I’ve been working in and around the tech industry for about two decades, and I had never seen Apple’s headquarters.
I figured it was time to change that.
So the other day, after taking an early flight to San Francisco, I drove down to Cupertino.
I tweeted about this adventure as it unfolded, and lots of you asked for pictures. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t allow you to take pictures within the “mothership,” as the global headquarters is known, but there’s plenty to see on the outside.
So here we go…
(I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t excited to visit Apple, by the way. I was. This was a pilgrimage to the heart of a legendary company that continues to make history. If I hadn’t been excited, there would have been something wrong with me.)
To get to Apple's headquarters from the San Francisco airport, you drive south on Highway 280 or 101. Highway 280 is much prettier. You see lots of stuff like this.
I was curious to see whether my Google Maps apps (on an iPhone) would recognise Apple's famous address -- 'One Infinite Loop' -- or whether Google's engineers would have disappeared Apple or something. Google Maps is quite aware of the location of One Infinite Loop. And after I took a random Cupertino exit, it wasn't far away.
The local road to Apple is a hell of fast food and mass-produced junk shops. Steve Jobs would have been appalled. Halfway down it, though, you hit the town line -- 'Cupertino' -- and your excitement continues to build.
They have a parking lot for 'visitors.' It's jammed, of course, but if you wait a few minutes, you might get lucky. The parking lot is close to the main entrance to the mothership: 1 Infinite Loop.
Unless you have a source on the inside, you can't actually go in. But there's nothing to stop you from walking around. It's an 'infinite loop,' after all. No matter which way you go, you'll end up back where you started. A couple hundred yards to the east, you'll hit '2' Infinite Loop.
And so on. Each of these entrances have their own separate lobbies. And, like most famous Silicon Valley companies, they all have bike racks, as well.
In one of these Infinite Loop addresses, of course, is Jony Ive's secret lab where he cooks up all the products. Most of the first floor windows are frosted up, though, so they leave you guessing which one.
Finally, after Infinite Loop 5 (which, by the way, I'm guessing is the general area in which Mr. Ive's secret lab is hidden), we get some intrigue. There's a chain link fence with ivy growing on it. And there are some gaps in the ivy, which allow us to see through...
And behind that, there appears to be a basketball court. Perhaps Mr. Ive and co. shoot some hoops when they emerge from the lab?
... and back to Infinite Loop 1. At Infinite Loop 1, by the way, there's another treat: The Company Store. Apple employees get a discount in The Company Store. And they sell t-shirts in there that, I am told, they only sell at this store.
Those t-shirts have a simple logo on them, like this. Naturally, knowing that they're only sold here, you're going to buy one.
So that's the mothership. I'm glad I went. I'm also glad I went to the site of Apple's new 'Spaceship' campus, which is only about a mile away. I'll have photos of that one soon...
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