After the iPhone took off they started removing all of these signs and replacing them with ones that were more "on brand." The building number signs, with their Apple colors and pixelated Chicago characters, were replaced by gray Myriad on solid white.
Everyone in my building either had their own office or shared it with one other coworker. I was a relatively junior engineer, a couple years out of college, with a window office to myself. Haven't had that since.
In early October 2011 I was looking for another job. I was actually at another company's office for an onsite interview when the interviewer told me of Steve's passing. Must have been awkward for him to deliver that news, but I did accept the job in the end. :)
Sadly, I joined the company too late to see the famous "Icon Garden." I think it was taken down in the late 90s/early 2000s.
And now they've regressed.
That's not entirely true, there are teams in the new campus that have offices (usually shared, which is much the same as Infinite Loop) - it's a mix of working spaces and styles.
What is true is that engineering at Apple is very much a meritocracy, and some teams are treated much better than others. When I was there I saw engineering teams - particularly those working on things perceived as less important by the company - were put into open plan spaces and cube farms. Meanwhile, others were treated very well, with large offices and private spaces.
To the comment below: Not all Millenials may be explicitly asking for it, yet they definitely have lesser allergy/resistance to it which makes the cost saving measure of the "cool offices" more feasible. Other people have also at different times/comments (for example https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18009641) noticed that the open office is frequently used as an "ageism" filter.
I don't know a single person IRL who prefers them that works as a software engineer.
Finally - I've never been hired somewhere that actually let me decide on my office format. I've been places that asked, but none have ever actually given me what I asked for.
I think popular culture has almost made the open plan office aspirational for some too, which is kind of hilarious.
"If you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next."
That's been my first impression as well. Now that I work there.