Apple unveiled its revamped glass cube at the Fifth Avenue flagship store this morning after five months of renovations. The project began in mid-June and cost Apple a reported $6.7 million. The largest, though not greatly noticeable change, is the replacement of the cube's iconic glass panels from 90 panes with 15 larger, seamless glass panels. Additionally, Apple removed protective bollards, installed new pavers around the site, and reinstalled surrounding water drains. FINALLY—those old drains were always making the store crash.
The flagship is normally open 24/7 but closed yesterday evening at 10 p.m. to complete renovations; as a result, employees were met with a hungry crowd of consumers when it reopened at 10 a.m. this morning. One Apple fanatic, a Brazilian man named Glauver Moreira, told us he was hoping to purchase the iHealth blood pressure cuff designed for the iPad for a friend back home. Gazing at the store from the street, he told us, "It's beautiful. I heard that Steve Jobs spent a lot of money just for the glass [referring to the redesign]. And it's underground. In Brazil we don't have stuff like that."
A longtime user of Apple's mobile products, Moreira declared he had three iPhones before purchasing the iPhone 4 this summer, without a contract. While he finds it frustrating that the latest iPhone must be jail-broken before using without a contract, Moreira says he will continue to support Apple. "It's the magic of marketing", he said. Asked about his reaction to the news of Steve Jobs's death, Moreira replied, "I was in my English classes in Brazil and I came back to my room. I was watching the global news and it was the first story. I was upset. The hair on my arms stood up." After shaking hands, he beelined for the door, passing would-be customers waiting on a reservation line for the iPhone 4S.
Inside, not much has changed. Flocks of people crowded around Apple equipment, many to check their email and Facebook accounts, while others received one-on-one tutorials in a variety of languages. Those in the checkout line shuffled forward as the line snaked through the store. Cameras flashed every so often.
As one of the most photographed locations in New York City, the Apple cube continues to draw attention from visiting enthusiasts. Some might consider it Jobs's final hurrah as his legacy of small—though costly and controversial—tweaks in the name of simplicity live on.