Steve Jobs' Requirements for 'Fit and Finish' Leading to Massive Cost Overruns for Apple's New Campus

In a lengthy report today, Bloomberg Businessweek takes a look at Apple's upcoming "spaceship" campus in Cupertino, noting that the project is currently one year behind schedule and roughly $2 billion over budget.

Since 2011, the budget for Apple’s Campus 2 has ballooned from less than $3 billion to nearly $5 billion, according to five people close to the project who were not authorized to speak on the record. If their consensus estimate is accurate, Apple’s expansion would eclipse the $3.9 billion being spent on the new World Trade Center complex in New York, and the new office space would run more than $1,500 per square foot—three times the cost of many top-of-the-line downtown corporate towers.

According to the report, Apple is working to shave $1 billion from the cost of the project before beginning construction.

apple_campus_2_rendering
Bloomberg Businessweek pins much of the responsibility for the cost issues on Steve Jobs, whose insistence on design and construction quality as well as unusual and expensive construction methods have defined the project.

The true expense of the campus lies not in green tech, though, as much as the materials—as well as what product designers call “fit and finish.” As with Apple’s products, Jobs wanted no seam, gap, or paintbrush stroke showing; every wall, floor, and even ceiling is to be polished to a supernatural smoothness. All of the interior wood was to be harvested from a specific species of maple, and only the finer-quality “heartwood” at the center of the trees would be used, says one person briefed on the plan last year.

Among other unique details contributing to project costs:

- 6 square kilometers of curved glass manufactured by Seele in Germany using specialized processes to prevent clouding or distortions. Seele has doubled the size of its production facility to accommodate the project.

- Per Jobs' orders, gaps between surfaces should be no more than 1/32 of an inch, far tighter than the typical 1/8 inch standard in U.S. construction.

- Polished concrete ceilings are to be cast in molds and then raised into position to ensure uniformity, rather than being cast in place. The requirement "left one person involved in the project speechless."

The report notes that investors concerned over Apple's falling stock price and looking for the company to return more cash to shareholders are questioning Apple's commitment to following through on Jobs' vision for the new campus. The company may, however, have little choice in the matter if it seeks to maintain its image as an iconic and visionary company in the post-Jobs era.

Top Rated Comments

Cloudsurfer Avatar
112 months ago
They have 140 billion on the bank. They can afford it. I hope they stay true to the vision of Jobs.
Score: 103 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kissaragi Avatar
112 months ago
They have the money, why not make something amazing.
Score: 70 Votes (Like | Disagree)
idkew Avatar
112 months ago
Steve's dead. Be sane and move on.
Score: 55 Votes (Like | Disagree)
davie18 Avatar
112 months ago
They should make the pond in the centre the shape of the apple logo.
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MattJessop Avatar
112 months ago
I've gotta be honest, the level of dedication and perfection they put into this should match what they claim to do for products. They have the money, so I say why not.

Is it the most efficient way to spend the money? No. But that drive for perfection should really be embodied in every facet of the company if thats the standard you expect, including the building. That's what I like about Apple, the tiny little details that make such a difference.
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
peteullo Avatar
112 months ago
These are the things you have to love about Steve Jobs... He was always strived for perfection. Impressive!
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
gradiente iphone white

Brazilian Electronics Company Revives Long-Running iPhone Trademark Dispute

Tuesday May 19, 2020 1:06 pm PDT by
Apple has been involved in a long-running iPhone trademark dispute in Brazil, which was revived today by IGB Electronica, a Brazilian consumer electronics company that originally registered the "iPhone" name in 2000. IGB Electronica fought a multi-year battle with Apple in an attempt to get exclusive rights to the "iPhone" trademark, but ultimately lost, and now the case has been brought to...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Premium Subscribers Can Now Use iOS Picture-in-Picture: Here's How

Wednesday August 25, 2021 3:55 am PDT by
Google has rolled out picture-in-picture support as an "experimental" feature for YouTube premium subscribers, allowing them to watch video in a small window when the app is closed. If you're a premium YouTube subscriber looking to try out picture-in-picture, follow these steps: Launch a web browser and sign into your YouTube account at YouTube.com. Navigate to www.youtube.com/new. Scroll...
2012macpro

Apple Outlines Metal-Capable Cards Compatible With macOS Mojave on 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro Models

Monday September 24, 2018 3:26 pm PDT by
Apple's new macOS Mojave update is not compatible with mid-2010 and mid-2012 Mac Pros with stock GPUs, but it is supported on 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro models that have been upgraded with graphics cards that support Metal. Apple today shared a new support document that provides a list of graphics cards that are Metal-capable, which will be useful for 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro owners who want to...
apple privacy

Apple Publishes FAQ to Address Concerns About CSAM Detection and Messages Scanning

Monday August 9, 2021 1:50 am PDT by
Apple has published a FAQ titled "Expanded Protections for Children" which aims to allay users' privacy concerns about the new CSAM detection in iCloud Photos and communication safety for Messages features that the company announced last week. "Since we announced these features, many stakeholders including privacy organizations and child safety organizations have expressed their support of...
iphone 13 teal with text

Apple Expecting iPhone and iPad Supply Constraints in September Quarter

Tuesday July 27, 2021 2:34 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call covering the third fiscal quarter of 2021 (second calendar quarter), Apple CFO Luca Maesteri said that Apple is expecting supply constraints to affect the iPhone and the iPad in the coming quarter. "The supply constraints that we've seen in the June quarter will be higher in the September quarter," said Maestri. The constraints will impact iPhone and iPad sales...
anker lightning cable mfi

Unwrap a New Apple Device? Stock Up on Extra Certified Lightning Cables for as Little as $6

Monday December 25, 2017 5:45 am PST by
If you unwrapped an Apple product today it likely came with one of the company's first-party Lightning cables, but having an extra on hand is always a good idea, so you can place it in other rooms in your house, in your car, or in a bag when you travel. For that reason, now's a good time to shop for third-party Lightning cables that are cheaper than Apple's own accessory, but still Made For...
apple screen time screen icons

Persistent Kids Finding Loopholes in Apple's Screen Time Limits

Tuesday October 15, 2019 9:44 am PDT by
Apple is currently engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with persistent kids looking to circumvent Screen Time restrictions, but the company has been receiving some criticism for not moving quickly enough to lock down some of the loopholes, reports The Washington Post. A few of the loopholes and ways for parents to shut them down are documented on the site Protect Young Eyes, while these and...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...