A visit to Apple

Friday, February 23, 2007 at 8:40 PM

Posted by Scott Knaster, Mac Team Technical Writer

When you start work at Google, you get to choose whether you want a Mac, Windows, or Linux computer. For many new employees who have never used a Mac (or who haven't used one for a long time), this choice represents a chance to try living in Mac OS X. Google provides a supportive environment for users of various operating systems, so newbie Mac users can count on something of a comfort zone. And, just as elsewhere in the world, new Mac users at Google are often won over by Apple's excellent combination of hardware and software.

I spend part of my time at Google writing documentation for Google Checkout, and in that group I work with several of these recent Mac converts. Some of the folks in the group became intrigued with the idea of visiting Apple's headquarters, located just a brief drive down the road, and I mentioned that I could probably convince a couple of Apple friends to host us for lunch in Apple's cafeteria. The Mac newbies thought that was a fine idea, and lunch was arranged.

When the date arrived, my gang and I piled into our cars for the quick trip to Cupertino. We met up with my friends and spent the first part of our visit at Apple's legendary Company Store, where we admired all the new Macs and iPods, and wandered through the selection of Apple-logoed clothing, pens, notebooks, and other chotchkas. Strong willpower kept us from buying too much stuff.

After the store visit, our Google gang entered the main Apple building at 1 Infinite Loop and walked to Caffé Macs. We chose our food from among the sushi, burritos, soups, and other fare that was somewhat Google-like, paused to pay for our lunches (which was not Google-like at all), then took our seats.

A few minutes later, as we were enjoying our lunch and chatting with Apple friends, we noticed a slight disturbance in the room, as if all the air had rushed to a single place, over by the salad bar. As you have probably guessed, it was Apple CEO Steve Jobs, grabbing some lunch with Jonathan Ive, Apple's industrial design guru. As the two moved across the room, there was no great commotion -- after all, this probably happens just about every day at Apple -- but our Google group and many other folks stopped eating long enough to follow the two rock stars around the room for awhile.

Later, as we drove back to Mountain View, we reflected on our visit. My coworkers enjoyed the entire trip, but were most impressed with the impromptu Steve Jobs flyby. They even accused me of timing our visit to correspond with Steve's lunch (as if!). And so, a gang of new Mac fans at Google visited Apple and became full on converts.