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
124 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
124 months ago
They have the money, why not make something amazing.
Score: 70 Votes (Like | Disagree)
idkew Avatar
124 months ago
Steve's dead. Be sane and move on.
Score: 55 Votes (Like | Disagree)
davie18 Avatar
124 months ago
They should make the pond in the centre the shape of the apple logo.
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MattJessop Avatar
124 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
124 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)

Popular Stories

iOS 16

Apple Releases iOS 16.0.2 With Bug Fixes for iPhone 14 Pro Camera Vibration, Copy/Paste Issue and More

Thursday September 22, 2022 1:04 pm PDT by
Apple today released iOS 16.0.2, addressing a number of bugs that iPhone 14 owners have been experiencing since the new devices launched. iOS 16.0.2 comes two weeks after the launch of iOS 16, and it follows iOS 16.0.1, an update made available to iPhone 14 owners on launch day. The update is available for all iPhones that are capable of running iOS 16. The iOS 16.0.2 update can be...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Don't Want the Apple Watch Ultra or Series 8? Amazon Has Record Low Prices on Series 7 Models This Week

Friday September 23, 2022 6:56 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra are now available to purchase, but if you aren't interested in these updates you can save a lot of money on Series 7 models right now on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. The best deals are on cellular...
Dynamic Island For Android Users Feature

Android App Copying iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island Released on Play Store

Thursday September 22, 2022 7:57 am PDT by
A copycat version of the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island has arrived on Android's Google Play Store in the form of an app called "dynamicSpot." The app, still in beta, offers customers several different experiences at the top of their smartphones. In its current form, dynamicSpot offers playback control for songs, timers, battery status, and more features coming soon, according to the app's...
maxresdefault

Video Review: Four Days With the iPhone 14 Pro Max

Wednesday September 21, 2022 7:49 am PDT by
Apple on Friday released the new iPhone 14 models, and MacRumors videographer Dan picked one up on launch day. He's been using the iPhone 14 Pro Max non-stop since it came out, and over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, has shared his initial thoughts on the day-to-day experience with the latest iPhone. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Dan's mini review highlights...
14 vs 16 inch mbp m2 pro and max feature 1

New 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pros Reportedly Launching Later This Year

Friday September 23, 2022 7:08 am PDT by
Apple plans to release new MacBook Pro models in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report does not mention specific models, but it very likely refers to the next-generation 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros given that the 13-inch model was already updated earlier this year. There has been uncertainty surrounding the timing of new 14-inch and...
facebook meta

Meta Sued Over Tracking iPhone Users Despite Apple's Privacy Features

Thursday September 22, 2022 5:12 am PDT by
Meta is facing a new proposed class action lawsuit that accuses it of tracking and collecting the personal data of iPhone users, despite features and policies made by Apple which are meant to stop that same type of tracking. In August, it was revealed that with the Facebook and Instagram apps, Meta can track all of a user's key taps, keyboard inputs, and more, when using the in-app browser....
AirPods Max 2022 Colors

Ten Things AirPods Pro 2 Tell Us About AirPods Max 2

Saturday September 24, 2022 1:00 am PDT by
Upon the release of the second-generation AirPods Pro, the AirPods Max became the oldest current-generation AirPods product still in Apple's lineup. Introducing several new features like Adaptive Transparency and the H2 chip, the second-generation AirPods Pro may provide some of the best indications yet of what to expect from the second-generation AirPods Max. Almost two years later, rumors...
new airpods pro ear tips

Apple Explains Why Second-Generation AirPods Pro Ear Tips Are Incompatible With Original AirPods Pro

Thursday September 22, 2022 3:12 pm PDT by
Apple today explained why the new silicone ear tips for the second-generation AirPods Pro are not officially compatible with the original AirPods Pro. In an updated support document, Apple said the original AirPods Pro ear tips have "noticeably denser mesh" than the second-generation ear tips. Apple did not provide any additional details, but the mesh density could result in acoustical...
AirPods Pro Second Generation 2 Pairing Feature 1

AirPods Pro 2 Engravings Appear in iOS During Pairing and Connecting

Friday September 23, 2022 9:40 am PDT by
Customers who personalize their second-generation AirPods Pro charging case with an engraving will now have that engraving reflected directly on iOS as they pair and connect their AirPods Pro. Apple allows customers to personalize their AirPods Pro charging case with a special engraving that can include select emojis and Memojis. Unlike before, starting with the second-generation AirPods...