Apple employees are currently moving into Apple Park,
the company’s new $5 billion headquarters.
However, not all Apple employees will move into what’s
called “the ring” by insiders.
The campus will hold 12,000 employees. Apple has 25,000
employees in the Bay Area.
Apple’s new $5 billion “spaceship” campus has captivated the
world’s attention. But even as Apple celebrates the opening of
its gleaming UFO-like headquarters, many company employees are
coming to terms with a hard truth: There’s not room on the ship
Who gets a ticket and who gets left behind has become a subject
of speculation, conversation and some grumbling at the world’s
The new building, which Apple insiders refer to as “the ring”
rather than the spaceship, is about three miles from Apple’s
current Cupertino, Calif. headquarters at One Infinite Loop. The
fact that the new building can’t house everyone isn’t exactly a
surprise to anyone who did the math: Apple says the new
campus will hold 12,000 employees. Apple currently has 25,000 in
the Bay Area, according to the
Silicon Valley Business Journal.
But in keeping with its penchant for secrecy, Apple has not
widely discussed its plans for the move internally, leaving many
employees in the dark. Some groups at Apple know they’re
moving but are still waiting for their move-in date; others
suspect they’re not getting an invite to the “ring” simply
because they haven’t been told of any plans to move.
“You don’t get told things here unless you need to know, and if
you aren’t moving, you don’t need to know,” one Apple employee
told Business Insider.
Employees who know they’re headed to Apple Park excitedly chat
about the perks awaiting them at their new home, while others
commiserate about being excluded, according to Apple insiders
Business Insider spoke to.
Haves and have-nots
The split between the movers and those left behind has also
created a sense of two classes within Apple.
Apple’s most valuable talent will be moving to the ring,
including executives like CEO Tim Cook, teams full of software
developers, and Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive’s design
teams, which will get one of the nicest spots on the fourth floor
of the building.
But less important divisions, like App Store workers and retail
operations, are expected to remain in satellite offices scattered
around Silicon Valley. This means those people will often have to
travel using Apple’s shuttle service to another office just to
“The rest of us will still be taking silver van after silver van
from building to building for all of our meetings, wasting time,
gas, and space,” the Apple employee told Business Insider. “You
would think one of the main points of a $5 billion campus would
be to bring more people together in the same place.”
As it is, some Apple employees already take an Apple bus to
headquarters, and then have to take a second shuttle to their
offices. In Cupertino you can regularly see silver Ford and
Toyota vans traveling the roads, ferrying Apple employees from
one building to another. (There are some white Lexus SUVs in the
shuttle fleet, but those are currently for testing, and are part
of Apple’s self-driving car project, as
first reported by the New York Times.)
Apple executives have cited the existing constellation of
scattered offices as one of the reasons for the new headquarters.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment on the new campus
“We didn’t make Apple Park for other people”
There are other reasons some groups are excluded from the ring,
or Apple Park, as the facility is officially known. Many of
Apple’s “special projects” groups, working on technologies in
health, augmented reality, and robotics, are housed separately
from Apple headquarters, most likely for security and secrecy
And Apple’s online services group, under senior vice president
Eddy Cue, has opted to take over Apple’s old headquarters,
Bloomberg reported in 2016.
The 2.8-million-square-foot ring building was the final project
of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, who envisioned it as ” best office
building in the world.” The circular, open space and massive
windows are intended to foster collaboration and innovation among
Not all Apple employees are fans of the new set up though. Some
Apple engineers, accustomed to working in small offices, fear the
open floor plan will be too loud and distracting,
the Wall Street Journal reported in July. And Apple blogger
relayed a rumor earlier this year that one group at Apple
insisted on having its own, more private building, adjacent to
Apple’s Ive, who spearheaded the construction of the new
has expressed bewilderment that the company’s new offices
have been criticized by outsiders.
“We didn’t make Apple Park for other people,” Ive said
at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC earlier this month.
“So I think a lot of the criticisms … are utterly bizarre,
because it wasn’t made for you. And I know how we work, and you
Fruit trees, theaters and buzz
Among the perks for employees at Apple Park are new food and gym
facilities, a state of the art theater for on-campus
presentations, and a giant garden stocked with fruit trees.
At some satellite offices, by contrast, the only lunch
options are from vending machines.
Special events, like Apple’s semi-regular “beer bashes,” will
take place at Apple Park, meaning that employees at satellite
offices have to travel to take advantage of some of Apple’s best
“Obviously very first world problems, but having such disparities
in quality of workplace environment across the company creates an
awkward hierarchy and lack of a unified company culture,” says
the insider. “Facebook, Google, Airbnb (magnitude smaller, I
know) crush Apple on this front.”
Apple continues to build in Silicon Valley. It’s building a
spaceship” in Sunnyvale, and has been buying and developing a
lot of properties. And Apple has grown rapidly since 2011,
when the plans for Apple Park were completed.
But as rivals and neighbors start to build
giant new campuses, the competition for top talent in
Silicon Valley will heat up. It’s undeniable that Apple Park
is a huge perk — for the employees who get to work there.