Apple's biggest introduction on Tuesday: Apple Park

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2017
Next Tuesday, Apple is expected to unveil its largest array of new product introductions ever, ranging from iPhone 8-- and a premium new iPhone X-- to a new 4K/HDR Apple TV, new Apple Watch Series 3, revamped AirPods and the company's new HomePod appliance-- as well as its new Apple Park campus. Here's why it all matters-- starting with the location.


Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park during construction in June 2017

Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park

Certainly the "largest" new unveiling of the event will be Apple's new Campus 2, now officially branded as Apple Park-- a sprawling green campus centered around a futuristic "infinite loop" Ring and surrounded by satellite Phase 2 buildings that are both beautiful and minimalistically functional for research and design over the coming decades.

If Apple has been a force to be reckoned with while it operates out of a drab headquarters straight out of the dystopian suburbia of Office Space, a complex and its surrounding sprawl that's been overutilized through the last decade of Apple's intense growth and was originally built back in the mid 1990s-- back when Apple Computer built a few million Macs per year and struggled to license its reference designs for handheld Newton MessagePad tablets that nobody wanted-- imagine what will come out of these modern new facilities designed to inspire creativity and integration among teams.

The Apple Park name is an apparent homage to PARC, Silicon Valley's Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, where a variety of advanced computing ideas originated in the 1970s before being turned into real products by Apple (the original Mac), Adobe (PostScript), Cisco (Ethernet), Microsoft (Word) and many others.

Apple's current style of R&D is far more immediate and practical than the academic experimentation of Xerox PARC, or for that matter the former Advanced Technology Group that Apple itself ran into the late 90s, or Microsoft Research or Google X or other labs that invent technology that rarely escapes to see any practical implementation in the real world.

A Theater named for the Showman


Tuesday's event is specifically being held within the subterranean Steve Jobs Theater, pictured below while it was still an excavated hole two years ago, back in the summer of 2015.




The new venue is named in recognition of the man who not only co-founded Apple, but led the development and commercialization of PARC technologies that became the Macintosh in 1984; built the team that created the futuristic NeXT platform in the 1990s that became the basis of macOS X and iOS in the 2000s; resuscitated the culture of Apple with blockbuster, industry-shifting products ranging from iMac to iPod to iPhone and iPad, as well as ambitious software projects ranging from Pro Apps to iCloud; and presented plans for the new campus at his last public appearance prior to his passing in 2011.

What we already know about the Steve Jobs Theater is that it is meticulously designed to detail and demonstrate new technology product introductions-- not just these being shown next week for 2017, but for decades into the future. It's a major capital investment in Apple's theatrical Event model that has worked to introduce a string of hits for the company over the last twenty years.


Much fanfare at a non-successful product launch, not at an Apple Event


Rather than renting an arena or a trade show booth and throwing up massive banners shouting about how innovative their new catalog of SKUs or licensing initiatives are-- in the model of Samsung, Microsoft or HP-- or simply throwing a symposium party in a nearby outdoor venue like Google IO, Apple's Steve Jobs Theater is designed to perpetuate the cyclical model of new dramatic technology introductions in the form of real, desirable products available for immediate sale.

And, presumably, Apple will also be able to use the theater across the rest of the year to welcome shareholders and train employees in the model of Apple University.

Apple Park as a currency of competence

One more thing about the new Apple Park: its purported $5 billion price tag is roughly the same size as the conflagration caused by Samsung rushing a defective product to market last fall, mishandling its safety recall, and then burning down a series of related strategic plans and partnerships, including the Facebook/Oculus deal for Gear VR that tied to the Galaxy Note 7 bonfire.

Apple Park is not only a monument to the meticulous competency of Apple as a company, but also serves as a reminder of the massive destructions and waste of capital at the hands of Samsung and other rivals of Apple's iOS.

Using Apple Park as a $5 billion currency of competence, we can debit Google with three negative Apple Parks worth of incompetence and lost opportunity just for its failed acquisitions of Motorola and Nest; chalk up another three negative Apple Parks in Microsoft's bungled acquisitions of aQuantive and Nokia, write off almost 30 negative Apple Parks for BlackBerry's collapse from its peak 2008 valuation, and something around negative 48 Apple Parks worth of Nokia's collapse since iPhone was unveiled.

On the other hand, Apple itself now sits on 30 Apple Park's worth of liquid capital (subtracting its debt holdings), and the company brings in enough cash flow to fund another two Apple Parks about every three months.


Inside Steve Jobs Theater during construction


So far, we've gotten regular looks at Apple Park and the Steve Jobs Theater via drone flyovers and tweeted photos, just as we've always seen leaks of case design photos, screen shots of upcoming iOS features and leaks of codenames and product packaging.

Many of the leaks are already known facts or strongly speculated well in advance based on Apple's previous acquisitions and investments. All the same, every Apple Event also carries new surprises and details that were kept tight secrets, and this Tuesday should reveal plenty new things about known products and initiatives, including the brand-new venue itself. The next segment looks at iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47
    Great backgrounder mentioning PARC, and, the notion of "Apple Park currency" is novel.

    It's good to get this out ahead of something that goes back years in the business press,
    mention of the "edifice complex".  In days of yore, whenever some new corporate
    headquarters was showcased on a magazine cover, it was seen as a certain symbol
    of that company's consequent decline, since the supposed pinnacle of said company's chutzpah
    was reached, and it became all downhill from there.   But, as you suggest, this is only one
    Apple Park "unit" of many.
    edited September 2017 watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 47
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,566member
    Curious about the invitation to the event. Does it include a map and instructions on how to find the theater? Parking info? Watching the drone footage it seems to me that first time visitors, particularly those in cars, might experience a bit of confusion.
  • Reply 3 of 47
    imagine what will come out of these modern new facilities designed to inspire creativity and integration among teams.
    HR problems https://youtu.be/uapj4p8VSaE

    Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, where a variety of advanced computing ideas originated in the 1970s before being turned into real products by Apple...
    OMG! You mean we paid $50,000 for a Xerox Star workstation, laser printer and XNS/ITP network that weren't real products? https://youtu.be/jXtj6yWsl1g


    jasenj1
  • Reply 4 of 47
    welshdog said:
    Curious about the invitation to the event. Does it include a map and instructions on how to find the theater? Parking info? Watching the drone footage it seems to me that first time visitors, particularly those in cars, might experience a bit of confusion.
    I use the "what3words.com" system to describe to friends exactly (to within 3 meters) where and how to reach the front door of my very rural abode in France.

    (On a sarcastic note for that other crowd... Apple sheeple will no doubt blindly follow one another to the infinite loop and thereafter...)
    willcropoint
  • Reply 5 of 47
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,375moderator
    "And, presumably, Apple will also be able to use the theater across the rest of the year to welcome shareholders and train employees in the model of Apple University."

    Not to mention as a venue for internal premiers of Apple original video content.  The TV execs Apple is hiring will surely enjoy having access to this venue. 
    edited September 2017 RacerhomieX
  • Reply 6 of 47
    imagine what will come out of these modern new facilities designed to inspire creativity and integration among teams.
    HR problems https://youtu.be/uapj4p8VSaE

    Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, where a variety of advanced computing ideas originated in the 1970s before being turned into real products by Apple...
    OMG! You mean we paid $50,000 for a Xerox Star workstation, laser printer and XNS/ITP network that weren't real products? https://youtu.be/jXtj6yWsl1g


    It is true that Xerox introduced a series of "office automation" products, such as Star workstation, laser printer and Ethernet network.  I am very lucky I was one of the first users in Japan when this system was introduced to the institute I was with.  I still remember that the Ethernet network number was 1 (the first user in Japan).

    It was 1983, a couple years before the Macintosh was introduced to the Japanese market.

    The Xerox system (called JStar in Japan) was extremely capable and easy to use.  But, unfortunately, the introduction cost was enormous and never became a mainstream, which was very sad.

    When the Microsoft Word for Macintosh came out several years later, I thought it was a partial copy of the Xerox Star system.

    revenantpropod
  • Reply 7 of 47
    RacerhomieXRacerhomieX Posts: 95unconfirmed, member
    Beautiful Article. Samsung's CEO is rolling in his Jail cell right about now
    eightzeroSnickersMagoowatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 47
    imagine what will come out of these modern new facilities designed to inspire creativity and integration among teams.
    HR problems https://youtu.be/uapj4p8VSaE

    Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, where a variety of advanced computing ideas originated in the 1970s before being turned into real products by Apple...
    OMG! You mean we paid $50,000 for a Xerox Star workstation, laser printer and XNS/ITP network that weren't real products? https://youtu.be/jXtj6yWsl1g
    Commercial failures with barely any numbers or customers. As Apple is a consumer electronics company I think it’s safe to qualify real products as those with consumer appeal, its PCs were personal computers for consumers, not $50,000 workstations. 

    Before we we go too far down the rabbit hole, it’s worth taking the time to read this essay by Bruce Horn, former Macintosh system designer and a Xerox man before that. One of the guys “in the room” as it were. 

    https://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?story=On_Xerox,_Apple_and_Progress.txt

    ...so many other good essays on Folklore by other principal players, great site. 
    edited September 2017 pscooter63watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 9 of 47
    imagine what will come out of these modern new facilities designed to inspire creativity and integration among teams.
    HR problems https://youtu.be/uapj4p8VSaE

    Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, where a variety of advanced computing ideas originated in the 1970s before being turned into real products by Apple...
    OMG! You mean we paid $50,000 for a Xerox Star workstation, laser printer and XNS/ITP network that weren't real products? https://youtu.be/jXtj6yWsl1g


    You don't seem to be really interested in the history of the personal computer :lol: 

    There are a few talks by Alan Kay on YouTube, they are quite revealing.

    In short, all ideas that are nowadays ascribed to Xerox were already in the works years before Xerox PARC was even established (1970). The team that joined explicitly required a clause in the contracts ensuring that the first 5 years they will work on their own projects, not ones given by the management, or whoever. And, I will quote Alan Kay here, "thank God that we put those clauses, because there were people in Xerox PARC who thought they also have ideas!"

    Before crediting Xerox PARC for hiring those people, listen to the talks by Alan Kay, you might reconsider if it was insightful hiring or just dumb luck and political events. Most of those people were already working on projects for DARPA and NASA in the 
    Augmentation Research Center (ARC). But funding was intentionally cut.
  • Reply 10 of 47
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,376member
    DED simply can’t write a positive article about Apple without saying something nasty about its competitors. Also, I wonder if Apple Park isn’t simply named that because most of it is a PARK, with grass, bushes, trees, and paths for walking and bicycle riding, just like a - park.
    2old4fungatorguy
  • Reply 11 of 47
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,376member
    nakai_s said:
    imagine what will come out of these modern new facilities designed to inspire creativity and integration among teams.
    HR problems https://youtu.be/uapj4p8VSaE

    Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, where a variety of advanced computing ideas originated in the 1970s before being turned into real products by Apple...
    OMG! You mean we paid $50,000 for a Xerox Star workstation, laser printer and XNS/ITP network that weren't real products? https://youtu.be/jXtj6yWsl1g


    It is true that Xerox introduced a series of "office automation" products, such as Star workstation, laser printer and Ethernet network.  I am very lucky I was one of the first users in Japan when this system was introduced to the institute I was with.  I still remember that the Ethernet network number was 1 (the first user in Japan).

    It was 1983, a couple years before the Macintosh was introduced to the Japanese market.

    The Xerox system (called JStar in Japan) was extremely capable and easy to use.  But, unfortunately, the introduction cost was enormous and never became a mainstream, which was very sad.

    When the Microsoft Word for Macintosh came out several years later, I thought it was a partial copy of the Xerox Star system.

    The failure of that system drove Xerox out of the original computer market. Later they came back with me too PCs which were known for high quality, but nothing original.
  • Reply 12 of 47
    Another well crafted, well written article. I enjoyed this. Keep up the good work.
    fotoformatmacky the mackywatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 13 of 47
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,337member
    melgross said:
    Also, I wonder if Apple Park isn’t simply named that because most of it is a PARK, with grass, bushes, trees, and paths for walking and bicycle riding, just like a - park.
    There are many definitions of park, bu the simplest is common one that uses an adjective or noun modifier, like industrial park, for an area devoted to a specified purpose. This is Apple Park, which means it's an area devoted to Apple.
    iqatedowatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 14 of 47
    Looking forward to seeing what type of display or projection system they're going to have installed. Seeing as they've mentioned in the past their display wasn't good enough to show the true quality of photos/videos taken with an iPhone or the abilities of the displays on the devices themselves. Or even a full 5K still from a Retina iMac.
    Scot1welshdogwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 15 of 47
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,600member
    melgross said:
    DED simply can’t write a positive article about Apple without saying something nasty about its competitors. 
    Validation comes to mind. No need for it but that's how some seem to quantify worth. Not claiming that's DED's reason as only he knows why. 
    edited September 2017
  • Reply 16 of 47
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,665member
    The copycats from the Windows world and Android world like to use the argument that Steve Jobs did not innovate anything. Instead he stole innovations from others. So they copycat Apple products is legitimate. The facts is Microsoft Windows copied all the features from Mac OS and Android copied all the features of iOS. The innovations are in the details. For example, the Star workstation can not overlap the windows. This feature is built into Mac OS from beginning. This is innovation. 
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 17 of 47
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,600member
    tzeshan said:
    The copycats from the Windows world and Android world like to use the argument that Steve Jobs did not innovate anything. Instead he stole innovations from others. So they copycat Apple products is legitimate. The facts is Microsoft Windows copied all the features from Mac OS and Android copied all the features of iOS. The innovations are in the details. For example, the Star workstation can not overlap the windows. This feature is built into Mac OS from beginning. This is innovation. 
    Seems more of a red-herring argument as I don't recall anyone of note claiming Steve Jobs didn't innovate ANYTHING. Like every other big tech Apple is sometimes the innovator and other times they simply improve on someone else's innovation.  None of the companies, Apple included, develops all their tech in a cleanroom, and all benefit from the inventiveness of others. 
    jony0
  • Reply 18 of 47
    welshdog said:
    Curious about the invitation to the event. Does it include a map and instructions on how to find the theater? Parking info? Watching the drone footage it seems to me that first time visitors, particularly those in cars, might experience a bit of confusion.
    Do not worry - they only need a street name - which is Tantau. Tantau will be closed Monday and Tuesday for the event.  People with an invite won't have any problem to find "their way" to and into the theater.  Apple had at least 200 people working the street, sidewalk and landscape yesterday. They were even cleaning the street signs.  
    Soliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 47
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,337member
    robre said:
    welshdog said:
    Curious about the invitation to the event. Does it include a map and instructions on how to find the theater? Parking info? Watching the drone footage it seems to me that first time visitors, particularly those in cars, might experience a bit of confusion.
    Do not worry - they only need a street name - which is Tantau. Tantau will be closed Monday and Tuesday for the event.  People with an invite won't have any problem to find "their way" to and into the theater.  Apple had at least 200 people working the street, sidewalk and landscape yesterday. They were even cleaning the street signs.  
    I'd love to get video of this work today and tomorrow.
  • Reply 20 of 47
    Should have taken one... How about a shot of the new Visitor Center that is just across from the Spaceship.

    Solimacxpress
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