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Word is that the Apple Store Fifth Avenue is hosting its press opening today! For us mere mortals, the store will be open at 6pm on Friday-- and rumors say it will NEVER close. That's right, Apple insiders are saying the store is going to be open 24/7, which is perfect if you need your iPod fixed at 4am. It's also good if you get kicked out of your apartment because you blew too much cash on Apple gear-- in that case, we recommend bringing a sleeping bag and crashing on those bean-bag chairs in the kids area.

If you are lucky enough to sneak in tonight, please send us a couple of pictures-- we can't bear the suspense! Also try to get some pix of the people sleeping outside in sleeping bags-- apparently they've been offered a special pin.

Photo by MARK LENNIHAN for the AP and dggraphics for flickr

UPDATE: the black board has been removed from the cube overnight! Pictures on Flickr are starting to emerge, dggraphics has a few photos from them taking the covering down last night. A cookie for anyone who gets a shot of the entire structure.

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UPDATE: Ifo gets the cookie!

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UPDATE: strange as it may seem, we appear to have gotten a man inside the cube for the press tour. He's sending text and Flickr images even as we speak!

UPDATE: Dan has the reverse shot of the staircase-- nice job! Check out his other pix too.

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UPDATE: Neil txts: "Five years since first retail. 147th store. First all underground store. [Editor's note: do malls count?] 32 feet cubed. Fire percent of the plaza for the cube. Improved whole plaza by agreement with NYC gov. 10,000 sqft of retail space. Equals floor space at Soho."

HOLY SHAT: "24 HOURS A DAY SEVEN DAYS 365 CONFIRMED! FIRST 24 HOURS GIVING AWAY A MACBOOK ON THE HOUR EVERY HOUR! STARTING AT 6PM OPENING TOMORROW. Apparently even the employees didn't know until last week."

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UPDATE: Neil continues to txt: "providing free wifi to entire plaza. Next store is in Freehold NJ. Glass elevator is in the enterior of the spiral staircase. 558 sheets of glass in the cube-- from Germany and LIC."

It's also worth noting that this Apple store did not have any Photography or Video equipment on display. When we asked the staff there we were told that this location wasn't carrying any. So all you photobloggers will need to stay at the Soho store. Also, this store does not have a theater like Soho.

Free T-Shirts will be given to the first 2500 visitors at the 6pm opening tomorrow.

A set of high res shots are now up on flickr from Neil.

UPDATES: The first person in line according to ifo Apple Store the "first person in line, Stormy Shippy, arrived from Texas and took his place at 12:15 a.m."

There are 100 Macs and nearly 200 iPods on display, so there shouldn't be such a wait as there is at the soho location. They've hired nearly 300 employees, with 96 geniuses to help you troubleshoot your machine.

Rumors are persisting that there will be a big event at the store's opening tomorrow. Bands names have been thrown around, like Apple's resident musician Bono. But he's in Africa at the moment...