An artist’s rendition of the seamless glass cube Apple Store at New York’s Fifth Avenue.
Credit: The Gothamist.

UPDATE 1 [November 2, 8:15am ET]: The article has been updated with information on the Apple Store app and self-checkout process, included after the break and sourced from a Boy Genius Report story.

Apple is set to unveil an all-new glass cube entrance into its iconic outlet at New York City’s Fifth Avenue, MacRumors has learned. The new look should be unveiled this coming Friday, November 4. The work on remodeling the building hailed as New York’s top photo attraction began this summer. According to permits, changes include using larger, seamless pieces of glass and reducing the number of glass panes from 90 to just 15, or three per side.

Apple is also said to remove protective bollards, install new pavers around the cube’s perimeter and remove and reinstall surrounding water drains. This major makeover will cost six million dollars, nearly matching the seven million dollars they reportedly paid back in 2005 to assemble the now iconic glass cube entrance.

MacRumors also noted that Apple will allow buyers to use the official Apple Store for iOS app (which, shamefully, has yet to be updated with full iPad support) to “utilize self-checkout for purchases of accessories and other shelf-stocked items at the company’s retail stores”. Heylookitseric is mentioning the November 3 launch for the updated program. How is the self-checkout process going to work?

After making a purchase via the Apple Store app using the self-checkout option, you will receive a receipt via email and show it to a store employee as proof of purchase, the publication explains. This option will be available for Macs and iOS devices and is meant as a time-saver for both customers and retail employees in regard to accessories kept on store shelves.

For items kept in the stockroom, such as computers, notebooks and iOS devices, customers will be able to pre-purchase those using the app and complete their transaction with assistance of a store employee carrying an EasyPay device. Another interesting retail update from Apple right after the break.

As you know, Apple last Wednesday began offering in-store pickup of online orders in San Francisco and all 16 other stores in the Bay Area. Today, the program has expanded into the Fifth Avenue store and three other stores in New York City (the SoHo, Upper West Side and West 14th Street stores). The company is also said to introduce a new buying option to allow for different shipping addresses for items purchased in a single transaction. This way, for example, daddy will be able to buy an iPad for grandpa and an iPod touch for his junior in a single transaction and have them shipped to two different addresses, which wasn’t possible in the past without having to purchase each item in a separate transaction.

UPDATE 1: According to Boy Genius Report, in-store pickups will be available approximately twelve minutes after completing the order online or through the app. Apple will then issue a push notification to your device so you know your package is ready to be picked up at the store:

Around 12 minutes after purchasing, customers will be able to walk into the Apple Store, skip lines, skip registers, get their products, sign for them and leave. the order goes through the system to the designated Apple Store in about 3 minutes. Apple’s back-of-house employees have 2 minutes to set all of the products aside on a shelf from the minute it was ordered. There is then a 7-minute grace period for employees to get everything else in order.

Purchases made online or through the app with in-store pickups will be prioritized over customers waiting in the store for a retail specialist. Additionally, placing an order for an item not currently stocked, buying custom-configured machines and special orders (such as laser engraving) “will be a given a pick-up date right after the purchase is completed”. Another interesting nugget: Returns will be possible for online orders with an in-store pickup option. The publication sums up:

Apple expects the majority of customers over the next few years to use the in-store pick up option as their default method of buying products. This will help with foot traffic in retail stores while also reducing the cost of shipping for Apple, and possibly even reducing the number of stores Apple needs to open to accommodate sales.

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