Apple has got so big that it's running out of space - so the company is building a new HQ building to complement its campus at One Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California. In this article, we've rounded up 52 fascinating facts about the new Apple Park campus, which is referred to by many as the 'Spaceship Campus' due to its flying-saucer-like design.
Apple has now announced that the campus is nearly finished, and revealed both its name and when employees will begin moving in. The campus is officially called Apple Park, and the first employees will begin occupying the 175-acre campus in April 2017. The company added that it will take more than six months to move 12,000 employees into the new site, and that some construction will continue over the summer even as employees move in.
Apple also announced one of the Park's most important additions: the Steve Jobs Theater. The 1,000-seat auditorium is located on a hill, one of the highest points within the Apple Park, and will no doubt be the site of the company's future product launches - something Apple promised at its 'Let us loop you in' launch event in March 2016 - where it unveiled the iPhone SE and new 9.7in iPad Pro.
"Steve's vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "The workspaces and parklands are designed to inspire our team as well as benefit the environment. We've achieved one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world and the campus will run entirely on renewable energy."
Apple Park will also include a visitors center with an Apple Store and cafe open to the public, a 100,000-square-foot fitness center for Apple employees, secure research and development facilities, and two miles of walking and running paths for employees, plus an orchard, meadow and pond within the ring of the main building.
Our UK readers will also be interested to hear that Apple is building a new HQ in London, at the Battersea Power Station. You can read more about Apple's Battersea development here.
Also, Apple watchers got excited when the company filed a patent for a mystery device that looked a bit like a small Apple TV, but it turns out it is a badge reader for the doors in the new building. Yes! Rather than rely on a security company to provide door unlocking servicies Apple has designed its own - we suppose that's the length you have to go to when protecting your intellectual property from the outside world.
Apple Park: Aerial shots and drone videos
We're fascinated by the progress of the Apple Park construction project. In this section of the article, we gather aerial shots and drone videos showing how things have developed over recent months: we start with our latest drone videos and photos and work back to the start of the work. After that, you can read our collection of 52 facts about the new complex.
Here's the most recent drone video of Apple Park. It's looking great, but construction is clearly still in process, with only a month to go until the headquarters open.
Matthew Roberts flew a drone right over the campus to show you what it looked like in January. As you'll see, the garages have been completed, and are being used by construction workers; and an estimated 70 percent of the solar panels have been installed.
This video has been labelled 'Feb 2017' but we received the link on 30 January so we're calling shenanigans on that.
Late January also saw this video, from Duncan Sinfield:
Matthew Roberts sent us another drone video earlier in January. The campus was certainly looking a lot more finished than it had done in previous months, but the weather meant that much of the landscape had been reduced to slushy, swampy mud.
In December Apple sent photos of the seemingly near-completed Campus 2 headquarters to staff, and these were inevitably leaked. The French-language website MacGeneration got hold of them.
Here are a selection of the ones we liked best; visit MacGeneration for more.
Picture credit for this and the following three images: Apple/MacGeneration
Garden landscaping has started. Apple says there will be 3,000 trees on site
The site from the air
Here are the two most recent drone videos of the site, both dated to December 2016 but actually shot right at the end of November 2016. Nearly there!
Here's the second, shot by Matthew Roberts using a DJI Phantom 3 Professional:
We return to the building site in November 2016.
See the progress over at Apple's new Campus via this next drone video, shot in September 2016.
August's drone footage showed great progress, with the building looking much closer to completion.
Below is drone footage of Apple's new campus from April 2016.
This video, shot in February 2016, showcases real progress on site and gives an idea of how vast Apple's new HQ will be.
MyithZ recently posted another to showcase just how quickly the campus is being built (in glorious 4K, of course). You really get a sense of the size of the project, and the scale of the task at hand. Select parts of the building are now recognisable, including the hidden car park.
It's fascinating to see how quickly the building work is coming along, and it seems that MyithZ seems to agree. Here's his May 2015 update on Apple's new campus:
Then, in April 2015, another video of Apple's Spaceship campus was uploaded to MyithZ's YouTube Channel in 4K:
The drone-touting YouTuber went back with his drone in February 2015, showing us how much difference a month can make at Apple's new campus.
YouTube user MyithZ flew a drone over Apple's 'spaceship' campus in January 2015. Watch the video below to see how the new campus was shaping up at the start of 2015.
Podcast: Apple's new campus
The UK Tech Weekly Podcast team discuss the new Apple Park in episode 53, starting at 16:30:
How big is Apple's new campus?
1. The new Apple Campus (which we now know is called Apple Park) will be set in a 2.8 million-square-foot area.
2. That's a 176-acre site.
3. It will house 12,000 Apple employees in one building.
4. The building is more than a mile around.
5. There will be 300,000 square feet of research facilities and underground parking.
6. In May 2014, Apple leased 290,000 square feet of new office space in Sunnyvale known as Sunnyvale Crossing. It is thought that this additional space comprises seven buildings and will provide room for around 1,450 workers. It is located near to the new Apple Park campus as well as the current 'Infinite Loop' campus.
Watch this video of Apple's presentation about the new campus to the City of Cupertino:
Read next: Top ten Apple spoof videos
New Apple Park design
7. The four-storey circular structure will have huge walls of glass to allow employees to look out from both sides of the ring.
8. Peter Arbour, an architect for Seele, the company that makes the glass staircases in Apple stores around the world, told Bloomberg: "It is something like six kilometres of glass."
9. British firm Foster+Partners are the architects of this colossal building. Previous projects include Wembley Stadium, Canary Wharf Underground Station, Stansted Airport, London's Millenium Bridge, HSBC HQ at Canary Wharf, the Maclaren Technology Centre and the Hearst Tower in New York.
10. In an interview with Architectural Record, Forster+Partners founder and chairman Norman Foster explained that he was inspired by the idea of a London square, where houses surround a park. This eventually evolved into the present design: a circular structure surrounding a large outdoor park.
11. Foster reveals in the video created to promote the Campus 2 project to the City of Cupertino's planning commission (watch it above) that in the original plans there was no circular 'spaceship' structure. Foster said: "It didn't start as a circular building, it really grew into that. So the idea of one building with a great park was really borne out of a very intensive process."
12. Despite aiming to be self-sufficient and earth-friendly, the range of materials used in the construction will without a doubt be the top of the line. "As with Apple's products, Jobs wanted no seam, gap or paintbrush stroke showing; every wall, floor and even ceiling is to be polished to a supernatural smoothness. All of the interior wood was to be harvested from a specific species of maple, and only fine quality 'heartwood' at the centre of the trees would be used," an insider told Business Week.
13. As a consequence of the large size of the building, the sections have been broken up with cafes, lobbies and entrances.
14. In the interview linked above, Foster explains that, when planning the layout of the building, the architects had to consider the different departments that would need to work together, and considered vertical proximities as well as horizontal ones.
"Of course, you have got an enormous range of skills in this building: from software programmers to designers, marketing, retail," he said. "But you can move vertically in the building as well as horizontally. The proximity, the adjacencies are very, very carefully considered."
15. Since Jony Ive's promotion to Chief Design Officer, there has been speculation that he'll be designing elements of Apple's new campus, including desks and chairs to be used by employees.
16. A significant segment of the building is the restaurant, which opens up to the landscape.
17. The car park is buried below the landscape so there are no rows of parked cars to spoil the view.
18. A video made by Technology Integration Services was created based on publicly available information about Apple Park; the company has no affiliation with Apple. The video depicts additional buildings along with the main 'spaceship' building and gives an indication of how vast the greenery will be in the area. A fountain can be seen in the middle of the campus along with a performance stage, presumably for presentations to Apple employees. Watch the video here.
19. This picture shows the Apple Park site when it was being prepped for foundation work with the first walls having been erected, running around the perimeter of where the main building will stand. This is where construction crews poured the foundation.
20. Phase two of the project, includes the creation of research & development buildings and other secondary buildings for meetings and presentations, requires demolition to clear land along N. Tantau Avenue then took place. Current residents, Panasonic, are based opposite the site. Panasonic's response to Apple's new headquarters is not known although tensions could run high between the neighbouring businesses should Apple ever branch out into the TV market.
21. Building contractors Skanska and DPR were fired from the Campus 2 project in early 2015 and was replaced by Rudolph and Sletten & Holder Construction.
22. The termination of the contract meant Skanska lost out on around $800 million in revenue.
23. Prior to the Apple's issues with Skanska and DPR, Rudolph and Sletten worked on the interior of the campus and Holder Construction was handling the electrical, mechanical and plumbing infrastructure of the building.
How much input did Steve Jobs have in the new campus?
24. According to Norman Foster, Apple's late CEO Steve Jobs requested that he be considered a part of the team rather than the client.
25. Jobs wanted the new campus to reflect the Californian landscapes from his childhood, Foster claims in the video.
26. Apple's 'senior arborist', David Muffly, reveals in the video that part of Apple's plan was to bring California back to Cupertino.
27. Steve Jobs was inspired by a large space known as the Main Quad on the Stanford campus.
When will Apple's new campus be ready?
At Apple's 21 March 2016 press event, Tim Cook said: "This is probably the last product introduction in the town hall that you're sitting in today... Next year, in 2017, we're looking forward to moving to our new campus and our new theatre there. We expect we're going to have many, many opportunities to invite all of you to join us there."
In February Apple issued a press release confiming that it is intending to move into the new campus during April. However, Apple said that the process of moving more than 12,000 people will take over six months, and construction of the buildings and parklands is scheduled to continue through the summer.
It was widely believed that Apple would hold it's traditional product-announcing spring event in April, as a way to inaugurate Apple Park. The spring event has been in March for the past two years, but the 2017 get-together was expected to be pushed back to April so as to coincide with Apple Park's opening.
However, the fact that Apple refreshed its product lineup in mid-March 2017, announcing a new iPad, (Product)Red iPhone 7, and a few other tweaks, has cast some doubt on this theory. It means we're no longer sure if Apple will be holding a 2017 spring event after all - though if it does, it's now even more likely it would be in April, and held at Apple Park in the Steve Jobs Theatre there.
How environmentally friendly will Apple Park be?
29. The new Apple Campus will aim at being self-sufficient. Most of the power for the facilities will come from an "on-site low carbon Central Plant", according to an Apple Insider report. Apple intends to use alternative energy sources to power the campus, as part of its pledge to use 100 percent renewable energy at its facilities.
30. After revisions to the original plan, Apple showed that will be able to complete the project without having to remove any dirt from the area.
31. The structure will be outfitted with solar panels around the top of the building. It will run mostly off the Cupertino power grid but will use it as a backup electrical supply.
32. 7,000 trees will surround the campus. Apple has hired a leading arborist from Stanford University to help landscape the area and restore some of the indigenous plant life, including apricot orchards.
33. All landscaping is intended to make the area look very park-like. It will include jogging paths and walking trails around the building.
34. The former HP campus on which Apple's Campus 2 is being built was covered in buildings, concrete parking lots and non-indigenous decorative trees ill-suited to the specific Pacific climate. The strongest of the trees will be replanted and augmented with sturdy species that will flourish to create large open expanses of greenery.
35. Apple VP of Environmental Initiatives Lisa Jackson reiterates that 80 percent of the site will be so-called "green space" while the main building will go without air conditioning or heating for 75 percent of the year thanks to natural ventilation. Further, 100 percent of the campus' energy will be sourced from renewable assets like solar power and bio fuels.
36. Foster compared the new Apple campus to an airport, telling Architectural Review: "If you compare these very large buildings in terms of the area enclosed by the amount of external wall, they're very efficient, so they consume less energy. They're also a better experience because you're not leaving one terminal, going outside, onto a road, or into a tunnel, or onto a train to get to another terminal. You're not worrying about what the hell is happening to your bags as they leave one place and you hope that they end up in the other place.
"Overall, it's a better experience - it's more sustainable, it's more economic. And, architecturally, it's more interesting. The same is true with the very large Apple building."
37. The new campus will reportedly use recycled water and will use 13,300 feet of pipeline to share the supply between it and Cupertino.
How much will Apple Park cost?
38. It was originally estimated that the campus would cost half a billion dollars; the land alone cost $160 million. But (as is generally the case with large building projects), costs have overrun. The budget for the new spaceship-like headquarters ballooned to a little under $3 billion in 2011 and almost $5 billion by 2013, although at this point it was reported that Apple was looking at ways to trim this by a billion.
39. Apple is known for its exacting demands when it comes to design, materials and so on, but the spiralling costs of this project haven't met with universal acclaim. Back in 2013, for instance, it was reported that angry shareholders were attacking the project - labelling it as wildly extravagant and complaining that too much was being spent on this vast project while nothing is being handed back to stockholders.
40. But Apple can probably afford it. A final spend of $5bn is a huge outlay but would still represent only about 2.3 percent percent of Apple's gargantuan cash reserves - $215bn in January 2016.
What facilities will there be at Apple Park?
41. The main building will include a 'wellness centre'. This $75m fitness centre will probably cater for the needs of the entire Apple community in Silicon Valley, which is around 20,000 people.
42. The headquarters will be fitted with a new 1,000-seat underground auditorium named the Steve Jobs Theater, after Apple's late co-founder, which will allow Apple to host presentations onsite, rather than going to San Francisco or San Jose.
43. The new underground parking facilities will increase the number of spaces from 10,500 to 14,200.
44. Due to its underground location, this will triple the amount of landscaped area in the campus.
45. Despite rumours and an unsuccessful campaign by David Greelish, Apple will not open a museum at the new HQ. As Phil Schiller explained, Apple is "focused on inventing the future, not celebrating the past".
46. There will be two miles of jogging and cycling trails.
47. 1,000 bikes will be kept on the site and available to staff to get around the campus.
48. A new Caffè Macs employee cafeteria has recently opened at Apple's Cupertino campus. Designed solely for Apple employee use, the general public is not allowed entry to the building, having been designed as an area for Apple employees to discuss work in a secure and private area. The cafeteria, built over two years and in a 21,468 square foot space, has been designed by Foster + Partners, the same agency responsible for Campus 2.
The building's kitchen, server and espresso bar have been billed as smaller versions of the ones that will feature at Campus 2, enabling the food service team to test the design and layout of the kitchen and serving areas on a smaller scale. The cafeteria at Apple Campus 2 is expected to be eight times larger and span two floors.
The structure of Caffè Macs Alves is reminiscent of design plans for the new campus, containing high ceilings, stonewalls, glass façade and terrazzo floors, all of which are design signatures of Apple Campus 2.
49. There will reportedly be custom-designed 18-foot tables by a Dutch company called Arco for Apple employees to take advantage of in open work spaces to discourage an office-like atmosphere. There will be 500 tables, and if put end to end would roughly be the length of the National Mall in Washington, DC.
50. Apple takes security very seriously, it has a lot of ideas and new products it goes to great lengths to protect. Therefore it is not surprising that in planning documents first filed back in 2013 Apple stated that its goal with the new campus was to: "Achieve the security and privacy required for the invention of new products by eliminating any public access through the site, and protecting the perimeters against trespassers."
Apple really does take this seriously! In an email exchange with city staff back in October 2013, an Apple executive actually haggled over the location of a single tree because: "if we move the tree an additional 5 feet in, the tree becomes a security issue for us. People will be able to potentially climb the tree and hop the fence," accordign to an LA Times report.
With the new campus Apple is attempting to cut off access as much as possible to the public - and it is likely that members of staff will not have access to all areas of the new building.
The company has actually designed its own smart door lock for the campus - Apple actually applied to the FFC for a patent for its device with model number A1844 to the FCC last autumn.
Doors will be opened with an employee badge.
What will happen to the old Infinite Loop Apple HQ?
51. Even with this new colossal project opening in 2017, Apple has no plans to destroy its existing headquarters building located at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino.
What used to be on the site?
52. It is located on the former Hewlett Packard campus.
53. The local area of Cupertino has missed revenues from Hewlett-Packard since they left the site however the construction of Apple Campus 2 has lead to the City Council's budget being boosted by an extra $30.6 million. $8 million of the extra revenue will be used to pay off the city retiree medical unfunded liability, with another $8.3 million being used to fund pavement maintenance. The remaining extra funding will be transferred to the city's capital reserve.
Apple's new HQ in London
In September 2016, it was announced that Apple will also be opening a new HQ in London, at Battersea Power Station - an iconic building in London. This building was the cover for Pink Floyd's 1977 album named 'Animals' and led to its stardom. The building is 500,000-square-foot and can be considered one of the biggest office locations in London. Apple plans to move its 1,400 staff in the UK to the new Apple campus, after its £14/$17 billion investment. It's set to open in 2021.
In October 2016, Business Insider UK shared a developer video showcasing a sneak preview of what Apple's new London HQ would look like. The screen grab below shows just how big the development will be and how the iconic London landmark will be revamped. We're excited to see more developments on the London HQ - we will be sure to update this article with any new additions.