Apple Store at Grand Central Terminal Arriving Soon – But When?

The largest Apple Store in the world is almost fully baked, but right now you can’t tell what’s behind the black curtain at New York’s Grand Central Terminal.

An electronic sign which mimics the destination signs at Grand Central offers some teasers, but holds back the most essential information: When will the darn thing open? When will commuters passing through the historic train station get a chance to peruse iPads and Macs on their ways to and from work? No official word from Apple yet.

The good news is that you won’t have any problem finding the store: It takes up the entire east balcony and then some.

Those of you old enough to lie about your age might remember when this area was completely blocked by the Kodak Colorama, a gigantic photo which took over the entire balcony. The 18-by-60-foot transparency, billed as the world’s largest photograph, ruled over the space for 40 years until the late 1990s, when Grand Central underwent a major renovation which removed billboards, kiosks and other clutter out of the main waiting area and added the east staircase.

It’s a sure bet that the store will open early enough to inhale income from the current holiday shopping season, but we don’t know when the black curtain will lift. However, even though you can’t shop at the Grand Central Terminal Apple Store yet, you can apply for a job there now, according to Apple’s website.

Text and video Copyright 2011, Robert S. Anthony, Stadium Circle Features

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Whap! Sock! Pow! Batman Adds Punch to Samsung’s Ultrafast 830 Series SATA 3.0 Solid State Drives

Samsung’s new 830 Series SATA 3.0 SSDs are not only twice as fast as their predecessors, but they also come with a free copy of Batman: Arkham City.

It takes a lot to make the jaded technology press crack smiles at a press conference, but there were toothy grins all around Monday when a tall, well-muscled, Batman character suddenly appeared onstage to help Samsung introduce its new 830 Series of ultrafast SATA 3.0 solid state drives.

 Not only are the 830 Series 2.5-inch SSDs slimmer (7mm) and twice as fast than Samsung’s 470 Series SSDs, they come with a code for a free download of the PC version of Batman: Arkham City, a new video game from Warner Bros. The game, which launched last week, usually sells for about $50.

“The game will boot in a flash,” said Reid Sullivan, senior vice president for mobile entertainment for Samsung Electronics America just after the onstage visit from the caped crusader.

Samsung is marketing the drives as affordable upgrade options for performance-hungry gamers as well as anyone who can benefit from the inherent speed advantage of SSDs over standard rotating disk hard drives. One chart displayed at the conference showed that gamers can expect to boot their PCs and get into their games twice as fast with a PC with one of the new SSDs than with a standard hard disk.

The 830 Series SSDs offer read speeds of 520 megabytes per second and write speeds of 400MB/sec and come in 64GB ($130), 128GB ($200), 256GB ($430) and 512GB ($850) versions. They also come with Norton Ghost for duplicating data from one drive to another and Drive Magician for maintaining top performance from the SSDs. 

The 830 Series drives come in a fairly attractive metal casing for an internal drive and will fit in many of today’s new ultrathin notebooks, said Samsung representatives.

“We’re raising the performance bar even higher than ever before,” said Sullivan. “It’s an absolutely beautiful product.” 

All drives come packaged with the cables and drive cages needed for installation in a laptop or a desktop. They also come with USB to SATA cables that essentially turn them into external drives, thus making it possible to copy data to and from a computer before they’re actually installed.

“It’s really not that hard to install. Once you’re inside [your computer] you kind of can’t mess it up,” said N’Gai Croal, founder of consulting firm Hit Detection. Croal was part of a panel discussion of SSDs and video games.

The Samsung Series 830 solid state drives are available now from various vendors, including Amazon.