Visiting Northern California is always an adventure. I enjoy traveling back to places that have provided me with excellent photographic, social media and food related material. However, during this trip, I ventured over a 100 miles from home base to the Apple Inc Headquarters and the Apple Company Store in Cupertino, California.
Cupertino is a bustling city in the heart of Silicon Valley. Many startups and large multi-national corporations like Apple are located within a 20-mile radius. Travel a few miles in any direction and you might run into LinkedIn for instance, which I found totally by serendipity.
Chris Rauschnot @24k at Apple Inc HQ One Infinite Loop
Serendipitous discovery is a large part of how I like to go about my travels. This time I knew I wanted to visit Apple HQ, but I left the entire rest of the day open.
Chris Rauschnot @24k at Apple Inc HQ Two Infinite Loop
Pulling into One Infinite Loop was vaguely familiar. I had only been to the “Mothership” once before in the early 90’s. My excitement level reached its peak when I saw the large green number one in front of the main campus building and the sign for the Apple Company Store.
The company store is about the size of a standard Apple Store found in any mall around the US. However, this is the only store that the public can purchase Apple branded pens, hats, shirts and other apparel. Have you ever visited an Apple Store only to learn that the product you needed was out of stock? Well, that appeared not to be an issue at this store with everything seemingly in stock, all of the way down to a complete set of iPhone 4, 4S and iPhone 5 in varying colors and carriers.
Apple’s Company Store is by no means the flagship location you would expect, if say, you have visited the New York City 5th Avenue glass cube. The NYC store and others around the country are larger than this one. But its main focus is to provide employees at Apple with what they need. There is no Genius Bar at this location. And from what I’ve heard from reports about Apple Employees needing tech support, they are expected to figure things out on their own.
Staff at THE Apple Store was helpful to answer questions. The front of the store had iPhones and iPods setup like at other Apple Stores. One side is dedicated to Apple branded products and the center has its current MacBook and iMac computers lined up. Finally, various third party accessories line the wall closest to the registers.
A former Apple employee told me in the early 90’s that they do receive a modest discount on products sold inside of the Apple Company Store. The price is printed on the same label as the MSRP. To find it, look to the left of the MSRP and its cleverly hidden to appear like a stock number.
The Apple branded products I purchased, a nice pen, a shirt and a porcelain water bottle all felt like they were all quality made. The majority of these products are below $20 US each, so that’s nice they don’t try to gouge visitors.
Apple Inc’s Company Store gets a lot of visitors. Even during mid-week, numerous buses came and went full of people. It didn’t feel crowded inside, so I was able to take some time browsing and enjoy the experience. The day I visited, it was open until 5:30pm.
If you are an Apple Superfan like me or are curious as to the experience of visiting Apple Inc’s corporate headquarters, I urge you to see it for yourself. Maybe you will run into Tim Cook at checkout.
— Chris Rauschnot (@24k) March 15, 2013