We visited Apple Park, the ultra-modern headquarters of Apple

Monday was the opening speech for Apple’s annual WWDC Developer Conference. Frandroid was in Apple Park for the occasion and we were able to take a (short) tour of the owner. Guided visit.

The central building aka the ring or the donut // Source: FRANDROID – Melinda DAVAN-SOULAS

It’s a rare enough event to underline. During WWDC 2022, for the return of Apple’s public conferences, the California brand allowed journalists, developers, and other event guests to tour Apple Park (in a somewhat framed fashion). For the first time in several visits, we are able to photograph and photograph places to show you. Follow the guide!

70 hectares and 4 years of work

Apple Park is an impressive place. Wanted by Steve Jobs, who had understood that his Infinite Loop campus would quickly be too narrow for the ambitions he intended for his company, the 70-hectare site in the heart of Cupertino (southeast of San Francisco) is meant to be a small getaway. Peace in the heart of Silicon Valley, a stone’s throw from the ancient site.

A site that nonetheless cost a paltry $5 billion for the company that, for its construction, bought HP’s campus, the place where Steve Jobs did his first training and one of Silicon Valley’s most iconic sites, and adjacent lands in complete secrecy in 2010.

It will take four years of work before the official launch in 2017, during the coronation of the iPhone X, that is, which lasted 10 years. Designed by Foster + Partners, this green environment revolves around the Ring, the massive central building that houses offices, laboratories, and everything that makes up Apple’s creative exuberance.

Apple park solar panels
Aerial view of the Ring of Apple Park and its multiple solar panels // Source: Daniel L. Lu

What catches the eye upon entering is the extent of greenery in Apple Park. More than 9,000 apricot trees were planted there in honor of Steve Jobs’ childhood and the desire to keep nature visible in every corner of the garden. Environment, definitely a major topic at Apple.

By designing the project, Steve Jobs wanted buildings to be covered with solar panels, in order for a water recycling and purification system to be considered and introduced. In addition, no vehicle can swarm the site. They should all stay in the huge reception car park (about 10,000 places). The rest can be done by bike (available everywhere) or by electric cart.

Nature in the heart of Apple Park

On the occasion of the WWDC 2022 Developers Conference, we were able to enter the central ship, this ring, also nicknamed the “Doughnut” due to its circular shape and the park located in its center. By means of an external staircase of white stone we reach the entrance to the central building.

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The ring’s multiple glass floors allow the light to shine through everywhere in the bays and halls. We understand that Tim Cook and his family love shooting videos there that are now used as keynotes. Everything is elegant, and Apple pays the same attention to design on its products as it does between its walls. A huge, unparalleled canteen occupies a large part of the ground floor. With this on Monday, we’ll get to the keynote space, a kind of open-air cinema with developer loungers and a giant screen (but there are still comfortable wooden benches at the back for reporters and guests).

In the middle of the lawn, we can see the famous rainbow erected to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Steve Jobs’ death in 2021 and also opened in the presence of Lady Gaga. We will only see it from afar. apple park rainbow ringA rainbow installed to mark the 10th anniversary of Steve Jobs’ death in 2021 // Source: FRANDROID – Melinda DAVAN-SOULAS

If keyword videos have become accustomed to showing an arc in flight, today’s visitors grabbing the lawn has left it at a distance and in the free access of the 11,000 or so employees of the Apple brand that the site welcomed before Covid daily. Head-to-head combat resumed seamlessly at Apple…

Apple Park WWDC Outer
Apple Park is more crowded than usual at WWDC 22 // Source: FRANDROID – Melinda DAVAN-SOULAS

Steve Jobs Theater, Marble Tribute

Leaving the ring, we take the direction of the Steve Jobs Theater, the place of all the last keynotes outside of WWDC before Covid. A secluded building perched on top of a small hill that sparkles with its architecture with luxurious finishes. A very spacious space welcomes today’s visitor, under a carbon fiber roof reminiscent of a flying saucer. The elevator, the peculiarity of which is to turn itself on while going down towards the meeting room, is in a corner.

Apple Park Steve Jobs Theater
Steve Jobs Theater // Source: FRANDROID – Melinda DAVAN-SOULAS

As if you were going up to the arena or onto the visitor center balcony, the staircase (here in marble) is steeped in matching white walls and all designed in the same piece, even the walls concealing rare doors neatly leading into far distances from prying eyes.

The hall bears the name of the former president of Apple. We won’t be greeted that day and we won’t have a chance to sit in the big wood and leather benches that would cost a few thousand dollars each. But know that they are especially elegant and comfortable. Visiting the site was not serious, it was an opportunity for the new master of Apple Park to intercept for a photo.

We are not feeling well there Tweet embed ? #WWDC22 pic.twitter.com/Np2SNDTC7S

– Melinda Davan Solas (@Melinda_DS) 6 June 2022

If we’re lucky enough to be able to tour (relatively) Apple Park, it’s a rare privilege. For the simply curious, visitation is generally limited to the spacious visitor center located across from Main Street. The impressive glass building houses an Apple Store with a few exclusive items (including T-shirts), Caffé Macs, and a balcony with a 180-degree view of Apple Park.

Apple Store Visitor Center
Apple Store in the Visitor Center // Source: FRANDROID – Melinda DAVAN-SOULAS
Apple Garden Visitor Center Model
Apple Park // Source: FRANDROID – Melinda DAVAN-SOULAS

A huge model occupies a space on the ground floor. Armed with an iPad, it allows an augmented reality tour of all the buildings on the site, from the parking lot to the massive fitness room (10,000 square meters and zen-inspired Italian stone and wood), across sports (multiple football and basketball pitches) or even Steve’s Theatre. Jobs whose courage you can see. An experience worth seeing.

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Our Apple Park tour ends under the olive trees that decorate the plaza in front of the visitor center, shaded by the California sun that lit up the first day of WWDC 2022.

Apple Garden Visitor Center, Outdoor Olive Trees
Source: FRANDROID – Melinda DAVAN-SOULAS

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