The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted an Apple design patent on the most recent incarnation of the glass cube sitting over the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York City. The original cube -- paid for and partly designed by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs -- used 90 panes of glass. In 2011, however, Apple spent some $6.7 million on installing a redesigned, more visually-appealing version of the cube with just 15 panes, taking advantage of advances in glass technology.
The cube design has become iconic, even among the many storied retailers that line the avenue, and when new products are announced photographers flock to the structure to grab pictures of the queues. A forthcoming Apple Store in China is said to be modeled on the Fifth Avenue store, which likewise will feature a large glass cube above ground while a glass staircase takes visitors into the actual store, which is below ground.
Apple originally filed for the patent in October 2012, and it's currently set to expire in 14 years. Aside from Jobs, other people credited include Karl Backus, Peter Bohlin, Robert Bridger, Benjamin L. Fay, and James O'Callaghan.