s SVP of Retail, says there are 100 Macs and 300 staffers available for customer use. The Genius Bar is 45 feet long, and they’ve hird 96 full-time "Geni-i." There’s a new iPod bar to provide support for iPod users and a "Studio" to help "creatives" with questions about their hardware and software. The plaza above is now WiFi-ed; I didn’t check to see how far into Central Park the signal carried.
Oh — and this is the first Apple store to be open 24/7/365. "Open today, forever," Johnson said. And yes, there will be Geniuses at the Bar all night long.