The Oculus at the World Trade Center is both a new transit hub and a large shopping mall. Apple was a rumored tenant and earlier this summer it was confirmed. Today the Apple Store World Trade Center opened to a large crowd.
In typical Apple fashion there were cheers, clapping and plenty of people on hand. Not just the 257 employees of the store, but countless customers and fans of Apple showed up. The first person in line arrived at 6 AM in the morning, and there were plenty of people behind him.
The Apple Store World Trade Center is a two-level wonder in the main concourse. Its design is both modern and sophisticated, going hand in hand with the Oculus. The entire front is glass, on both levels, with four sets of doors. The main level hosts the classic oak tables filled with products– iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple Watches each have a place to call their own.
The coolest feature of the store to me has to be The Forum, which brings back memories of the old school theater setups. It features a wall spanning 6K screen, indeed a site to behold. There are oak stools, replacing the classic soft black circular balls of the past. These can be moved around for events or workshops, but they can also be a place for the customers to congregate. It gives the store a community-centric and home like feel, definitely very inviting.
Unlike other Apple Stores that feature glass stairs like 5th Avenue and SoHo, Apple opted for two stairwells on either side of the store. Both of these are closed off with walls but are open going up. It is a clear difference from past designs, but works well, especially in a large store format like this one.
As usual, Apple pays attention to detail, especially with the design. You have walls made of quartz, floors of terrazzo and tables made of oak. The ceiling lights are designed to disperse the light evenly across the store. Specifically, on the second level, you will notice the tables are in line with the ceiling, and that is in line with pillars of the Oculus–Simply put, it all works in unison.
There is no Genius Bar, but this is not the first store to do this. Instead, the tables on the second level, don’t fill both sides with products. The tables on the upper floor are for personal setup, workshops, and genius bar appointments.
A very cool feature of the tables on the second floor would be the magical power and ethernet ports. Simply wave your hand over a particular spot on the tables and they will pop up– this is awesome.
Traditionally for accessories Apple has wall displays with shelves, they have mixed this up with avenues. These stretch the main wall of the store, and on the second level they take up multiple sides. They are designed like streets with different windows dedicated to various products. For instance, there is an Apple Watch window with different bands that they make. They are laid out neatly, allowing you to try them on. Underneath is what they have in stock. Further down on the avenue is a photography window which showcases several accessories, like microphones and mini tripods.
Similarly, with the Apple TV, they have a display that is set up like a living room and one setup for gaming. The latter of the two has several different controllers paired, allowing you to try out the Apple TV for various use cases.
The Apple Store World Trade Center is an excellent store in many ways. However, more importantly, they manage to serve customers with the level of excellence that Apple is known for. The employees are friendly, and the customers enjoy their time in the store.
A closing fact is that with the 257 employees, 25 languages are spoken. Which is important as this store will get everyday people, business professionals, plenty of travelers and tourists at a minimum. Being able to cater to a store that should see over 12 million diverse people is significant, and Apple has done just that.