Apple Takes a Bite Out of Glass Architecture

Apple loves glass, and it’s stocking up on the patents to prove it. The company was awarded a patent recently by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its well-known glass cube building design, as featured at its flagship Manhattan store.

Apple was awarded a patent for its glass cube building design, as featured at its flagship Manhattan store.
Apple was awarded a patent for its glass cube building design, as featured at its flagship Manhattan store.

The patent, which is good for 14 years and can be viewed here, features an “ornamental design” that consists of 15 lites of glass. The 32-foot-tall structure initially was made of 90 lites but was remodeled in 2011 to create a more “simple” look.

The late Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, is listed as one of the inventors in the patent and reportedly paid for—and owned—the structure itself.

Apple’s glass cube patent comes roughly a year after the company was awarded a patent on the glass staircase design used in many of its retail stores. Apple also has an architectural patent on a glass cylinder design for its flagship Shanghai store.

Meanwhile, the company is apparently ramping up production of its own Sapphire glass to presumably be used for electronic cover purposes. Apple recently purchased a former solar panel manufacturing site in Mesa, Ariz., and leased the space out to GT Advanced Technologies, which is reportedly producing Sapphire for future Apple products.

Both Apple and GT have been mostly tight-lipped regarding the recent happenings at the plant, though GT CEO Tom Gutierrez disclosed some information during a quarterly-earnings conference call with investors last month.

Gutierrez said the build-out of the Arizona facility—which, at one point, had 1,200 construction workers on it—is nearing completion and should be fully operational by early 2015.

Apple, however, didn’t respond to a request for comment regarding its future plans.


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