Back in June, Apple covered up its landmark Fifth Avenue Cube in NY to begin a $6.6 million renovation project. The word was that they would be re-outfitting the glass cube itself — reducing it from 90 panes to a mere 15. Bigger pieces, fewer seams.
Now they’ve released an artist’s conception, above.
Looks pretty cool. But I’ve already noticed some snide comments to the effect of “$6 million? For that?” … “Apple has way too much money to play around with” … and “Hell, they just built the place less than five years ago.”
Those who think this way really don’t get Apple. They don’t get why a company that makes cool little devices just became more valuable than one that supplies the world with the energy essential to life.
For everything you see in Apple, there are a hundred things you don’t see — all of which add up to the feel of quality and caring you don’t get from other companies. It’s a subconscious effect that Apple pursues quite consciously.
I had the pleasure of working on the “Making Of” video for the Cube, which appeared on apple.com when the store was first opened. That video called out the extraordinary effort that went into procuring the quality components necessary to create this store: the stone flooring from Sicily, the stainless steel surfaces from Tokyo, and the glass staircase and cube structure from Germany.
Apple doesn’t expect a single visitor to the Fifth Avenue Cube to think much about the floor they’re walking on. What they’re trying to do is create an overall feeling — that this is a place where people care about design and quality.
It’s the same principle Apple uses when they design product packaging. For items like iPhones and iMacs, they create an “unboxing experience” you will appreciate only once, lavishing attention on parts few people will ever notice. But overall, the experience contributes to the feeling of quality you get before you even touch the product.
Granted, some people think this is overkill. Or, even worse, it’s one more reason to hate Apple. This is how the Great Satan hoodwinks people into buying their overpriced technology.
Fortunately, Apple doesn’t give a hoot about people who don’t recognize or care about quality. That’s not their audience.
As long as they continue to care about the invisible things, the crowds in those Apple Stores will be anything but invisible.