Apple Store Door Appears to Melt in Furious Storm; ‘The Glass Pretty Much Folded’

By Carol Tannenhauser

The sky was flashing lightning late last Sunday afternoon. Thunder roared, and rain and wind buffeted the neighborhood. Our tipster (who preferred to remain anonymous) was getting her iPhone fixed at the Apple store on Broadway between 67th and 68th Streets, when she heard “a big bang, like a collision,” she emailed. “It did not sound like broken glass because, as you can see (from the pictures), the glass pretty much folded without shattering.”

She assumed that “lightning had struck the metal door handle,” causing the glass to “collapse.”

Another source with credible knowledge of the cause (but also a desire to remain anonymous) said it was the wind, however. An Apple manager declined to comment.

No one was injured.


The aftermath, on Monday. Photo by Carol Tannenhauser.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 28 comments | permalink
    1. Robert Sheridan says:

      Looks Like the Monolith from “2001”

      Is the Apple Store a Portal to another Galaxy?

      (Maybe that explains the cosmic forces that bought down the glass . . .)

    2. A says:

      They should leave it as a sculpture!

    3. Mika Ziba says:

      She assumed that “lightening had struck the metal door handle,” causing the glass to “collapse.”

      It’s unlikely that lightning struck the door, but is it absolutely necessary to point out that the tipster used the incorrect word?

    4. Ron Wasserman says:

      It’s been hot enough to literally melt glass.

    5. stu says:

      Curious why everyone wants to remain anonymous… Does Apple have a hit squad ready to eliminate all critics and dissenters??

      • Beware of the Apple says:

        Actually, Apple has taken down by legal request all video documentation of the gasp that occurred when they announced their $1K computer stand.

        Which is to say, yes – Apple is very conscious and active about their press and how they are perceived.

    6. Deep Thought says:

      “Another source with credible knowledge of the cause (but also a desire to remain anonymous) said it was the wind”

      A credible source with no idea about basic physics – wind does not melt glass

    7. Adam says:

      This is fascinating. Could the amount of EMR in that area have been part of the cause. Would wind really change the physical properties of the material?

    8. Young Sally says:

      As someone who studied Materials Science, I can only say, “That’s cool!” I walked by this morning and true to Apple, I think it was already fixed.

    9. Nido says:

      It’s not lightning, that’s how those giant glass panes are supposed to break. This extra tough safety glass is laminated/tempered and shatters into safe, tiny chunks when it finally breaks. The outside laminate layer is holding all the chunks together here. With a sufficient impact, any of the Apple store glass panes will fail in the same way, regardless of the weather conditions.

      • geoff says:

        tempered glass is probably required. what is extra special about ‘Apple window glass’ is the exterior surface treatment. next time it’s raining hard, and you’re in the store, look outside through the windows—the glass does not get ‘wet’, the water merely runs (quickly) according to physical laws to the bottom, leaving fairly see-through windows. Maybe even more cool than the glass staircase (which must have cost a mint).

    10. Margot Jacqz says:

      Whatever hit it, very cool that Apple has state of the art shatterproof glass. Imagine the hazard nightmare if it simply splintered.

    11. Chrigid says:

      why is it white?

      • cjc says:

        There are tiny pieces of shattered glass sandwiched inside a plastic laminate, which makes the whole thing look white. The laminate keeps the tiny pieces from scattering all over the floor, so there’s less of a hazard.

        • Nido says:

          Yes. This kind of glass structure is actually under tremendous internal stress and can be weakened by impacts that occur a long time before the final failure… so sometimes tempered glass even appears to spontaneously shatter, without any immediate cause.

          What’s scary here is that floppy laminated glass sandwich is easily many hundreds of pounds of mass and if anyone was standing right next to it (it’s the main door, right?) while it failed and fell, they could easily be killed by the weight of it!

    12. AC says:

      Our tipster (who preferred to remain anonymous) was getting her iPhone fixed at the Apple store . . .

      BUT then you guys name her with the Photo Credit?
      🙂

    13. Alta says:

      It’s laminated glass, like a car windshield. It’s designed to break that way!

    14. Victor says:

      This weekend I saw a very similar thing (much smaller though) during a Glass Breaking Demo at Corning Museum of Glass. Definitely laminated glass and similar to bullet proof glass.

    15. RS says:

      Is it possible that the vibrations from the thunder hit a frequency that shattered the glass sandwiched between the laminated sheets? If that happened then the interior glass would have shattered and the weight of it could have caused the two laminated sheets (essentially plastic) to have “folded” under the weight. Just my hypothesis.

    16. ST says:

      Another thing to credit to Steven Jobs. When he decided to open the first Apple retail stores he envisioned the glass facades, only glass that monumental had never been made yet. So he worked with glass designers and manufacturers (just like he did for the iPhone) and thus helped to create new glass technology.

    17. SHG says:

      Wow, those are damn-heavy doors, too.

    18. Always an UWS gal says:

      There are different types of laminates that are designed to withstand grade 4 hurricanes. But the laminate is the inside layer. There is a piece of glass, a laminate and another piece of glass. The outside glass panels can shatter but the laminate keeps it all together. You wouldn’t typically put laminate on the outside because it would scratch easily and be harder to clean since laminate is plastic. It looks really cool though all folded up – like a blanket.

    19. UWSgal says:

      Climate change is real. 11 years left!

    20. Jerome36 says:

      I hope the glass replacement company told them they were buying door glass X and charged them an additional 30%.

    21. Evan Bando says:

      An omen of the present and future trade wars with China: Of American companies, Apple has the most to lose.