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Tech Tim Cook explains why you're never going to visit the inside of Apple's new $5 billion headquarters (AAPL)

Apple CEO Tim Cook's answer echoes a comment about the campus last year from Apple's head designer, Jony Ive, who called it "our house."

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Apple Park's "spaceship" building from a distance. play

Apple Park's "spaceship" building from a distance.

(Apple)

  • Apple just finished a $5 billion headquarters, Apple Park, which some say is an architectural landmark.
  • Non-Apple employees are not allowed in, though, and Apple's unlikely to offer tours.
  • It's because there's a lot of confidential information inside the building, Apple CEO Tim Cook said.

CUPERTINO, California — Shareholders at Apple's annual meeting on Tuesday got to experience the new Steve Jobs Theater in Apple's recently opened $5 billion campus, Apple Park. But they didn't get to see inside the main "spaceship" building.

So one shareholder asked CEO Tim Cook: When can we get a tour of Apple Park?

The answer: Probably never. Because there are secrets inside the spaceship.

"The problem with opening up the main facility for tours is we have so much confidential stuff around," Cook said. "It's sort of the bane of my existence to hold things confidential now."

Cook's answer echoes a comment about the campus last year from Apple's head designer, Jony Ive, who called it "our house."

"We didn't make Apple Park for other people," Ive said. "So I think a lot of the criticisms ... are utterly bizarre, because it wasn't made for you. And I know how we work, and you don't."

Basically, you're not going to get to experience the inside of the building without being an Apple employee with a badge.

If you have a meeting at Apple, you're generally not allowed to explore the place, people who have discussed business at Apple's headquarters have said. And Instagram photos from the interior of the building posted by employees started being removed after Business Insider published a handful earlier this month.

Cook joked with the shareholder, "I'll send you a picture."

The next best thing

The augmented-reality experience Tim Cook was talking about. play

The augmented-reality experience Tim Cook was talking about.

(Kif Leswing)

Apple did, however, build a place for tourists on its new campus. It's across the street.

The Apple Park visitors center is a combination of an Apple Store, a cafe, and a shrine to all things Apple.

Fans and tourists are "the reason we created the visitors center, which has the AR experience," Cook said, referring to Apple's augmented-reality space that includes a scale model of an Apple Park that you can animated with an iPad camera.

"If you haven't been to this, I'd really encourage you to do it," he said.

He continued: "The roof deck gives you a nice visual. We created that to give Apple users and Apple fans to get them as close to the park itself." From the roof deck, you can see part of the spaceship building through the trees.

While the visitors center is nice and has some products that aren't available anywhere else — including T-shirts, postcards, and Apple-branded baby clothes — it's not the inside of Apple Park. Take a limited peek here.

T-shirts exclusive to Apple Park. play

T-shirts exclusive to Apple Park.

(Kif Leswing)