I was in NYC this past weekend for the New York Comic Con, and ended up checking out the 5th Avenue Apple Store for the first time. This location has been open for a while now so I am not going to bore you with all of my impressions, but a few things did cross my mind while I was there.
1) How exactly do they manage to keep both the outside cube structure and the glass staircase so clean? Having worked at Apple Retail, I was always shocked how dingy our counter tops and floor would be, even after scrubbing by the Mac Specialist. The 5th Avenue store however appeared spotless, even on a busy Sunday. You would expect their famous glass staircase to be filled with muddy foot prints, yet it was pristine.
2) The Mac Specialist didn't appear to be doing very much. Almost every employee I saw, outside of the Genii and Concierge appeared to be just standing around. I didn't see anyone giving "rides" on iMacs or demoing Apple TV, but I also didn't see customers looking around for help either. The store definitely feels more like a tourist exhibit than it does a retail store. I wonder how the Mac Specialist are graded on their performance?
3) Despite the enormous Genius Bar and iPod Bar, I still saw plenty of people with broken iPhones and iPods with that familiar look of disgust on their face. It's the same look I saw daily in my former thirty foot Apple store. I guess large bars and more genii don't solve the real problem which is facing Apple retail. Quality control.
Having worked in Apple retail, and now being away from it for a year, I would summarize the 5th Avenue store as a nice place to visit...but I wouldn't want to work there :)