Apple Park’s spaceship building from a distance.
Apple

  • Apple just finished a $5 billion headquarters called Apple Park. Some say it’s an architectural landmark.
  • Non-Apple employees are not allowed in, though, and Apple’s not likely to offer tours.
  • It’s because there’s a lot of confidential information inside the building, Apple CEO Tim Cook said.

Shareholders at Apple’s annual meeting on Tuesday got to experience the new Steve Jobs Theater on Apple’s recently opened $5 billion campus, Apple Park, but they didn’t get to see inside the main “spaceship” building.

So one shareholder asked CEO Tim Cook: When can we get a tour of Apple Park?

The answer: Probably never. Because there are secrets inside the spaceship.

“The problem with opening up the main facility for tours is we have so much confidential stuff around. It’s sort of the bane of my existence to hold things confidential now,” Cook said.

Cook’s answer echoes Apple head designer Jony Ive’s comments on the building from last year, in which he called it “our house.”

“We didn’t make Apple Park for other people,” Ive said. “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 don’t.”

Basically, you’re not going to get to experience the inside of the building without being an employee with an Apple badge.

If you have a meeting at Apple, you’re generally not allowed to explore the place, according to people who have discussed business at Apple headquarters. And Instagram photos from the interior of the building posted by employees started being deleted or removed as soon as Business Insider published a handful of links earlier this month.

“I’ll send you a picture” of the inside, Cook joked with the shareholder.

The AR experience Tim Cook was talking about.
Kif Leswing

However, Apple did build a place for tourists on its new campus — it’s across the street.

The Apple Park visitor’s center is a combination of an Apple store, a cafe, and a shrine to all things Apple.

Fans and tourists are “the reason we created the visitor’s center, which has the AR experience. If you haven’t been to this, I’d really encourage you to do it,” Cook said. The AR experience includes a scale model of Apple Park that you can animate with an iPad camera.

“The roof deck gives you a nice visual. We created that to give Apple users and Apple fans to get them as close to the park itself,” he continued. From the roof deck, you can see part of the spaceship through the trees.

The visitor’s center is nice, and it has some products that aren’t available anywhere else, including t-shirts, postcards, and Apple-branded baby wear.

But it’s not the inside of Apple Park. Take a limited peek here.

T-shirts exclusive to Apple Park.
Kif Leswing