Tuesday wasn’t just the launch ofIt was also the first time Apple welcomed journalists to its gigantic, 175-acre Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California.
Apple Park is home to several buildings, most prominently a 2.8-million square-foot ring unofficially known as the Spaceship, which boasts four-story curved glass panels, custom aluminum doorhandles, and one of the largest roof-mounted solar farms in the world. It’s the new home for more than 12,000 Apple employees, a sizeable chunk of Apple’s Cupertino workforce.
Building this campus was one of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ dying wishes, and there’s video proof: An ailing Jobs went before the Cupertino City Council just months before his death. (They approved it, unanimously, two years later.)
Built on a concrete office park formerly owned by Hewlett-Packard, Apple Park sits on 175 acres in the heart of Silicon Valley, just a few minutes’ drive from Apple’s previous headquarters at One Infinite Loop. The spaceship wasn’t finished, so we weren’t allowed inside. Apple employees won’t start moving in until the end of the year.
Instead, we visited two other buildings on campus – the new Apple Park Visitor Center, which houses its own Apple retail store (which Apple are now calling “Town Squares”), and of course, the 1,000-seat Steve Jobs Theater where the company held its iPhone presentation.
In addition to the store, the Visitor Center hosts Apple’s first-ever public cafe, plus an exhibit space currently being used to…