On the Sunday before WWDC 2013 was spent in good company, on a road trip to Cupertino. But before we took that, we got ourselves registered. Apple successfully pioneered a new system to streamline the registration process.
In previous years you would have multiple lines, sorted by first letter of surname. At 10 or 11 am you would typically have a line ranging from the desk all the way to the opposite side. The main reason for this division was that the badges had been printed out in advance and so naturally you had to have the appropriate letters queueing. Not so this year.
Amazing Passbook Efficiency
Enabled by the introduction of passbook just a year ago, Apple was able to issue digital passes for all attendees. There was a scanner where you scanned yourself in and the the friendly registrar would check your ID, or rather your face against it. “Nice picture” he said.
Then they would print the badge right then and there, on badge printers that Apple had rented. It said so on a sticker on the top “Rented.”
It was impressed upon me yet another time that they would not be able to re-issue lost badges.
While we were still waiting for other members of the group to finish their registration we could already see the queues substantially thinning and around 10 there where hardly any queues left.
Apple used Passbook to quickly able to identify you and print out the badges. However to use the passes as a general means of entrance would be impractical. Badges allow the security personel to quickly gauge your worthiness: purple for attendees, orange for security, blue for organizers (or so I guess). A foiled and stamped Apple logo would make forgeries even more impossible.
So at least for this year, simplicity prevailed over the technical possibility.
Visiting the Motherships
For visiting 1 Infinite Loop I organized a rental car. Being a social animal I wanted to take this trip in good company and so I got the largest car they’d have, a big SUV with 2 seats up front and twice three seats at the back. That would have cost about $100, but then I also got convinced to get 2 kinds of insurance, which brought the total to be $140.
“Always get insure for rental cars” I was told, and so I did.
The drive down to Cupertino is around 55 minutes, but it wasn’t boring for any minute of that. That’s the advantage of having group dynamics at work. We got there at about half past 12 with the Apple company store already swarming with obvious developers.
On the panorama I shot below the company store is the box to the right of the main entrance.
Next stop on our road trip was the future Apple UFO landing site.
Future Apple UFO Landing Site
Next stop – which I didn’t make it too in previous years – was to drive to the nearby lot that Apple is planning their future headquarter on. I wanted to be able to say that I’ve seen how it looked like when it was still owned by HP.
If anything the lot with the entrance at 19091 Pruneridge Ave, Cupertino looked to me like an entrance to a national park. Tons of trees already on site. Though Apple has promised to plant even more back than there are already present.
I had hoped to be able to take some closer pictures but I would have needed to break the law for that.
The whole area is fenced off, only an empty guard booth is a silent witness that this area once was an Hewlett Packard site. Oh and some old signage. In fact the whole affair is so non-spectacular that I was the only person bothering to get out of the care to snap some shots.
Tesla Model S Test Drive
From seeing Apple engineers tweet about their experiences with the new Tesla Model S I had formed the wish to see one up close and possibly test drive. Some people had tried and failed at that and the general consensus was that we didn’t have any chance. But since it turned out the the close-by Tesla dealership would be open on Sunday I figured we should ask.
As luck would have it somebody had cancelled their test drive for 2 pm and we grabbed that via telephone while still on our way to 1IL. Because of this appointment we decided to postpone lunch which we had originally thought of doing right after the Apple shopping. Hunger can wait, a Tesla test drive appointment couldn’t.
Embedded between many of the shops of our iCatalog clients, we found lies the Tesla the show room. We arrived with lots of time to space so we were able to get two groups in to take a 20 minute drive over the nearby freeway and back.
No, I didn’t actually get to drive myself, Tesla requires a US or international driver’s license for that. But I preferred to film the entire spin from the back seat. (Video to follow)
Psyched by the drive we rushed back to the Tesla store some of the guys wanted to get a T-shirt. I can relate, though I was prevented to get a Tesla T-Shirt myself, since they were fresh out of Medium.
Let’s get some BJ’s
Countless people on Twitter informed me about how funny I was being mentioning BJ’s on Twitter. Hahaha, as if I didn’t know as to this other meaning. Boys will be boys.
Being famished after the Tesla adventure we returned to the original plan of having late lunch at the restaurant right across from the Apple HQ main entrance. I am speaking if course of BJ’s Brewhouse & Restaurant.
The consensus on the foot was that it ranked very high on our deliciousness scale. Actually, this scale might even go to 11. I had blackened salmon, while other other guys had some form of burger and beer. The right place for that.
I can understand why BJ’s got so highly recommended that we chose it. And due to our Tesla detour it turns out that we just missed a mad rush of customers. One informant who happened to be there around 2 reported a 45 minute wait for her food. We – on the other hand – didn’t experience any uncomfortable waiting time.
Still being full from the late lunch I decided to substitute desert for dinner. So we stopped by the Cheesecake factory on our way back from Hertz to our hotel. Mango key lime pie. Yummy!
A cheese cake might just be THE perfect ending for an otherwise fun and exciting day.
Many thanks to @Cocoanetics for organizing the best Sunday WWDC trip today. Apple HQ, Tesla test drive, good food, great times! – John Haney