Apple Park is breathtaking: Minimalist, austere, Zen. The main building curves through the campus and above the trees, a Ring of glass and solar panels that disappears behind the rolling hills one moment only to rise up and fill your field of view the next.
That's how it looked to me during Apple's September event, when I and a few hundred of my closest media friends got to an early look at the public and press-facing parts of the new campus.
The orchards are still growing in, but it's easy to see them, and the paths that meander around and in between, will be a welcome home to fruit, birds, and runners. No sign of a vineyard, though. At least not yet.
Apple Park is technically located at 1 Apple Park Way in Cupertino, California not far from the original Infinite Loop campus. But for everyone outside of Apple, it's really located at 10600 North Tantau Ave. That's where you'll enter through the Visitor Center, which includes an Apple Store and a Café.
Both follow the company's latest design language — the one found at the newly updated Apple at Infinite Loop store. The scale is similar too, smaller and more intimate than Union Square or World Trade, but with the same earthy, almost communal vibe.
There, you can grab a beverage, hot or cold, and go up onto the observation deck to get an even better view of the Ring and the orchards. You can also shop for. all the standard Apple Store fare, plus some of the same kind of special clothing and keepsake items that were previously exclusive to Infinite Loop. That includes t-shirts, pens, water bottles, mugs, and more. They're all seasonal and rotate in and out frequently so, if you see something you like, grab it immediately.
There's also a special augmented reality experience in the building: A model of Apple Park in its entirety that, when you look at it through the lens of dedicated iPads, comes to life in AR. Move around. Sneaker-zoom in and out, and watch roofs levitate and area unfurl. It's as close as you can come to being a drone flying around the campus.
It'll be interesting to see how much, if any, of the park area around the Visitor Center is open to the public but the Visitor Center itself provides more than enough for anyone interesting in checking out Apple's new campus, sampling some of Caffe Macs fare, and leaving with a souvenir or several.
The Apple Park Visitor Center opens to the public on Friday, November 17.
Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.
Can't wait to see the Visitor's Center on my next Bay Area visit.
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