Analyst: Apple's Fifth Avenue Store Doomed to Fail

Another disappointing Apple cube.

NEW YORK — Tech pundit John C. Mossderle this week predicted that Apple's high-profile GM Plaza location, due to open this Friday, is unlikely to serve a single customer with its current design.

Cube will protect store from severe weather, customers

Sitting atop the store, located at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, is an impressive 32-ft glass cube. Constructed with "ballistic-grade" glass developed by 3M, the cube is strong enough to withstand high winds, hail, and heavy snow accumulation. According to Mossderle, the problem is that while the store's bold structure may be attractive, it simply does not provide any way for customers to enter the space.

According to an anonymous source within Apple, the company's SVP of retail Ron Johnson has admitted that the installation of an "impenetrable" glass cube was, in hindsight, a misguided idea, but Apple CEO Steve Jobs insisted on it. Original plans for the store included a door with a glass overhang, and one was installed during the initial construction. Jobs later decided to remove the doorway for aesthetic reasons, reportedly claiming that nothing, not even a door, should interrupt the "purity" of the structure. When some of the black plywood panels covering the cube were first removed last month, crews were spotted removing the doorway and replacing it with the same glass panels used in the rest of the cube.

Still, Apple enthusiasts are preparing to wait in line overnight before the store's opening at 6 p.m. on Friday. Gary Allen of ifoAppleStore, a website dedicated to Apple's retail stores, remained hopeful about the situation.

"Perhaps at the opening we'll see a controlled demolition of the cube," mused Allen, "That would be exciting. But I mean with all that glass? I don't see how you could get a permit for that."

Mossderle did add that the store may provide some initial benefits to Apple by acting as a "look, but don't touch" showroom of Apple's products that can be viewed from street level. However, it is expected that visitors will soon be disturbed by the sight of trapped store employees, who have been training in the store since mid-April, apparently unaware of the CEO's decision to make the cube completely enclosed. The cube was sealed on Monday when a final gloss finish was applied to match the screens of the new MacBooks inside.

Apple's official website for the store provides little information, simply displaying a countdown to the Grand Opening. Interestingly enough, the countdown claims, "Doors open in..." We'll see.

Posted: Tuesday - May 16, 2006 at 11:55 PM