But in a video (below) Apple showed to city officials promoting plans for its new headquarters, famed UK-based architect Norman Foster said the now-notorious ring shape wasn't the original idea.
"It really grew into that," said Foster, who led the building design, in the video. "The idea of one building with a great park was really born out of a very intensive process."
He also revealed that the project took shape in 2009 after Steve Jobs called him personally to enlist his services. Three weeks after that call, Foster came to Cupertino.
"Don't think of me as your client," Foster recalled Jobs telling him. "Think of me as one of your team."
Foster also said a major reference point for the design was Stanford University's campus, with its wooded Californian landscape.
The under 4-minute film was shown publicly by Apple just a few times before, during a two-day period earlier this month when Apple was trying to make its final push to. City officials said it was also shown before the city council vote last week.
At the planning commission meeting, the video was introduced by Dan Whisenhunt, Apple's senior director of real estate and facilities. It's classic Apple showmanship: inspirational music and choice quotes from Steve Jobs that pull at the heartstrings.
Skip to 3:30 for Apple's film: