Covent Garden Store
Apple opened a location in London's Covent Garden in August 2010. The fifth London store is quite a superlative. Aside from being the biggest Apple store, it is also the most expensive to date, ifoAppleStore noted. It's housed in a three-level space in a restored 1870s-era building with exposed brick detail. Although it's been restored, the store retains most of its original features, like a glass staircase and stone culled from a Wales quarry.
New York's Grand Central Terminal
One of Apple's newest retail outlets, the 23,0000-square-foot store is housed within New York City's Grand Central Terminal. It opened its doors on Dec. 9, 2011 and is one of the largest Apple stores in the world. Be sure to check out PCMag's extensive slideshow of the store, which features photos snapped during a pre-opening press preview.
New York's Fifth Ave Store
Visitors to New York City often want to walk along Fifth Avenue to take in the impressive window displays in stores like Bloomingdale's and Tiffany's. Just across the street from the famed Plaza Hotel sits a 32-foot glass cube fitted with an illuminated Apple logo that appears to be floating inside of it. Opened in 2006, this spot sees more traffic than any of other three Big Apple Mac shops combined. This mecca for Apple fanboys is open 24 hours a day, too.
The Apple Store in the Ginza district of Tokyo was the first location to open outside of the U.S. ifoAppleStore calls this flagship location a “showcase store for Apple.". The building was constructed in 1965 and has with a stainless steel façade, adorned with a pair of Apple icons. With a signature glass display window on the outside and products begging to be tested on wooden tables on the inside, it looks similar to many U.S. locations However, this four-story store features two continuously-running elevators, an 84-seat auditorium, and a 27-foot-long Genius Bar. It's also the tallest of the Apple stores. Don't speak Japanese? No problem. Ten different languages are spoken at this store.
This store served another purpose recently. After a devastating 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit Japan in early March, Apple kept this Tokyo store open, allowing access the store's public Wi-Fi, watch online news, and contact friends and family via social-networking sites and check their e-mail. Apple also reportedly allowed stranded employees to sleep at the store.
Apple's first Shanghai store is positioned right next to a slightly larger monument: the 1,535-foot-tall Oriental Pearl Tower, China's second largest building. Opened, July 10 of last year, this spot is characterized by a 40-foot-high glass cylinder surrounded by a shallow glass moat. Similar to New York's Fifth Avenue Store, shoppers must descend a spiral staircase to get to the 5,000-square foot store.
It's one of four stores in China. The first, in the Sanlitun District of Beijing, was opened in 2008, just before the summer Olympics kicked off. Apple is said to be emphasizing retail locations in China and hopes to have 25 total in the country by 2012. The four China locations have been widely reported as some of the busiest of in Apple's fleet.
Apple's first Paris store is stunning. Located in the Carrousel du Louvre, a shopping center in the bowels of the famous museum, it is marked by a huge, inverted glass triangle that allows sunlight to pour into the store. Shoppers are greeted by a 30-foot glass window sandwiched between two entrances. The architects maintained much of the original integrity of the building, and left the original stone walls unchanged, allowing the store to fit in with the overall design of the space.
Apple's opened its first Southern Hemisphere store in Sydney, Australia location in June 2008, just before the release of the iPhone 3G. An all-glass store front complete with a suspended Apple logo reveals the guts of the store, a three-level 4,400-square foot space on the corner of George and King streets in Sydney's central business district. Although this was the first store in Australia, Apple now has 10 stores down under.