Many people were aghast last week when snowfall in Chicago caused parts of Apple's new Michigan Avenue flagship store to be roped off with a combination of caution tape and signs requesting that guests "Watch for Falling Snow and Ice" coming from the building's MacBook-esque roof. How could Apple, oft-lauded titan of design, overlook such a major flaw that could lead to injury of patrons? Especially in Chicago, a city notorious for its harsh winters?

Well, according to a statement apple made to The Chicago Tribune, the issue wasn't with the roof's design at all — instead, it was a software malfunction causing the slippery situation:

Apple spokesman Nick Leahy on Friday said the building's architects, London-based Foster + Partners, had designed the glass-walled store with winter in mind, but had been foiled by a technical malfunction. "The roof has a warming system that's built into it," he said. "It needed some fine-tuning and it got re-programmed today. It's hopefully a temporary problem."

I hear what you're thinking — okay, sure, melting the snow isn't a bad idea if the company can get it to work, but what about the deluge of water that will be constantly draining off the roof as a result? Couldn't that freeze back into even more inconvenient (and potentially hazardous) ice? Well, supposedly, Apple has that covered as well:

In addition, [Leahy] said, the store was designed to drain water — not through conventional gutters, but through four internal support columns.

The warming system has since been reprogrammed and will hopefully cause no further issues.


Do you feel Apple has sacrificed functionality in the name of sleek design at its Michigan Avenue store? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.