Covering an Apple Event at the Steve Jobs Theater

Here’s what it’s like to attend and cover one of Apple’s big media events in person.

The Steve Jobs Theater shortly before 5 a.m. PT. (Photo by Hope King.)

This week was my third time attending an Apple media event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California.

This time, Apple announced its streaming video plans along with subscription services for news and games. You’ve probably already read the recaps and taken in all the hot takes.

Now take a look at what it’s like to cover the event in person as an invited journalist, which is always a privilege.

All photos taken with an iPhone XS.

East Coast news outlets covering West Coast news means a 4:15 a.m. call time. Although it was technically 51 degrees out, the early morning wind chill in Cupertino made it feel like 2 degrees.

The broadcast riser was packed. More than a dozen TV outlets, including ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, CNBC, Bloomberg, and of course Cheddar, were all squeezed into a tiny space. More photos of this later.

The scene behind my live shot shortly before 7 a.m. PT:

Here’s the breakfast spread Apple lays out for the media:

Where the media can get work done and rest while not on air:

The lobby area (the actual theater is underground) was packed with people about an hour before the event. On nicer days guests are usually outside.

Apple escorts VIPs (and there were many celebrities onsite for this event) on golf carts to the theater from the street.

A view of Apple’s campus, or the ‘Mothership,’ from the outside of the theater:

Entering the theater:

Each event has a different color t-shirt for staff.
Inside the atrium above the theater before the event.
The food you can get outside…
… And the food you can get inside.

Journalists begin their descent into the theater:

Time to get seated.

This 1,000-seat auditorium is the most luxurious and comfortable theater I’ve ever been in. Each seat reportedly costs $14,000.

Tim Cook takes the stage.

Reporting, writing, recording…

Steven Spielberg, Oprah, Jennifer Aniston were just some of the celebrities on stage talking about the new shows. The Steve Jobs Theater was transformed into a big screen during their presentations.

Steven Spielberg in the cloud. He was the first to present.

Oprah gets a standing o. She was the last to present.

People start filing out after the keynote ends. Apple execs and VIPs linger towards the front of the room.

Back to the media riser!

My live reaction to the event:

Apple starts tearing down around 4 p.m. PT. Most of the other networks have left. We’re the first ones in and last ones out.

The media riser is built and broken down each time for these events, taking about a week to set up.

But the day is not yet over for those of us who still have to finish filing stories. 😃