Apple employees tell fascinating stories about 1 Infinite Loop

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Infinite Loop
A new oral history of Infinite Loop is a treasure trove for Apple fans.
Photo: Ryan B/Flickr CC

One of Apple’s pre-eminent historians, tech journalist Steven Levy, dropped an Apple history treasure trove over the weekend.

Published by Wired, the oral history of Apple’s Infinite Loop campus features contributions from a whole lot of Apple employees, both past and present. Want to hear Eddy Cue talk Steve Jobs’ pizza preferences? Or how Tim Cook crossed the picket line on Day One of his job at Apple? Here are some of my favorite highlights:

Phil Schiller on the early days

“There were no cell phones, not even Wi-Fi. We didn’t get all our news on the internet yet, so the drop of magazines was a big deal to everybody. Somebody would go around with the mail cart of everybody’s magazines, and we’d get our Macworlds and MacWeeks and look at the rumor column on the back page and say, ‘Uh, oh, what leaked?'”

Tim Cook’s first day

“My first day at work I had to cross a picket line to get in the building — they are out with signs and yelling and I’m asking myself, ‘What have I done?’ I learned that it was because Steve decided to kill the Newton. I told him there’s protesters outside, and he says, ‘Oh yeah, don’t worry about that.'”

Eddy Cue on Steve Jobs’ weird pizzas

“My first memory of sitting in a meeting in IL1 was with Steve. It was just the two of us up on the fourth floor in the boardroom. We started at 10. I was working on the online store and we were trying to come up with all the things associated with it. By 1, he says, ‘Hey, are you hungry, because I am.’ Six pizzas came in. I’m like, ‘OK, they must have not known which kind we wanted so they provided a bunch.’

“I took the first one and it was pizza dough with tomato sauce and onions, no cheese or anything else. The next one, same thing. So I’m like, ‘All right, now I get it — the first three are his.’ I open the fourth one — same thing. Six pizzas, all dough and tomatoes and onions. That’s how I discovered that his idea of pizza and my idea of pizza were definitely something different.”

Scott Forstall on the iPhone’s origins

“One day Steve and I were having lunch outside at Caffè Macs and we both flipped open our phones to check something. We looked around and saw that almost everyone around us was carrying a phone, and they were all horrible. Steve looked at me and said, ‘Do you think the technology we’re building for the tablet could be used to build something that could fit in your pocket?’ We prototyped something and that was the beginning of the iPhone.”

Tim Cook on leaving Steve Jobs’ office the way it was when he died

“We locked up Steve’s office. I would not have moved into his office, and no one has. I decided early on it didn’t feel right to change that office at all. There are some personal things he had in there that are now with Laurene. But it’s the same desk and chair, credenza, bookcase.

“As a matter of fact, there’s still drawings on the whiteboard that his daughter did. Last summer she came by, and I showed her the stuff that she had drawn. You can still feel him in there, because I saw him in there so much. Some people go to the grave site to reflect on someone. I don’t do it frequently, but I go to his office.”

There are more stories like this one

These anecdotes are really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the story. Although it traces the timeline of 1 Infinite Loop from its opening in 1993, it’s more of an oral history of what happened at Apple during that time. Needless to say, there’s a whole lot of content.

Earlier this year, Apple officially changed its official corporate address to Apple Park, after moving around 12,000 of its employees into its gigantic new campus.

Make sure that you read Levy’s whole article here. Particularly if you’re an Apple history geek, this is a really fun — and, occasionally, poignant — tribute to a big piece of Apple’s past.