Apple takes security to highest level for Sept. 9 event


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.
Apple is taking security for its big Sept. 9 event to a new level. Phones are being searched, cameras are covered in special tape and everyone is "super-paranoid." Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

With less than 24 hours to go, security precautions for Apple’s big press event Tuesday have been taken to unprecedented levels.

Apple has wired the entire event auditorium — the Flint Center for the Performing Arts — with a brand new, state-of-the-art security system to lock down access and prevent leaks.

The auditorium is crawling with 24-hour security personnel. Anyone working at the massive show, from caterers to construction staff and technicians, is required to submit their phones to Apple’s security team. The phones’ cameras are being covered in special tamper-proof tape, which changes color if removal is attempted.

“If it changes color, we’ll be fired on the spot,” said one person who is working at the show but asked to remain anonymous.

In addition, Apple security personnel are carefully scrutinizing the phones for unauthorized pictures or messages, looking for any attempts to communicate details of the event to the outside.

“We were told that we should erase anything embarrassing from our phones because security will be going through them with a fine-tooth comb.”

“We were told that we should erase anything embarrassing from our phones because security will be going through them with a fine-tooth comb,” the person said.

Apple has a reputation for being one of the most secretive organizations in the world. Security for Apple’s events is always tight, but this time the precautions appear to be more elaborate than ever.

The Flint Center’s 2,400-seat auditorium sits on the campus of De Anza College, a leafy community college in Cupertino, California, that’s not far from Apple headquarters. The company has revealed some of its most important devices in the theater, including the original Macintosh in 1984 and the first iMac, the machine that kick-started Apple’s comeback.

This time, Apple seems to be going all-out on a big event that will likely see the introduction of two new iPhones and possibly a health/fitness device that could define a new category of wearable smartphone accessories.

For the event, Apple has built a large, special-purpose building next to the Flint Center. Its purpose remains a mystery, but it’s likely for hands-on product demonstrations after the keynote, which will be livestreamed starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

To keep the building’s purpose secret, Apple flew in a team of specialist contractors from the United Kingdom, the anonymous staffer said. The U.K. crew has been working on the building’s exterior for many days but have been kept from having any contact with anyone else working at the show.

Apple conducted rehearsals of its event over the weekend, and the trial runs continue today.

The anonymous staffer has not been allowed anywhere near the outside building, which is strictly off-limits to anyone without authorization.

“We’re not allowed to wander around,” the staffer said.

Indeed, everything is strictly quarantined. Everyone working at the show has been assigned strict roles and areas that they are allowed to access.

“There are no communications in or out,” the staffer said. “Everyone thinks Apple is tapping our phones and monitoring what we say. Everyone is super-paranoid.”

  • Wow, sounds like we might be in for more than we “rumored” for tomorrow. Exciting. AppleTV “set”? New ipads? 4k displays?

    • Ryan Fielding

      I’m thinking bigger…perhaps a fully artificially intelligent robot, or maybe nano tech smart dust that we ingest, and which then self assembles inside the body to form some sort of device… or better than all of that, – a giant statue of Steve Jobs, *with little ones available for personal purchase.

      • lol…

      • JRX

        “I’m thinking bigger…perhaps a fully artificially intelligent robot, or maybe nano tech smart dust that we ingest, and which then self assembles inside the body to form some sort of device.”

        And Apple stock would still go down the next day… :)
        (gotta love wall street)

      • Mike Chu

        So we’ll be turned into apple-borg?

      • Living in todays world, sometimes I feel that I wouldnt mind being assimilated.

      • Guest


  • dbtwothree

    If they don’t come up big, Apple is just asking for unprecedented levels of disappointment. i6/air/pro/jesus will need to revolutionize the game they already revolutionized. The iWatch/time/wearable will need to create a product category unlike current offerings in the wearable space. All these devices need to seamlessly integrate in a way they never have before all while being the most aesthetically pleasing yet. Big task, but if anyone can do it, Cooky’s Crew can.

    • JRX

      Agreed….. in the past, Apple’s hype machine (most of which isn’t even under their control) was awesome for the company immeasurable amounts of free marketing. Today it seems it tends to hurt the company because it has spoiled the critical masses into expecting absolute miracles beyond human ability, and when a great product comes, there’s disappointment and immediate stock price drop.
      (but then they sell millions anyway, so go figure, humans are silly)

  • Matt

    Security is so tight that news of the tightness just flows out by people working there!

  • rvs007

    Too bad they can’t lock down all of China as that’s where most of the last-minute leaks are coming from!

    • aardman

      It’s fair to conjecture that w.r.t tomorrow’s event, the devices aren’t what Apple considers to be the mind-blowing new announcement.

  • Adrayven

    wow.. this suggest to me that we actually don’t know everything about whats going on.. maybe even all the leaks are just fake iPhone 6 android look-a-likes. haha.. unlikely, but would be funny as hell!

    Some bloggers would have some massive egg on their faces.. /cough.. Mark Gurman /cough… haha!

    • PMB01

      Kind of like when everyone thought Apple was gonna do the teardrop design and they ended up releasing the 4S! lol

  • Jeremy D. Ezell

    These insane security measures only serve to build the hype up even more for tomorrow’s event. The leaks have already occurred. Its like crime scene tape and police cordoning off an area: Everyone knows what happened, they are just dying to see how bad it is.

    • JRX

      Those wide plastic antenna divider bands…. I’ve already seen how bad it is…. and I wish I could un-see it.

  • Jorge Dávila

    With all this security you’d think they’re bringing back Steve Jobs in a hologram.

  • Thom Kozik

    What if the reason they needed a special building was to create a special Faraday Cage for whatever wireless creations they’ll be showing off? After all, we know how meticulous Apple is about controlling the environment of their events.

  • HowmaNoid

    They wouldn’t be going to all this trouble if it was just the next iPhone. There’s a new category being announced.

    • Paul

      About time we get a real internet tv?

    • Well stated and +1.
      They should stop having events for iPod/Phone/Pad specbumps, period.
      Only have events for something truly, well, “event worthy”.
      That way, when there *is* an Apple Event®, people will know straightaway
      that’s it’s for something that really is new & different.
      They’re kinda/sorta doing that now with the prep-level for *this* event.
      So this is gonna be something genuinely special & unique.

      • HowmaNoid


    • I can’t help think this is just a publicity stunt to create a news buzz and get everyone talking. Personally I hope there really is something big coming our way. I am excited yet still weary. If this is all a stunt, and it is just the iPhone 6, it will seriously hurt them.

      • Kr00

        Do you read any of the blogs? Apple only need to fart to create a news buzz, not manufacture it. Show me where Apple has ever concocted a stunt just for publicity?

      • HowmaNoid

        The thought of Tim Cook farting on stage has got me giggling like crazy. Where’s Jim Carrey when you need him? LOL..

    • Marcus2012

      They didn’t go this far when the iPad was announced…

      • HowmaNoid

        True that! After this if it’s not something really big people are going to be so pissed.

  • JRX

    I heard that anyone caught with removed phone tape would actually be SHOT on the spot….

    • Colonel Klink’s in charge of that detail.

    • I heard they have snipers all over the roofs ready to xX360NoScOpE#420#BlazeItXx anyone who dares.

  • aaloo

    Good. I don’t want stupid leakers ruining the pleasure I get from watching it unfold live.

  • Noah Sintic

    I would love a new Apple TV. I really want to see the watch, just don’t think it will happen tomorrow. We still have October event.

  • momusicman

    Big building? Something big? Like a car? A joint venture with Elon Musk?

    • Windlasher

      How fun would it be to have them announce something that they were able to keep completely under wraps? Something no one has even mentioned. That would be fun.

      • PMB01

        Kind of like how the new Mac Pro was a complete surprise. Apple is actually capable of doing that still.

    • Kr00

      Nah, they need somewhere to house Bono’s ego.

    • sosarozay300

      maybe they will have that ferrari with carplay in there to demo it and tim cook will drive around the stage waving to everybody

  • Guest

    I like the ‘Hallway’ ad.