fake beats by dr dre headphones A glimpse into Apple University
By BRIAN X. CHEN The New York Times
CUPERTINO, Calif. Apple may well be the only tech company on the planet that would dare compare itself to Picasso.
In a class at the company’s internal training program, the so called Apple University, the instructor likened the 11 lithographs that make up Picasso’s “The Bull” to the way Apple builds its smartphones and other devices. The idea: Apple designers strive for simplicity just as Picasso eliminated details to create a great work of art.
Steve Jobs established Apple University as a way to inculcate employees into Apple’s business culture and educate them about its history, particularly as the company grew and the tech business changed. Courses are not required, only recommended, but getting new employees to enroll is rarely a problem.
Even two of Apple’s newest employees Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, founders of Beats, just acquired by Apple might end up going back to school in Cupertino, though neither Apple nor Beats would comment.
Although many companies have such internal programs sometimes referred to as indoctrination Apple’s version is a topic of speculation and fascination in the tech world.
It is highly secretive and rarely written about, referred to briefly in the biography of Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Apple employees are discouraged from talking about the company in general, and the classes are no exception. No pictures of the classrooms have surfaced publicly. And a spokeswoman for Apple declined to make instructors available for interviews.
But three employees who have taken classes agreed to speak to The New York Times on the condition that they not be identified. They described a program that is an especially vivid reflection of Apple and the image it presents to the world. Like an Apple product, it is meticulously planned, with polished presentations and a gleaming veneer that masks a great deal of effort.
Unlike many corporations, Apple runs its training in house, year round. Some faculty members come from universities like Yale, Harvard, University of California at Berkeley, Stanford and MIT, and some continue to hold positions at their schools while working for Apple.
The classes are taught on Apple’s campus in a section of buildings called City Center and are as thoughtfully planned as an Apple product, the Apple employees said. The rooms are well lit and constructed in a trapezoid shape; seats in the back rows are elevated so that everyone has a clear view of the instructor. Occasionally, classes are given in Apple’s overseas offices.
Randy Nelson, who came from the animation studio Pixar, co founded by Jobs, is one of the teachers of “Communicating at Apple.” This course, which is open to various levels of employees, focuses on clear communication, not just for making products intuitive, but also for sharing ideas with peers and marketing products.
In a version of the class taught last year, Nelson showed a slide of “The Bull,” a series of 11 lithographs of a bull that Picasso created over about a month, starting in late 1945. In the early stages, the bull has a snout, shoulder shanks and hooves, but over the iterations, those details vanish. The last image is a curvy stick figure that is still unmistakably a bull.
“You go through more iterations until you can simply deliver your message in a very concise way, and that is true to the Apple brand and everything we do,” recalled one person who took the course.
In “What Makes Apple, Apple,” another course that Nelson occasionally teaches, he showed a slide of the remote control for the Google TV, said an employee who took the class last year. The remote has 78 buttons. Then, the employee said, Nelson displayed a photo of the Apple TV remote, a thin piece of metal with just three buttons.
How did Apple’s designers decide on three buttons? They started out with an idea, Nelson explained, and debated until they had just what was needed a button to play and pause a video, a button to select something to watch, and another to go to the main menu.