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Apple’s giving 60 Minutes a tour of its secretive design lab

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For a company as famously secretive as Apple, a televised tour of its headquarters’ most sensitive areas may sound a bit uncharacteristic. But for whether for good will or good publicity, the iPhone maker will welcome CBS’s Charlie Rose to its creative studios and a mock “next-gen” Apple Store.

In a 60 Minutes episode that airs at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Apple’s chief of design Jony Ive and head of retail Angela Ahrendts will guide Rose through perhaps the most storied of Apple offices: its designer and retail workshops. Pictures posted to Twitter on Thursday show Ive, the creative force within Apple largely credited with the design of the iPhone, iPad, iPod, Watch, and Mac, standing in front of a sort of metal fabricator. Ahrendts, meanwhile, a recent hire from British fashion label Burberry, is shown walking through a prototype Apple Store that’s exemplifies the company’s new retail design language: spacious interior with high ceilings, paneled lighting, wall graphics, and thick wooden shelves and tables. (The first store to adopt the new design opened in Brussels in September.)


Recode reports that Tim Cook, too, will make an appearance. He’ll discuss encryption, corporate taxes, and manufacturing products in China, issues over which the company has faced intense scrutiny from lawmakers. In terms of specifics, Cook is likely to address Apple’s practice of holding billions of dollars of savings in offshore accounts, reaffirm his company’s commitment to privacy and security even in the face of government pressure, and highlight Apple’s new clean energy programs in China.

Interestingly, this Sunday’s 60 Minutes episode won’t mark the first time camera crews were allowed a look into Apple’s design headquarters. For the independent film Objectified, the company allowed director Gary Hustwit to film the offices and interview Ive in 2009. More recently in October, journalist Steven Levy was granted access to Apple’s Input Design Lab.

The episode comes at a time when Apple’s attempting to shed its image as a notoriously private, withdrawn company. Executives including Tim Cook and Jony Ive have increased their media appearances, and Apple recently gave Bay Area TV station KQED a tour of the construction grounds of its Apple Campus 2 project.

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