“On a crisp and clear March day, more than five years after Jobs’ death, I’m seated next to Jonathan Ive in the back of a Jeep Wrangler as we prepare to tour the nearly completed Apple Park, the name recently bestowed on the campus that Jobs pitched to the Cupertino City Council in 2011,” Steven Levy reports for Wired. “At 50, Apple’s design chieftain still looks like the rugby player he once was, and he remains, despite fame, fortune, and a knighthood, the same soft-spoken Brit I met almost 20 years ago. We are both wearing white hard hats with a silver Apple logo above the brim; Ive’s is personalized with ‘Jony’ underneath the iconic symbol… It is an active construction site on a tight deadline — the first occupants are supposedly moving in within 30 days of my visit, with 500 new employees arriving every week thereafter — and I felt a bit like one of the passengers on the first ride into Jurassic Park.”
“We drive up North Tantau Avenue, past the buildings that will house employees not fortunate enough to sit in the campus’s main headquarters, as well as the half-finished visitor’s center,” Levy reports. “We drive around campus and turn into the entrance of a tunnel that will take us to the Ring… ‘This might be a stupid question,’ I say. ‘But why do you need a four-story glass door?’ Ive raises an eyebrow. ‘Well,’ he says. ‘It depends how you define need, doesn’t it?'”
“It’s hard not to be overwhelmed by all of this,” Levy reports. “Ask me sometime about the fonts in the elevator or the hidden pipes in the bathroom commodes. And it’s hard not to return again and again to the same question: Is Apple Park the arcadia outlined by Jobs in his public farewell, or is it an anal-retentive nightmare of indulgence gone wild?”
“Apple Park is the architectural avatar of the man who envisioned it, the same man who pushed employees to produce those signature products. In the absence of his rigor and clarity, he left behind a headquarters that embodies both his autobiography and his values. The phrase that keeps coming up in talks with key Apple figures is ‘Steve’s gift,'” Levy reports. “Behind that concept is the idea that in the last months of his life, Jobs expended significant energy to create a workplace that would benefit Apple’s workers for perhaps the next century. ‘This was a hundred-year decision,’ Cook says. ‘And Steve spent the last couple of years of his life pouring himself in here at times when he clearly felt very poorly’ …The current leaders of Apple are determined not to disappoint him in what is arguably his biggest, and is certainly his last, product launch. ‘I revere him,’ Cook says. ‘And this was clearly his vision, his concept. Our biggest project ever.'”
Reams more in the full article – highly recommended – here.
MacDailyNews Take: Whatever Levy writes, especially about Apple, read it.
And, of course, as one of Steve Jobs’ babies, it’s an anal-retentive indulgence gone wild – not a nightmare; a dream. Get in there, finally, get settled, and we’ll have more of that detail-obsession on products that we get to use*, too, Apple!
*Like AirPods, which are simply sublime to use, especially with Apple Watch (and even, somewhat surprisingly, sound pretty good for earbuds, too).
Drone video shows work continues on mammoth Apple Park in May 2017 – May 4, 2017
Apple Park: New campus incomplete as Apple’s move in deadline passes – April 30, 2017