Forget the iPhone — Apple's most defining patent might just be this pizza box

apple patents pizza boxes gourmet
Jacek Nowak/123RF
By now, you’ve surely heard lots of stories about Apple’s brand-new Cupertino, California, headquarters.

That every single element of the design — from the massive curved sheets of glass to the polished concrete ceiling tiles, to the ventilation system and even the door handles — was crafted with an obsessive level of detail echoing the company’s products.

That its construction, which was not completed on schedule and, according to multiple sources, cost about $5 billion, drove contractors and local officials mad.

That the facility can actually articulate in response to an earthquake, thanks to giant shock absorbers that shift the building five feet in any direction and allow it to continue to function perfectly.

Given all the stories that have been told,  it’s not surprising to hear that Apple Park, as it’s formally known, even has its own bespoke, patented pizza boxes.

This tidbit comes courtesy of Wired, which published a look inside the ring-shaped building that has excited and angered so many. The patent itself isn’t new — it was actually filed seven years ago, and has been used at Apple’s other corporate facilities for some time now. But it’s fitting it should start getting noticed now because it’s a microcosm of the company’s ambition to shape each and every facet of the world within its walls.

apple patents pizza boxes us20120024859a1 20120202 d00000

So what makes this pizza box so special? Contrary to what you might expect from an Apple-developed food container, it’s actually its most obvious feature: holes. The box allows for ventilation, so all the heat and moisture inside can dissipate, keeping the crust crispy. That’s really it.

The box is fashioned entirely from recycled materials, according to the patent, and is formed entirely in one piece, so no assembly is required. The invention is attributed to Francesco Longoni, the head of the company’s food service department.

The cafeteria seems to have been one of Apple’s primary considerations in the development of the new headquarters, as it’s one of the places employees are expected to have the most chance interactions. To that end, the area features a pair of massive glass doors, weighing 440,000 pounds each, that run the entire height of the four-story structure to let a little (or a lot of) light in.

Learning every minute aspect of Apple’s gargantuan spaceship on Earth over the past several years has been equal parts interesting and confounding. But we can’t help but feel that even in the company’s infinite wisdom, it may have missed an opportunity: Why hasn’t the pizza box been remade to look like a miniature replica of the building? Then it really would be the perfect microcosm.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

Give Rachael Ray a run for her money with these 13 recipe apps

You don’t have to be Gordon Ramsay to make a killer meal, you just need an easy to follow recipe app. We’ve compiled our 13 favorite cooking apps for Android smartphones and iPhones, including countless recipes to suit any taste.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Cars

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.
Emerging Tech

Researchers create a flying wireless platform using bumblebees

Researchers at the University of Washington have come up with a novel way to create a wireless platform: using bumblebees. As mechanical drones' batteries run out too fast, the team made use of a biology-based solution using living insects.
Emerging Tech

Bright ‘hyperactive’ comet should be visible in the sky this weekend

An unusual green comet, 46P/Wirtanen, will be visible in the night sky this month as it makes its closest approach to Earth in 20 years. It may even be possible to see the comet without a telescope.
Emerging Tech

Meet the MIT scientist who’s growing semi-sentient cyborg houseplants

Elowan is a cybernetic plant that can respond to its surroundings. Tethered by a few wires and silver electrodes, the plant-robot hybrid can move in response to bioelectrochemical signals that reflect the plant’s light demands.
Emerging Tech

Gorgeous images show storms and cloud formations in the atmosphere of Jupiter

NASA's Juno mission arrived at Jupiter in 2016 and has been collecting data since then. NASA has shared an update on the progress of the mission as it reaches its halfway point, releasing stunning images of the planet as seen from orbit.
Emerging Tech

Beautiful image of young planets sheds new light on planet formation

Researchers examining protoplanetary disks -- the belts of dust that eventually form planets -- have shared fascinating images of the planets from their survey, showing the various stages of planet formation.
Emerging Tech

Delivery robot goes up in flames while out and about in California

A small meal-delivery robot suddenly caught fire in Berkeley, California, on Friday. The blaze was quickly tackled and no one was hurt, but the incident is nevertheless a troubling one for the fledgling robot delivery industry.
Emerging Tech

High-tech dancing robot turns out to be a guy in a costume

A Russian TV audience was impressed recently by an adult-sized "robot" that could dance and talk. But when some people began pointing out that its actions were a bit odd, the truth emerged ... it was a fella in a robot suit.
Emerging Tech

MIT’s smart capsule could be used to release drugs in response to a fever

Researchers have developed a 3D-printed capsule which can monitor patients' vital signs, transmit this information to a connected device, and release drugs in response to symptoms.
Emerging Tech

‘Crop duster’ robot is helping reseed the Great Barrier Reef with coral

In a world first, an undersea robot has delivered microscopic coral larvae to the Great Barrier Reef. Meet Larvalbot: the robot "crop duster" which dispenses coral babies on troubled reefs.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.