As I’ve said before, Silicon Valley is a magical land full of history and plenty of places to explore. And Apple is a key component of that landscape.
Basically, it was incredible. The minute we parked, Steve Jobs walked out of the building, shook my hand, and offered me little gingerbread cookies that were in the shape of apples. Then we rode a hovercar around the campus as Steve gave us a personal tour! And afterwards, all three of us got MacBook Airs as parting gifts.
Yep, that all happened… in my dreams.
While we didn’t actually meet anyone famous, it was still fun to see the campus that is the source of so much innovation (and now the most valuable company in the US).
As with Google, you aren’t going to get a tour unless you personally know someone who works there. However, even if you’re like me and don’t know anyone there, you can still check out the Apple Corporate Store which is right on campus.
Stuff You can’t get Anywhere Else…
What’s great about the Corporate Store is that it offers a lot of stuff that no Apple Store has. And let’s be clear. This NOT and Apple Store. It’s the Corporate Store. There are important differences. Namely, it has A LOT of Apple-branded stuff, including shirts, pens, water bottles, and strange things you’d never even guess. I think I even remember seeing branded crayons and a puzzle.
And since Apple doesn’t sell any clothing in its normal Apple Stores, it was funny to see Apple branded shirts alongside MacBooks in the Corporate store.
Surprisingly, while the store was a bit smaller than the Apple Stores, they still found the space for a row of strange boxes arranged in shelves like books. What could these be? Ah yes! These were holdovers from the time when people used to etch software onto plastic discs and safely seal them in cardboard boxes so that people could buy them, take them home, and put the plastic disk inside the computer.
I know what you’re thinking. “How barbarian!” And you would be right, but this is how it was done in 2009. Those of us nowadays know better though, don’t we? After all, why would we even waste time with discs when everything is available digitally? Plus, it’s a heck of a lot more environmentally friendly to go completely electronic.
By now, the Austrians were starting to get restless. They appreciated the historical value of where we were, but I don’t think they were Apple geeks like I am. And eventually I decided on getting a small blue pen with an Apple logo on it to commemorate my visit. Who knows, perhaps next time I would be visiting a very different Apple Campus than the one I saw on that day.
After buying the pen, there was one more photo that I had to take: the Infinite Loop sign itself. The street is perfectly named since it encircles Apple Campus, and it’s already gained notoriety (including becoming a nickname for the Apple Campus itself), so I was pleased that I had the chance to photograph it for myself.
Conclusion & Looking Forward
To put it in a nutshell, you’re probably only going to enjoy visiting Apple’s Campus if you’re actually interested in the company or the history behind it. This is definitely not an “attraction” like Intel’s museum; and, like Google, this is a living, breathing public company that does not give tours, nor should you expect it to. However, if you have some time in your Silicon Valley exploration (you’re a fan of the company’s products or history, as I am) I recommend stopping by. It’s the best place to get Apple branded everything, and as with all Apple Stores you’re free to use the Macs to browse the web.
And it’s only poised to get better. By 2015 the disc-shaped Apple Campus 2 should be complete and will no doubt be a billion times more photogenic and marvelous to visit. Seriously, have you seen the concept art for the building? It’s going to be a California landmark.
I just hope they let members of the public visit the park in the center of the disc-shaped structure, because I have a feeling it will be a breathtaking place.
— Bonus —
Just like with every travel photo I’ve released since December 2010, Marco the Spacefarer followed me that day and therefore appears in all 10 photos in the photo gallery that accompanies this article. Can you find him in all 10?
The “Where’s Marco” game is like Where’s Waldo or “I Spy”, but more challenging. If you’re new to “Where’s Marco”, learn how to play →
And remember to:
Explore the Apple Campus photo gallery →
Next: We meet the most Incredible (& absurd) Machines Ever.
We conclude our explorations of Silicon Valley with an visit to the world-renowned Computer History Museum. With over 90,000 objects, photographs, and films in its field, this museum has no equal. In our explorations, we discovered a behemoth of a machine (which was the most amazing mechanical device I’ve ever seen), the iPhone’s “Grandfather”, and the most absurd $10,000 Christmas gift you could ever imagine: