Business First Look

The new Apple campus will have a 1,000-seat theater in honor of Steve Jobs

But the process of building the new headquarters shows that the company retains the exacting standards that characterized its founder.

This is an artist's rendering of the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park. Opening later this year, the entrance to the 1,000-seat auditorium is a 20-foot-tall glass cylinder, 165 feet in diameter, supporting a metallic carbon-fiber roof. The Steve Jobs Theater is situated atop a hill, one of the highest points within Apple Park, overlooking meadows and the main building.
Courtesy of Apple
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In June 2011, Steve Jobs showed the Cupertino, California city council plans for a vast, sleek new Apple headquarters.

Almost five years later, as that campus approaches completion in April, Apple has announced that its 1,000-seat auditorium will be named for Jobs, who passed away in October of 2011.

“Steve’s vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told the Associated Press on Thursday.

Apple’s announcement comes as the company tries to maintain its competitive edge without its visionary founder.

In many respects, it’s succeeding. When the iPhone reaches its 10th birthday this June, it will have sold at least 1.2 billion units. Analyst Horace Dediu expects total revenue from iOS products to reach $1 trillion sometime this year. When Jobs pitched Apple’s new headquarters in 2011, the company’s shares were trading in the $40 to $50 range. Today, they’re around $136.

Nonetheless, some see cause for concern. The company’s revenue fell for three straight quarters in 2016 before snapping back in the first quarter of this year.

Some observers think that it’s grown too dependent on iPhone sales. Last month, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd asked Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel to confirm or deny the statement, “The age of Apple is over.”

“Confirm,” he replied. “We know what a smartphone looks like and does. It’s not the fault of Tim Cook, but it’s not an area where there will be any more innovation.”

Time will tell whether Apple can still prosper under its current business model. But the process of building the new headquarters, designed by world-renowned London architectural firm Foster + Partners, shows that the company retains the exacting standards that characterized its founder. As The Christian Science Monitor reported last month:

This attention to detail that Apple demanded of its construction workers, managers, architects, and others offers a window into the compulsive habits of the company and its founder, Mr. Jobs, which has driven its success. From perfectly flat doorways with no thresholds to unseen pipes and wiring, Apple required flawlessness in every aspect of the project.

Standards like these delayed the opening date by two years and raised the total price tag to about $5 billion. And not everyone is pleased with the design. When it was first announced, Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne took issue with the 175-acre campus’s “sprawling form and dependence on the car.”

But the team that Jobs assembled seems pleased with the final result.

“Steve invested so much of his energy creating and supporting vital, creative environments,” Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, said in a statement reported by Reuters. “We have approached the design, engineering and making of our new campus with the same enthusiasm and design principles that characterize our products."

This report contains material from Reuters.