Apple CEO Steve Jobs appeared at a Cupertino, Calif., City Council meeting to discuss plans for a larger headquarters.
Normally, a company executive explaining a need for more office space isn't exactly a newsworthy event. However, Jobs' celebrity status and the relative infrequency of his appearances, combined with a general interest in all things Apple, transformed the June 7 local-government meeting into national tech news.
"We would like to put [in] a new campus on that so we can stay in Cupertino," Jobs told the council, according to a video of the meeting posted on the blog Apple Insider. "We've hired some great architects to work with, some of the best in the world. We've come up with a design that puts 12,000 people in one building."
Apple's current Cupertino campus holds fewer than than 3,000 employees. A fourfold increase for the proposed building hints at Apple's long-term optimism about its market and prospects. As detailed in the architectural drawings Jobs showed the council, the new four-story structure will embrace many of the minimalist design cues that define Apple's retail stores, including heavy use of glass.
"It's a pretty amazing building," he said. "It's a little like a spaceship landed."
If you want to use a more down-to-earth analogy, the headquarters will look like a doughnut made out of curved glass, steel, and other materials. The doughnut's "hole" will be a central courtyard. The facility will feature underground parking, which will make the overall property some 80 percent landscape, with a proposed 6,000 trees. Jobs said Apple would provide its own power via an "energy center" most likely powered by natural gas and other efficient means, with Cupertino's electric grid "as our backup." Facilities will include research-and-development areas and a fitness center.
"We've seen these office parks with lots of office buildings," Jobs added, "and they get pretty boring pretty fast."
It's been a busy week for Jobs. On June 6, he took the stage at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference to introduce the upcoming Mac OS X "Lion" and iOS 5 operating systems, as well as the iCloud service.
All three platforms highlighted Apple's focus on mobility. Mac OS X "Lion" includes a baked-in Mac App Store, which offers access to a wide variety of full-screen apps-a spiritual descendent of the App Store long available for iOS devices like the iPhone and the iPad. Major tweaks to iOS 5, the next generation of the operating system that powers the popular iPad and iPhone, include increased interoperability with Twitter, a refined notifications screen and the robust "iMessenger" communications platform.
The free iCloud service, due for release this fall alongside iOS 5, will sync user content and push it to various devices via the cloud. Contacts, calendar email and iTunes music are all subject to this syncing.