Apple’s new office is a head-wrecker

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5 March 2018 | 0

Billy MacInnesOne thing we know about the future is that there are always casualties that failed to prepare or modernise and were left floundering in innovation’s wake. It’s very easy to get left behind when you’re not ready for what’s coming. The history of IT is littered with companies that failed to keep pace with change and paid the ultimate price.

On the other side of the fence, there are also plenty of businesses that have come to grief because they prepared for a future that didn’t have the decency to turn up after betting on technology that was either too innovative or not innovative enough.

It can be hard to strike the right balance.

Back in the 80s, a US group called Timbuk3 had a big hit with a quirky song called The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades. The song has endured longer in my mind than it should mainly because IBM saw fit to select it as the theme tune for an AS/400 event held in Rochester, Minnesota. The sight of IBMers wearing shades as they sang along to the song, extolling the virtues of the AS/400 (yes, it was as literal as that) is indelibly etched in my mind to the point where I feel confident it will provide a notable opening scene for a particularly gruesome nightmare at some point in my life.

Anyway, the point is that bright futures need good shades. Unless you’re looking to the far-flung horizons beyond tomorrow, of course, in which case the shades might make it difficult to see clearly.

Sometimes, however, you can be so busy looking out to the horizon that you don’t see what’s right in front of your face.

Just ask Apple. It has spent $5 billion creating Apple Park, an amazing, futuristic, spaceship-like headquarters in Cupertino, California. Speaking about the building in 2011, Steve Jobs said: “We have a shot at building the best office building in the world. I really do think that architecture students will come here to see it.”

But that’s the problem, seeing it. Because Apple Park only uses glass for its walls, people are finding it hard to see where the doors are. The result, as The Guardian reports, is that at least three Apple employees walked or ran into the glass so hard that they needed emergency medical treatment in the first month it was operational.

For people looking at it from the outside, Apple Park probably does look a lot like the future. But as those people bumping into walls and doors are finding out, even if you can see the future, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to get to.

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