Visiting Apple, Inc – Cupertino
Silicon Valley is a popular tourist attraction, especially for all those interested in technological and computers. The Valley is a general geographical area not a city or town and is bordered on the Southeast by the Coast Range, on the west by the Santa Cruz Mountains and on the east by the San Francisco Bay. Before it became the unofficial world headquarters for the technology sector it was covered with fruit orchards of all kinds and was then known by the moniker “Valley of Heart’s Delight”.
The region houses the headquarters of numerous top high tech companies including many listed in the Fortune 1000 including:
• And of course Apple, Inc.
A Brief History of Apple, Inc.
Steven Wozniak, who developed a sophisticated calculator at 13 years old, originally designed the prototype for the Apple I. He was working at Hewlett Packard at the time and his friend Steve Jobs was at Atari. After creating a much better version, Wozniak approached the heads of both companies, neither of whom believed there would ever be a demand for a personal computer. Convinced there would be such a demand, Jobs convinced Wozniak to work with to start a company and develop a better prototype. The original “company” was located in Job’s family garage once his father had removed the car and his restoration equipment. Apple’s first manufacturing surface consisted of an old wooden bench.
When they couldn’t find backers they decided to build the computer themselves. Selling personal possession to obtain the necessary funds, they completed the Apple I and began shopping it around. Their first order for 50 computers came from a small computer shop, The Byte Store. All were built by the pair in the garage.
When the Apple II was completed, Jobs raised money to hire a marketing firm. After several months they couldn’t keep the computers in stock. Officially incorporated in 1977, Apple Inc. is now a multi-billion dollar business producing electronic equipment that has transformed the way we communicate, advertise and listen to music. Their reported revenue for the 2011 fiscal year was $108.25 billion.
Touring the Mothership
Serious fans of Apple frequently want to tour the head quarter campus also known as the Mothership. Unfortunately no tours are permitted inside the Headquarters or outside around the grounds unless arranged through special invitation. At best, you can take some pictures from the outside, though you might want to bring a telephoto lens.
While perhaps you can tour the secret labs where they produce the products the world stands in line to buy, there is a company store that’s open to the public. Originally the employee store it was later turned into what was predominantly a book store and opened to the public as a concession to all the disappointed fans who are surprised to find they can’t tour any or the campus. It’s somewhat different from normal Apple retail stores in that it doesn’t sell Macs, iPhones or iPods, nor does it have a genius bar or workshops. They do sell iPads if you’re in the market as well as software and accessories. If your iPhone suddenly stops working though, this would not be the place to have it checked out. The cashiers really are cashiers not disguised Apple computer techs.
However, the store is the only place worldwide that sells products with the Apple logo. This includes a wide variety of shirts and other clothing, hats and accessories, and souvenir items like pens, mugs, notebooks, and water bottles. The prices on the clothes and souvenirs are relatively low but don’t expect a deal on an iPad.
Other Activities and Attractions in the Area
While many come to Silicon Valley exclusively to view the world famous companies, there are other activities for the whole family should you want a break from all the technology. Some of the most popular include:
• Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium
• Air Ship Ventures – zeppelin rids
• Computer History Museum
• Children’s Discovery Museum
• Roaring Camp Railroads
• Water Activities
• Golfing – numerous golf courses in the area
Where to Stay During Your Visit
While are a number of hotels in the area, if looking for a nice hotel that won’t break the bank the Camino Inn and Suites is an ideal choice. Voted a Best Value Hotel the Inn is located in Mountain View, right in the heart of Silicon Valley and close to the Santa Cruz Mountains. In addition, this hotel is near many attractions, activities and many of the major high tech companies. (While most don’t offer tours, there are tours that will take you around to your choice of sites and provide information about the company in a historical context.)
Rooms and Hotel Amenities at the Inn include:
• Satellite Television
• Hair Dryers
• Mini Refrigerator
• In-room Coffee
• Kitchenettes (some rooms)
• Hot Tubs (some rooms)
• Complimentary Wi-Fi
• Deluxe Continental Breakfast
• Business Center
• Fitness Center
• Banquet & Meeting Rooms
The Inn also offers specials and discounts throughout the year. They currently have special packages available which include reduced prices tickets for either California Great Adventures or the Winchester Mystery house. Whenever you visit Silicon Valley let our Inn become your home away from home.