After months of rumors then denials, confirmations then subsequent previews, Apple finally opened the doors to its Grand Central Terminal retail store at 10 AM this morning. Now if you're one of the 750,000 commuters who pass through the station every day, it'll be much easier to impulse-buy an iPad 2 to accompany you for the rest of your commute.
The Grand Central Terminal Apple Store will be Apple's fifth Manhattan location, and is primed to be the most iconic. Apple has had to follow careful rules to match the aesthetic of the 140-year-old train station, which meant mitigating its usual sleek (almost clinical) aesthetic.
The sprawling store covers 23,000 square feet over the terminal's northeast side, and employs 315 Apple Store employees ready to give 15-minute express tutorials on any Apple product. This is the first Apple Store to offer this service, which caters especially to thronged commuters in a hurry. Can't spare 15 minutes? You don't have to even go up to one of the employees to make your purchase. Customers have the option to quickly scan and pay for their Apple product with a few taps on the dedicated Apple Store iPhone app.
The Apple Store at Grand Central Terminal is split into four sections. Go up the steps, and you land on the most spacious section: the main selling floor, where most of Apple's main products are laid out. When you pass through a small doorway to your left, you'll find the Genius Bar with several computers set up. As always, you're welcome to use the Internet connection on these for as long as you like.
To the right section, there are two small rooms: the accessories section for Apple products to the far right, and a small "Startup" room. The Startup room hosts Apple specialists who can set up your newly purchased gadgets and answer quick queries about how they work.
Apple is renting the space from the building's owner, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The organization has said Apple is paying $180 per square foot, over the span of its 10-year lease.
On top of that rent, Apple spent $5 million to snatch the real estate from previous tenant Metrazur, a restaurant. They've also already handed over $2.5 million for store construction.
But this doesn't mean Apple is in a bad shape at all. Unlike other Grand Central tenants, Apple's struck a deal with the MTA so that the company won't have to share its revenues.
Regular business hours at the Grand Central Apple Store will be from 7 AM to 9 PM, Monday through Friday; Saturday from 10 AM to 7 PM; and Sunday from 11 AM to 6 PM.
Landing image via Business Insider