The Most Interesting Part of Apple's New $5 Billion Campus Is a Pizza Box

Image: USPTO
Image: USPTO

This morning, Wired magazine published an early look into Apple’s brand new spaceship campus. The giant circle features the kinds of ridiculous details you might expect from Apple, like sliding glass doors that weigh 440,000 pounds each and 9,000 trees supposedly durable enough to survive the forthcoming climate crisis.

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Such details are impressive, but they’re child’s play when it comes to another revelation, one that is most certainly the company’s greatest new innovation since the iPhone.

That’s right, motherfuckers: A patented pizza box.

Yes, Apple employees are so special that they require a circular pizza box to bring the café’s pizza back to their desks. According to Wired, the box was designed in part by Frencesco Longoni, the head of Apple Park café. It was constructed to prevent pizzas from going soggy. (The patent for the box was also published in 2012 and filed in 2010, which means Apple waited a disconcertingly long time to reveal their Special Box.)

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Here’s the quote Wired included from Jony Ive, Apple’s design guru, that comes right after the description of the Special Box. It’s not clear whether he’s actually referring to the Special Box, but we dearly hope he is:

“We’re amortizing this in an entirely different way,” Ive says. “We don’t measure this in terms of numbers of people. We think about it in terms of the future. The goal was to create an experience and an environment that felt like a reflection of who we are as a company. This is our home, and everything we make in the future is going to start here.”

The secret to this innovation (which, by the way, is definitely an innovation, and not an expertly placed public relations tidbit used to distract from other documented fuckery)? Eight punchcard-sized holes in the top of the box, which let steam out while also retaining most of the heat.

[Wired]

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Technology editor at Gizmodo.

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DISCUSSION

“ ...punchcard-sized holes... “

Reader’s guide for young people: until around 1975 or so punched cards were a principle means of data storage and input. Information was encoded as a pattern of 1-3 punches in a heavy paper card. In its standard format each card held 80 characters, sometimes (but not always) also printed at the top. Stacks of these cards were loaded into a reader, where metal fingers or later photocells read the data.

Punched cards have a storied history, going back to the 18th century where they were used to control semi-automated looms. The company that would become IBM got its start in 1896 using punched cards to tabulate census data for the government. Whole information systems were built around the cards, including electromechanical tabulating machines that could do simple math and print formatted reports. The cards were still in widespread use in 1970, but other media such as magnetic tape began to replace them.

My own personal punch card: in the summer of 1969 between my sophomore and junior year at the University of Maryland at College Park (go Terps!) I worked at a data processing place. The company was converting their credit operation from manual to computer, and my job was to run seven million (!) cards through a tabulating machine. It was an interesting summer.

IBM 402 tabulating machine:

They were “programmed” using these patch panels; the wires linked selected card columns to accumulators and output positions on the printer: