After a two-year wait, Apple (AAPL) on Friday finally unveiled a redesigned version of its iconic flagship Apple Store on 5th Ave. in Manhattan. CEO Tim Cook opened the doors of the glass cube that leads down into the store promptly at 8 a.m. with throngs of Apple fans and onlookers gathered around.
I toured the store as it opened to customers, and its new look is certainly more airy and open than before. Apple not only expanded the underground store, but also added a series of mirror-glass skylenses along with 62 skylights that fill the store with natural light.
Greenery lines one of the walls in the back of the store, while a room dedicated to Apple's in-home experience completely with HomePods sits at another end of the showcase.
The spiral staircase leading down into the store is cantilevered, making it appear as though the steps float when viewed from below. The mirror-like surface of the elevator that brings customers from the plaza to the store shimmers in the new lighting surrounding it.
Apple says the store's ceiling is made of a curved fabric that is backlit to emulate the natural light of the sun depending on the time of day. As the day goes on the light changes in real-time.
Apple will be hosting a number of its Today at Apple events daily at the new store, with artists from various media passing through to give customers tips on how to best take advantage of their devices.
Of course, the store's main showcases are the Apple products on sale. Rows of wooden tables throughout the store are filled with Apple's new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max, as well the Apple Watch Series 5, MacBooks, and more.
The 5th Ave. store is Apple's most well-known location, and every detail of the structure is important. The walls, for example, look as though they are made of the same material and use the same styling as those used at Apple's campus in Cupertino, California.
Of course, the number of new iPhones, Apple Watches, iPads, Macs, and services the store is set to churn out is far more important than its new look. According to Apple, the site sees more annual visitors than the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building.
Naturally, Apple hopes they all walk away with those new devices in their hands as they leave.
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Email Daniel Howley at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.