Amazing Window Display for iPhone 5c

In September 2013 Apple introduced the iPhone 5c in various bright colors, and also debuted a window display to highlight the design. Arguably, the display is the most complicated yet attempted by Apple’s visuals team.

The display consisted of a series of one-inch plastic balls strung on nylon string to create a three-dimensional rectangle, composed of 9 rows x 18 rows x 9 rows. There are five rectangles corresponding to the iPhone 5c colors red, yellow, white, blue and green. Each store display is composed of 7,290 balls. Based on an estimated 350 stores with window displays, there are a total of 2,551,500 balls.

The impact of the window display was based on the precision placement of the balls, allowing them to align with one another from all four perpendicular directions, but also from every possible angle. Likewise, the design was based on the available materials, the ability to visually align the balls, and ability to create at least 300 sets of the displays for the stores that have space for window displays—some high-profile stores don’t have displays, and some mall stores have an entirely open entrance without display spaces. Lastly, the designers also had to take into consideration that the displays had to be shipped to the various stores undamaged, where they would be assembled by the visuals team following a set of printed directions.

The displays were obviously hand-assembled, an enormously time-consuming process aided by precision machinery, and likely performed outside the United States.

The window display highlights the bright colors of the new iPhone 5c. Each block of colored balls has a corresponding color iPhone 5c on a stand in front of it. Each color block consists of nine rows across, 18 rows high, and nine rows deep (1,458), and there are five blocks (7,290 total). The iPhone 5s window display is visible to the right, and conforms to the same design, but with a single block of silver-gray color balls..

A closer view of the disply shows the iPhone 5c handsets set on pole stands in front of the balls.

At the top of the photo you can see the acrylic plate from which the nylon strings are attached, and which support the display. The precision assembly of the display is obvious here—the balls line up with one another very closely. Depending upon how the display was assembled, the different blocks may or may not be perfectly aligned (see below).

In this photo, it appears that one line of the white balls is mis-aligned (third from the left), and the yellow rows are a little wavy. Otherwise, the alignment is excellent.

This view shows how the rows are visible not only from right angles to the display, but also at other angles.

The nylon sting is visible in this photo. It’s not clear what keeps the balls aligned (knots, plugs, etc.) and how it is so precise.

This view is from within the store looking out the window, demonstrating the variations in color due to brightness.

The top and bottom of the display is held by acrylic sheet that serves as the attachment points for the nylon string that holds the balls.