2 June 2019
With some time to kill after registration I decided to visit Apple Park. So I caught an Uber from the convention centre and rode an eight mile journey.
First off, Apple Park is huge – like seriously huge. Comprised of several satellite buildings surrounding the famous ‘space ship’ – the public are only allowed to visit the Apple Visitor Centre, located along one side of the park.
The visitor centre is Apple’s flag ship store, but comes complete with an AR campus tour, observation deck and ‘Caffe Mac’ refreshment lounge. The building itself if nothing less than a design masterpiece. Minimal just like Apple’s products, the entire building looks almost see-through. The thin bevelled ceiling sits on a wall of glass, whilst two stone pillars sit just inside appearing not to touch the roof: giving the appearance that the roof is floating.
The glass walls reveal hidden doors, whilst the external area is laced with neat rows of trees and black stone pillars, concealing hidden path lighting.
Next: the store, and Apple has spared no expense. True to what you would expect, Apple has showcased each of their product lines on their minimalist wooden benches. A huge LCD screen is positioned directly along one side of the room digitally presenting the iPhone and other products. Unlike other stores I’ve visited, this one comes complete with a line of ‘Apple Park’ merchandise: ranging from T-Shirts, caps, tote-bags and even baby grows. Other than the scale, this Apple Store isn’t anything out of the ordinary – but it gets additional cudos for being the flagship.
Head round one of the floating stone walls and a grey scale Apple Park model is centred within a very large empty room. Crowded with people around it, an unsuspecting Apple employee quickly hands out a pre-loaded iPad to you. The built-in app directs you to use the camera to point it at the model park to reveal a fully interactive AR experience.
The AR demo is very cool especially given that members of the public can not walk around the Park itself. The AR app (powered by Unreal Engine) is smooth and fluid and also contains different modes to see how the park powers itself through solar power, and cools its self thanks to the wind. It is great to ‘peek’ inside the buildings and to get a sense of scale as to how large each is.
unsurprising to its name, I was in awe of how much of the landscape was natural (man-made) park
After browsing the Apple Park AR, you can slip up one of two hidden stairwells up to the viewing platform. Perhaps unsurprising to its name, I was in awe of how much of the landscape was natural (man-made) park land. The visitor platform is a large open terrace with views looking up to the main Apple Park building.
The terrace itself is a fair distance away from the main building – likely a strategic decision so that you can’t see in. However there is plenty of seating allowing you to take in the views.
Heading down the opposite stair well, you’ll enter Caffe Macs – a beverage and snack stop. I’m not sure if this is Apple’s first cafe open to the public, but true to Apple’s style, you are given an iPad that includes the menu.