Today I’m visiting the new Apple Campus in Cupertino, California. Specifically, the Apple Park Visitor Center. The following photos were taken on an Android. This post was written on a PC.
Even though I’m no Apple fanboy, it’s hard to deny the impact Steve Jobs had on the world. This new Apple Campus was turned out to be his swan song. He would die of pancreatic cancer just four months after proposing the new site to the Cupertino City Council.
The Apple Park Visitor Center is located in what is mostly a suburban, residential neighborhood. Past the parking area is just a normal street with homes (whose values have sky-rocketed).
The visitor center, like Jobs’ plan for the main Apple building nearby, has exterior walls made entirely of glass. While the main building is a circle (all glass panes are curved) this one is shaped like an iPhone, with only the corners curved.
Planted all around the outside of the building are olive trees.
Inside Apple Park Visitor Center
Guess what – it’s an Apple Store! Buy your Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, etc. inside just as you would at the store nearest you.
But – BUT – if you’re a hardcore fanboy you’ll want to buy an Apple Park exclusive t-shirt.
Apple Park Visitor Center Exhibition Space
In the exhibition space, they’ve set up a big hunk of stainless steel representing the new Apple Park campus. This scale model is impressive and it comes with a cool tool to let you explore the park you’re not allowed to explore otherwise.
Using an iPad, you can view the campus via augmented reality (or “AR”). This allows you to use the iPad as a visual translator, using the camera in the iPad to magically change the cold block of steel into a living thing.
You can explore the levels of the main building, rip the roof off of the Steve Jobs Theater, or just watch the cars drive by or observe the digital trees sway in the digital breeze.
You can even zoom in on the Visitor Center, but I couldn’t see myself. The tech just isn’t there yet.
Apple Park Visitor Center Cafe
I was told by a gentleman that worked in the Apple Store section that the best hot chocolate ever is here in the “Caffè Macs.” He was wrong, but it was still fine hot cocoa.
The menus are all iPads, which is absurd.
You might expect (as I did) that you can order directly on the device and have your drink prepared and paid for with no human interaction. You’d be wrong. You still have to order and pay the old fashioned way. This hunk of plastic, steel, glass, and lithium-ion is just replacing a sheet of paper.
The Roof Terrace
Behind the cafe, but not in the store section you’ll find this flight of stairs which will take you to the rooftop terrace.
From here you are able to take a seat, sip your hot cocoa, and get a decent look at the circular Apple office building.
The main building is one mile in circumference and houses most of Apple’s employees. It is four stories above the ground and three stories underground. The campus supposedly cost $5 billion to finish.
The entire campus is 175 acres and is home to some 9,000 trees. The courtyard in the circular opening of the building is 35 acres. Maybe one day I’ll pose as an architecture student and get a tour of the main building. Stay tuned.
Visit the Apple Park Visitor Center
Come on down and get your branded merchandise, AR playtime, decent cocoa, and your partial views of the main building!