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Apple Park -- Steve Jobs Theater

On Tuesday Sept. 12, CNET made its first visit to Apple Park for the iPhone X announcement. The trip gave us the opportunity to see the "spaceship campus" up close and reflect on Apple's new headquarters as a whole.

Read editors' take
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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Apple Park

In total, Apple's new campus covers 175 acres of land and should hold 12,000 employees -- only a portion of the company's Cupertino workforce.

(Apple already employed 15,000 people in Cupertino as of 2013, the last year that the city tracked that data in its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.)

Apple started relocating employees in April.

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Photo by: Apple

Apple Park Visitor Center

Welcome to Apple Park.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Visitor Center

The Visitor Center houses an on campus Apple Store and a Caffè Macs (Apple's version of a cafe/cafeteria).

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

AR Apple Store

In the on-campus Apple Store, visitors can interact with a model of Apple Park using iPads and augmented reality (AR).

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Apple Store

One of the changes Apple is rolling out to its stores is to make them into "Town Squares" where people can gather.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Apple Store

The campus Apple Store is the best place to pick up an Apple book.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Cafe Macs

The public cafe at Apple Park.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Cafe Macs

Inside Caffè Macs. CNET editor Scott Stein highly recommends the refreshing watermelon juice.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Steve Jobs Theater

Apple Park is defined by its main ring-shaped building which is larger than the Pentagon. In the middle of the ring is a wooded area where the circular Steve Jobs Theater is located.

The above ground portion of the theater is defined by glass and topped with a circular metallic carbon fiber roof that measures 165 feet in diameter.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Steve Jobs Theater (illustration)

That 20-foot-tall glass cylinder is just the lobby though. To get to the actual auditorium, you take the elevator (or stairs) down to the hidden underground theater with traditional rows of seats.

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Photo by: Apple

Don't confuse circular glass structures

Both the main four-story ringed building commonly called the "spaceship" and the smaller Steve Jobs Theater are made of curved glass.

In this photo, the main building can be seen in the background of the Steve Jobs Theater.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

The spaceship from afar

Here's what the spaceship looks like from the Steve Jobs Theater. The sense of scale is incredible.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Steve Jobs Theater and Woz

CNET Editor-in-Chief Connie Guglielmo poses with the famous Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple and a Bay Area legend.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Steve Jobs Theater

We took this incredible shot just outside the glass walls looking in -- so the ceiling appears to reflect the sky. It almost looks like a cloaked flying saucer is hovering just above the theater.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Steve Jobs Theater

Inside the glass lobby.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Steve Jobs Theater

The only way you can go is down.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Apple Park rotating glass elevator

Here's one of the rotating glass elevators inside Apple Park's Steve Jobs Theater.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Steve Jobs Theater

A stairway down to heaven.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Steve Jobs Theater

Outside the auditorium etched into stone: Steve Jobs Theater.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Steve Jobs Theater (illustration)

There are a lot of hidden rooms underground, as well as a pair of tunnels (one was cropped out) to allow staff to bring things in through a hidden back entrance.

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Photo by: Apple

The stage

Here's a view of the stage from the auditorium.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Steve Jobs Theater

It wouldn't be an Apple event without the glow of hundreds of laptop screens.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Steve Jobs Theater

The seats inside the auditorium each cost $14,000.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Steve Jobs Theater

A view of the audience gathered for the iPhone X announcement.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Steve Jobs Theater

One of the underground demo rooms where the press can get hands-on time with new products.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook chats with people in the demo room after the iPhone X event.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Steve Jobs Theater

One of the demo areas underground.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Apple Park (conceptual render)

A bit of history: In July 2009, after several years of deliberation, Apple reached out to British architectural firm Foster + Partners to begin drawing up plans for a new campus, an architectural marvel only a stone's throw from the company's existing Infinite Loop headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Originally conceived as a propeller-shaped building, the 2.8 million square foot campus soon became a ring. An ailing Steve Jobs himself went before the Cupertino City Council to ask for its help a few short months before his death. Members unanimously approved his plan in October 2013.

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Photo by: Apple

Apple Park (conceptual render)

Here's an artist's interpretation of how Apple Park (and its employees) might blend into nature.

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Photo by: Apple

Working on the roof

And here's a still from some footage of the actual building, which is now nearing completion.

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Photo by: Apple

Glass fins

Even the fins are made of curved glass, reports Wired, and they exist partly to protect the glass walls. They keep glare to a minimum, stop too much light from entering the building, and prevent rain from streaking down the walls.

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Photo by: Apple

Glass walls

Apple says the building's walls are the largest panels of curved glass ever made. There are 800 of them in total, reports Wired, and each wall is 45 feet tall. But that's nothing compared with the Apple Cafe's four-story glass doors, which (including their frames) weigh 220 tons each.

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Photo by: Apple

Solar panels

The entire campus is powered by renewable energy -- including a 17-megawatt solar farm mounted on the building's roof. 

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Photo by: Apple

Apple Park trees

There are 9,000 native, drought-resistant trees planted around the campus.

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Photo by: Apple

Apple Park I-280

Here, just north of the I-280 freeway, you can see where the buildings sit in relation to each other.

Aerial photo used with permission: Matthew Roberts (YouTube)

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Photo by: Matthew Roberts/YouTube

Cupertino, California

Bordered by Wolfe Road, North Tantau Avenue and Interstate 280 to the south, Apple's new campus lives in an intriguing part of Cupertino that's a mix of upscale apartments, shopping and suburbia. 

Just across the street to the west is a huge Asian shopping center filled with Chinese restaurants, tea shops, a 99 Ranch Market and a Taiwanese bakery, while Kaiser Permanente's hospital campus is to the east. Across I-280 to the south is the ghost town known as Vallco Mall, which began plans for a grand transformation after Apple's plans were underway.

North is almost all suburban housing.

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Photo by: Google Maps/Screenshot by CNET

Infinite Loop to Apple Park: 5-10 minutes

On a good day with no traffic, a ride from Apple's current headquarters (Infinite Loop) to the new Apple Park should take less than 10 minutes.

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Photo by: Google Maps

Apple Park

One of Steve Jobs' dying wishes was to build a stunning new campus for Apple.

They call it Apple Park -- but you may know it as the Ring or perhaps the Spaceship.

Aerial photos used with permission: Matthew Roberts (YouTube)

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Photo by: Matthew Roberts/YouTube

Apple Park

According to Wired, the Spaceship has nine different entrances, and it's a bit of a walk if you want to circle the building -- the circumference at the perimeter measures three-quarters of a mile.

Aerial photo used with permission: Matthew Roberts (YouTube)

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Photo by: Matthew Roberts/YouTube

Apple Park

Apple says it'll also be the world's largest naturally ventilated building and won't require any heating or air conditioning nine months of the year. Inside, every door has a custom aluminum handle built just for Apple, and each employee has special height-adjustable desks, according to Wired.

Aerial photo used with permission: Matthew Roberts (YouTube)

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Photo by: Matthew Roberts/YouTube

Apple Park R&D

Besides the Steve Jobs Theater, several parts of the Apple Park campus are separate from the main spaceship. Here's Apple's new R&D facility. There's also a 100,000 square-foot fitness center that isn't quite as complete yet.

Aerial photo used with permission: Matthew Roberts (YouTube)

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Photo by: Matthew Roberts/YouTube

Apple Park-ing garage

When cars arrive, they'll park in Apple's gigantic detached parking garage, which looks like it'd be right at home if it were attached to a major airport terminal. Apple Park will have some 9,000 parking spots -- 3,000 of them underground.

Aerial photo used with permission: Matthew Roberts (YouTube)

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Photo by: Matthew Roberts/YouTube

Parking

Inside one of the massive onsite parking garages.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Apple Park

One last shot of Apple's spaceship.

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Photo by: Apple

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