Jobs unveils 'the spaceship' that will oversee Apple's global domination

  • @guyadams

The "infinite Loop" – the street that's home to Apple's headquarters – clearly isn't infinite enough to cope with spiralling global demand for iPads, iPhones, iPods and elegant but slightly overpriced computers. Why else would Apple be planning to build a vast new Silicon Valley office complex that resembles a doughnut?

Steve Jobs showed-up at a meeting of the city council in Cupertino, California, on Wednesday night to explain how the local civic landscape would benefit from the eco-friendly complex surrounded by roughly 150 acres of landscaped "campus". Apple is "growing like a weed," he explained, and the firm's current headquarters can hold only 2,600 people, or just under a quarter of the workforce it has in the region. The "pretty cool" new building, expected to be completed in 2015, will allow them to put a roof over all of their staff's heads.

"We've got almost 12,000 people in the area," he said. "So we're renting buildings... at an ever-greater radius from our campus and we're putting people in those. And it's clear that we need to build a new campus."

The new facility will be built on land brought from Apple's less-fashionable rival, Hewlett Packard. It covers four storeys above ground, on top of an underground car park. It will have its own green energy plant and will only draw on the main electric grid when solar and wind facilities struggle.

"It's a little like a spaceship landed," Mr Jobs told the council, in a presentation later uploaded on to YouTube. "It's a circle, and so it's curved all the way around. As you know if you build things, this is not the cheapest way to build something. There's not a straight piece of glass on this building, it's all curved."

Never knowingly short on confidence, Mr Jobs reckons it will be "the best office building in the world." It will also boast the "biggest pieces of glass in the world for architectural use". He hopes architectural students will study it for generations to come.

Given that Apple is one of the region's biggest economic powerhouses, there is little chance of Cupertino Council turning its nose up at the project. Apple shareholders may wonder, however, why a company that has never paid a single dividend should be eager to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a no-expense spared construction project.