“My daughter left my iPod out in the rain,” said my friend.
“And you’ll never have that recipe again,” I replied.
After she was done furiously punching me, I told my friend that we should take a walk over to the Apple Store on Fifth Ave in New York City. I’d been aching to see The Cube ever since I got to the city, and since it’s open 24 hours a day, we could fit it into our schedule any time.
And while the store is indeed open all day long, I really recommend going after sunset, when it goes from being an interesting structure to being a glowing beacon of beautiful Mac-ness.
I had to stop myself from genuflecting. It’s simply a stunning structure, part art and part ego, a Monolith for the cult of Apple, which I’ve counted myself a part of since the Bad Old Days when Macs came in beige and had mice with buttons. It literally made me giddy to approach, enter, and descend the spiral staircase.
Saturday night, and the place was packed; a long, snaky line of people waiting to buy 3G iPhones (still waiting in lines?). In fact, the iPhone (and iPod touch) was so dominant, it was hard to find an actual Macintosh computer. I’m not joking, I walked over to a set of giant LCDs, only to find that they were being used to demonstrate that you could watch video downloads, played directly from your iPod.
Table after table of iPhones, broken up occasionally by listening stations for those who still use iPods for music. I thought at one point I had gotten turned around and was backtracking until I saw that the spiral staircase was pointing away from me, and realized that I had wandered from the iPhone section into the iPod Touch section. The price difference was my second clue.
But getting back to my friend: she ended up walking out of there empty-handed. She didn’t want an iPhone; she hates owning a cell phone and has heard bad things about its power consumption issues. She liked the idea of the iPod touch, which would give her a bigger screen for her photos, plus email and web access, but the biggest hard drive would still be too small for her to carry her entire music collection. And having seen the feature set of the touch, the iPod Classic seemed limited. Luckily I remembered the upcoming Apple event on the 9th, so maybe Steve will pull out a combo that can make her happy.
So, we split, having spent maybe 20 minutes there. I was glad to get out of the crush of people and head back into the cool dark of the NY evening. As I admired the cube once again, I realized that while the structure is a work of art, the Apple Store is still an Apple Store, and if Macs are no longer a cult, the iPhone zealots sure as hell are.