Apple released its much anticipated Apple Watch this past month.
The Apple Watch is significant for Apple, not only because its profit and loss statement has a lot riding on it, but because it’s the company’s first foray into consumer “wearables.”
This isn’t the first time the Cupertino company has ventured into new areas, through. Since its first consumer product, the Apple I, was released in 1976, Apple has gone from personal computers – and its iterations, including, desktops, laptops and tablets – to music players, cell phones and now watches.
Today, Apple is less a computer company than a consumer electronics company, and even that doesn’t quite seem to go far enough, as it has become a lifestyle brand for many. Comparisons can be drawn to Sony during the mid-1980s when everyone aspired to a home filled with Sony televisions, Sony receivers and Sony Walkmans.
Part of Apple’s success is that it sells a lifestyle that transcends its products, in which a glossy, sophisticated minimalism and simplicity, are among its most recognizable characteristics. It goes beyond their products, and is embodied in their advertising, their online and retail stores, and their packaging. And while the Apple Watch may be Apple’s latest “big” thing, I think something even bigger is underfoot at Apple, and it’s something you can’t buy.
Apple’s bottom line, of course, is tied to the number of iMacs, iPads, iPhones and now Apple Watches it sells. But Apple doesn’t want to just sell you an iMac here and an iPad there. They want to sell you a lifestyle. And what better way to “walk the walk” than just “talk the talk” than to showcase that lifestyle – filled, of course, with Apple innovations – than to incorporate it into the way they work, through Apple’s Campus 2.
Apple’s Campus 2 project was first announced by the late Steve Jobs in 2006, but it took nearly 8 years before the project broke ground in 2014, and is expected to be completed sometime in 2016:
Project Name: Apple’s Campus 2. Although some say that the project may be renamed after it is completed in honor of Steve Jobs.
Location: Cupertino, California. The project, located on a 176 acre site, is the largest private construction project ever undertaken in Silicon Valley, and will be comprised of approximately 2.8 million square feet of space housing over 13,000 employees.
Cost: A staggering $5 billion (U.S.)
Contractor: DPR Construction/Skanska USA. Although it was revealed this past week that Rudolph & Sletten was brought on board to complete the interior build out, raising questions of whether this was planned all along or whether it indicates problems the DPR/Skanska joint venture.
Some other interesting facts about Apple’s Campus 2 project:
Landscaping: One thing that stands out from conceptual drawings is the amount of greenery. Steve Jobs wanted the campus to be in a natural setting replicating the California landscape and orchards he remembered growing up. Much of the campus is located on a site formerly owned by Hewlett-Packard which had a built-up area to landscaping ratio of 80:20. When the campus is completed that ratio of build-up area to landscaping will be reversed to 20:80. When the project is completed there will be over 7,000 trees including apples, apricots, plum and other fruit trees.
Space Planning: The distance around the four-story “ring” is approximately 1 mile. Because of the size and shape of the building, and numerous different disciplines working there from software programmers to designers, careful attention had to be given to the vertical and horizontal locations of the various departments. The ring shaped design of the campus had drawn criticism from some in the design community as being inefficient, with comparisons to the Pentagon.
Luxurious Materials: Apple’s products are know for their materials and meticulous construction. Apple’s Campus 2 is no exception. Nearly 4 miles of 40 foot curved glass will sheath the outer and inner perimeter of the ring. Interior wood will be harvested from specific species of maple and only the finer “heartwood” at the center of those trees will be used. And, reflecting his fanatical attention to detail, Jobs found the industry-standard 1/8 inch breaks between surfaces too unsightly and required that gaps be no greater than 1/32 inch across.
Energy Efficiency: For 75% of the year the campus will not use air-conditioning or heating and will use only natural ventilation. The top of the building will feature one of the largest solar arrays in the world. And, the facility will run on 100% renewable energy. Indeed, Apple entered into a $850 million deal in February to purchase 130 MW of solar power, enough to power 60,000 homes. Running trails and 1,000s of bicycles will also be made available to employees.
Perhaps soon we’ll be living in Apple houses and driving Apple cars.