Here’s the mystery building Apple is crafting for its big reveal

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Apple's latest mystery is its biggest yet. Literally.

CUPERTINO, California -- What's inside the mystery building Apple is fabricating for its big September 9 event? The giant construction project is almost as big of an enigma as what the iWatch will actually look like or do.

The boxy structure, which sprang up behind the Flint Center for the Performing Arts here on the De Anza College campus, looks like a cross between an igloo and a winning confection on Cake Wars. Naturally, the enormous two-to-three story building sparked intense curiosity among the Apple faithful when pictures emerged Thursday, so we had to go take a look for ourselves.

Will it hold something as mundane as a demo area where tech journalists can fondle Apple's latest, greatest gear? Does it contain a full-size home of the future to show off amazing HomeKit implementations? Will it house a runway for an Apple wearables fashion show or a giant stage for a post-announcement Dr. Dre concert?

Whatever it holds, it is truly a massive undertaking. It's surrounded by green fences and countless security guards. We, like you, can't wait for Apple's big reveal — here's what we saw walking around the outskirts of the secretive project Thursday afternoon.

Something big is brewing

The temporary venue where Apple will hold its September 9 press event sits directly outside the 2,405-seat Flint Center, which is notable for its role in Apple history: The company has revealed some of its most important devices in the theater, which is tucked away on a quiet community college campus just a couple miles away from Apple HQ.

"There have only been two milestone products in our industry: the Apple II in 1977 and the IBM PC in 1981," Jobs said at the Flint Center in 1984. "Today, one year after Lisa, we are introducing the third industry milestone product: Macintosh."

Hook you up

Apple is definitely laying the groundwork for something big on September 9: Workers are running a fair amount of power from generators outside the fence that surrounds the construction site, which is set up with table saws and other tools of the building trades.

Behind the fencing and hidden from prying eyes, the workers are building something on the site. The huge, pristine structure also features a stage that could host a concert or iWatch fitness demonstration.

Box me

No one can fill a big white box quite like Apple. We can imagine the iDevice of our dreams jumping out of this one: Will it be the iPhone 6? Or how about the long-awaited iWatch? Perhaps it will be something totally new that the rumor mill hasn't even dreamed up yet.

Fort Apple

Most of the trucks on campus appeared to be generic white rentals, but we spotted one with a sign indicating it was owned by Devcon Construction. Was the company hired to build this tantalizing structure for Apple? Devcon is known around Silicon Valley for building sleek, modern, high-tech campuses for companies including Adobe, Cisco and Yahoo!

Cult of Mac contacted Devcon's vice president of construction but did not receive a reply by press time. Workers on the super-secret Apple project know the secrecy drill, though, and were very tight-lipped about the goings-on at the construction site. Security was tight.

All photos: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac. Additional reporting by Nicole Martinelli.

Woz: Nobody on the Macintosh team wanted to work under Jobs again

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Steve Jobs has an enormous reputation for eking out every last drop of performance from his talented employees, but even in the early days of Apple, that maniacal drive for success came with the huge trade-off of driving away his closest friends that built the Macintosh with him.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak gave a brief interview with the Milwaukee Business Journal claiming his relationship with Jobs has been portrayed inaccurately by the media. The Apple co-founders have always been friends and Woz says the two never had an argument, but Woz can’t say the same for the other top engineers at Apple.

9 astonishing Apple ads you probably missed

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From sledgehammer-tossing freedom fighters to misunderstood teenagers at Christmas, Apple’s TV commercials have hit us with some truly iconic imagery over the years. But when a company has been around since the 1970s, it’s no great surprise that a select few ads would slip our collective memory.

After scouring through hundreds of big-time commercials and tiny TV spots that promoted Cupertino’s products over the years, here are our picks for the Apple advertisements that time forgot. All of them are worthy of a second look — and almost all of them for the right reasons.

Why Steve Jobs replaced the Mac’s  key with ⌘

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Graphic designer Susan Kare is iconic — literally. The mastermind behind the friendly 32 x 32 and 16 x 16 icons used in the original Mac operating system, Kare’s work has reached more people than almost any other graphic designer on Earth.

Yet the way she stumbled into designing the icons for the Mac operating system was pretty much a lark, and in a recent presentation at the EG conference in California, Kare spoke a little bit about how she stumbled into the job.

It’s a fascinating talk, not just for the details she shares about early Mac operating system development, but also because Kare finally reveals why Apple switched from the Apple symbol to the Command key.

From the Mac to the iPhone: Steve Jobs patent exhibit opens in Denver

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Steve Jobs introduces the smartphone than changed smartphones.
Steve Jobs introduces the smartphone than changed smartphones.

A new exhibit showcasing hundreds of original Apple patents has opened in Denver.

Entitled “Patents and Trademarks of Steve Jobs: Art and Technology that Changed the World,” the display offers a rare opportunity to look over some of the most influential and important patents in recent tech history — ranging from the original Macintosh through the iPhone.

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet says that the exhibit, “provides a unique glimpse into one of our country’s most iconic innovators, highlighting Jobs’ wide-ranging portfolio and lasting influence on modern technology.”