All of the strong smells at the Apple iPhone event

So much unfinished landscaping.
So much unfinished landscaping.
Image: Quartz/Mike Murphy
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Press were invited to an iPhone unveiling on Apple’s new campus today, marking the first day that anyone—construction workers and select employees notwithstanding—has spent time at the 175-acre (71-hectare) enclave in Cupertino, California.

The grounds of Apple’s new headquarters are still being landscaped, and today was also the first time any event was held in Apple’s new on-site theater, named after former CEO Steve Jobs. While reporters documented all of this newness in pristine photos on Twitter and Instagram, one thing those images couldn’t convey is what everything smelled like.

Here’s a short list of the very strong smells I came across while attending today’s event:

Manure. Landscaping this much green space is going to require a lot of manure, and it smelled. It was all I smelled from check-in, up through the hills of the park, until I was inside. When the event was over, I returned to the outside world, and was again hit in the face by that distinctive smell.

Rubber. The lobby of the Steve Jobs Theater smelled like a sneaker store. If you’ve ever spent a few minutes in a Nike shop, you’ll know what I mean. I couldn’t tell if it was the sheer number of journalists walking around in sneakers, or something about the building itself that made it smell that way.

Leather. The actual auditorium smelled like a new car. The smell of hundreds of previously untouched leather seats dominated, until it started to fill with people. Then it smelled like everywhere else does when too many people are in a small space.

Wood. After leaving the theater, we were encouraged to stop by the visitors center at the edge of the park. It smelled pretty much like any other Apple Store would, but the exposed rooftop terrace, with its wooden floors and furniture, smelled a bit like a high school shop class that had just sliced into a bunch of pine blocks.

Manure. As I was waiting for a taxi to pick me up, I was hit again. Hopefully this won’t last too long for the 12,000 employees that are moving into the building.