WWDC 2015 at Apple's Cupertino 'spaceship'

By Jonny Evans

With the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and Mac in the ascendancy many developers may already hope to visit WWDC 2015 -- but you won't be going to San Francisco, because in that year, or perhaps the next, there's a chance you'll be visiting the giant new 'spaceship-donut' Apple [AAPL] campus in Cupertino.


[ABOVE: This is Apple's proposed 12,000-person Cupertino campus, just four floors high and surrounded by orchards.]

Apple's apricot orchards

Apple CEO Steve Jobs laid out his plans for the company's giant campus, which he compared to a 'spaceship', before Cupertino City Council official last night.

"Apple is growing like a weed," he told them. "It's clear we need to build a new campus."

He spoke, and the council listened as he described Apple's futuristic vision to build the world's most advanced office block on the 150-acres of land the company has been buying up in recent years.

WWDC attendees, take note, there's going to be an auditorium inside the place.

[ABOVE: For those who may not have seen it, here's Apple's WWDC 2011 keynote in full on YouTube. I've had problems accessing it via Apple's website.]

WWDC 2015?

Perhaps the building was on Jobs' mind Monday when he told WWDC attendees (above): "We sold out within two hours. This is the biggest place we can get to [host WWDC], so I'm sorry for all those people who couldn't make it. We wish we could sell more tickets but we don't know where to have you if we do."

Apple habitually creates options -- another processor supplier, another hit product -- so in 2015, Apple will have the chance to invite developers to its futuristic spaceship in order to host WWDC 2015 in Cupertino. Now that's something that will boost the city's tax dollars, and should be great news for local businesses.

Apple's plan will put 12,000 people in one building, which looks like a "spaceship" if you're Apple's CEO, or a ring donut if you're a little more Homer Simpson about, you know, "stuff".

Monument to a local boy

The proposals seem to deliver a triumph of design. "There is not a straight piece of glass in this building, it's all curved," said Jobs. "We used our experience making retail buildings all over the world now, and we know how to make the biggest pieces of glass in the world for architectural use. We want to make the glass specifically for this building here. We can make it curve all the way around the building. It's pretty cool," he added.

"I think we do have a shot at building the best office building in the world. And I really do think architecture students will come here to see this. I think it could be that good."

[ABOVE: Apple's Steve Jobs tells the city about the plans.]

Most of the parking will be underneath the building; there'll be an auditorium, and a cafe capable of sitting 3,000 people at once. "Because that's what you need when you've got 12,000 people in one building," said Jobs, dryly.

There's more: Most everyone in California recalls the 'brown-outs' that afflicted the region in the early 21st Century, when electricity suppliers kept the state begging for more.

Apple is a computer company, and such brown-outs mean it has to send its staff home. It needs electricity to do its work, and ensuring the supply is a big priority. At the new campus it plans to manufacture its own energy using natural gas and "other cleaner" sources, resorting to the main grid only as "back-up", Jobs said.

A human interface story

Apple's focus on the user extends to the campus. We've all wandered around those business parks and noticed how horrible they mostly are. Apple's will have apricot orchards, 6,000 trees, green power and more. It sounds...nice.

Apple acquired 98 acres of this land from HP in 2010 on Pruneridge Avenue, adjacent to another 50 acres the company purchased in 2006. There's a personal story to the HP land purchase. Jobs told the council:

"When I was 13, I called up Bill Hewlett because he lived in Palo Alto and there were no unlisted phone numbers in the phone book, which gives you a clue to my age," Jobs explained.

"He picked up the phone and I talked to him and asked him if he'd give me some spare parts for something I was building called a frequency counter. And he did, but in addition to that, he gave me something way more important. He gave me a job that summer, a summer job at Hewlett Packard right here in Santa Clara off 280 at the division that built frequency counters. And I was in heaven."

Let us know your thoughts in comments below. I'd also very much like to invite you to follow me on Twitter so I can let you know when I post new reports here first on Computerworld.   

Read my five-page WWDC report:

On page 1: "WWDC: Apple's iCloud is 'one cloud to rule them all'"

On page 2: "WWDC: Apple's iOS 5 eats RIM, gets 'Post-PC' updated"

On page 3: "WWDC: Apple's Mac OS Lion will cost $29.99, more"

On page 4: "WWDC: Industry speaks on Apple's iCloud post-PC attack"

On page 5: "WWDC: Will Intel chips power future iPhones?"

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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