As Apple pursues perfection, new campus frustrates builders and officials

apple spaceship campus 2
Apple has long been lauded for its attention to detail and emphasis on build quality and it seems that ambition extends to the construction of its facilities. According to Reuters, the company made numerous demands as it prepares Apple Campus 2, more colloquially referred to as the “spaceship campus,” to ensure a level of craftsmanship more befitting of a phone or watch than a building meant to employ 14,000 workers.

For starters, Apple’s new Cupertino, California, headquarters supposedly boasts the largest panel of curved glass ever made — though that was probably evident from the exterior shots. Inside, Apple has stipulated a lengthy list of requirements.

The ceiling tiles, made of polished concrete, were each examined twice by company representatives to ensure perfection. The door handles, free of imperfections down to the nanometer, according to the construction team, were rejected by Apple in favor of a redesign. All pipes and beams in the ceiling had to be concealed from view, so they would not appear in reflections off the glass.

Even the signage was a source of frustration. The Santa Clara County Fire Department reportedly clashed with the company over designs that emphasized minimalism over function in the event of an emergency. Retired Deputy Fire Chief Dirk Mattern told Reuters the issue came up in 15 different meetings, and that he had “never spent so much time on signage.”

These considerations might be commonplace for a handheld device but for a facility of Campus 2’s scale, they are unheard of. In most buildings, the tolerance that materials are allowed to differ from specific measurements is about 1/8 of an inch. Channeling the iPhone’s seamless panel gaps, Apple mandated far tighter tolerances, even for inconspicuous surfaces.

“You would never design to that level of tolerance on a building,” one architect said. “The doors would jam.”

Speaking of which, Apple was reportedly adamant that the doorways throughout the entire building be perfectly flat, with no thickness around the threshold. If an engineer had to adjust his form to move differently through a doorway, he might become distracted from his work, the company reasoned. One former construction manager said he spent months pushing back on the request, “because that’s time money and stuff that’s never been done before.”

The spaceship campus has been said to evoke many design cues from famous Apple products. Lead architect German de la Torre likened the building’s curves to the rounded rectangle motif the company employs in much of its hardware and software. Other employees compared the elevator controls to the iPhone’s home button.

It may come as little surprise that Skanska USA and DPR Construction, the contractors on the project when it broke ground in 2011, eventually bailed. Experts estimate the facility has cost Apple $5 billion and those close to the project said difficulties with the approval process have nudged completion to the spring.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: inflatable backpacks and robotic submarines

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

Out of TV shows to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.

Apple Car may make its debut in the middle of the next decade

Apple likely won't become a full-fledged manufacturer like General Motors or Ford, but the tech giant is diving into the auto industry pool. Here's everything we know about the company's automotive efforts.

Apple may add Apple Pencil support for its 2018 iPhones

Apple's 2018 iPhone range is still a mystery. How many models will launch? What will they be called, and how big will the screens be? Here are all the rumors and everything we know so far.

Newly leaked photos show a fully functioning Motorola One Power

Many of us have come to know and love Motorola's extensive lineup of budget phones. But Motorola makes some pretty awesome midrange smartphones as well. And it looks like we're about to see its next phone, the Motorola One Power, very soon.

How to find a lost phone, whether it's Android, iPhone, or any other kind

Need to know how to find a lost phone? Here, we’ll help you locate your lost or stolen phone using both native and third-party apps and services, whether it’s a smartphone or an older variety.
Product Review

Sony's underwhelming XZ2 Premium makes a better camera than a phone

Sony’s third flagship phone of 2018 is its first to ever feature a dual-camera lens. The Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium can capture ultra-low-light video far better than the iPhone X or Galaxy Note 9, but is it worth the high cost?

The OnePlus 6T could launch on T-Mobile in October, report says

According to a recent report, the launch of the OnePlus 6T could be different from any other OnePlus launch in history. How? It could have the backing of a major U.S. carrier. The report notes that the phone could launch on T-Mobile.

Apple’s rumored entry-level MacBook may appear in September starting at $1,200

Apple may reveal new products in September including an entry-level 13-inch MacBook based on Intel’s seventh-generation processors. Apple originally intended these units to rely on Intel’s now-delayed 10nm “Cannon Lake” processors.

How much is Spotify Premium, and how can you get it at a discount?

Having access to millions of songs comes at a price -- albeit, a pretty small one. Before you figure out how much is Spotify Premium going to cost you, you’ll want to see if you qualify for a discounted (or even free) subscription.

AirDrop makes sending files to Apple devices easy -- here's how

Want to send files or photos to your friends when you're standing directly beside them? Instead of texting or emailing, why not learn how to use AirDrop? Here's everything you need to know about using AirDrop on both iOS and MacOS.

Save up to $900 with the best smartphone deals for August 2018

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $900.
Product Review

From its stunning screen to its slick S-Pen, Samsung's Note 9 is a masterpiece

It’s jaw-dropping how much tech Samsung has fit inside the Galaxy Note 9. It’s one of Samsung’s largest phones ever thanks to its 6.4-inch screen, and the S Pen is better than ever.

The best Moto Z3 cases to keep your flagship phone protected

The newly released Motorola Moto Z3 is a fine phone with a lot to offer. But while it's tough, it's not tough enough to go five rounds with concrete. Here are the best Moto Z3 cases to keep it protected.