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Apple’s funky new venue



San Jose's California Theater. Photo: Bob Shomler



FORTUNE -- Some reporters expressed surprise that Apple (aapl) would choose to hold next week's special event -- the one widely expected to showcase a new, smaller iPad -- at San Jose's California Theater rather than the venues it's been using lately: The Yerba Buena Center for the Performing Arts in San Francisco or the Town Hall auditorium on the company's Cupertino campus.

They shouldn't have been. As the Mercury News notes, this is actually a homecoming of sorts. Steve Jobs used the newly renovated theater in 2004 and 2005 to unveil the fourth and fifth generation iPods.



Apple's Oct. 23 invitation

Moreover, much as the bloggers and tech reporters who attend these unveilings may miss San Francisco's glamour and great restaurants, the choice of a theater in unglamorous downtown San Jose makes a lot of sense.

The Roaring Twenties-era California Theater (completed in 1927) seats 1,122 -- one third more than Yerba Buena and a lot more than Town Hall. In terms of how much media presence it can accommodate, it's a step up, not a step back.

It's also near a perfectly serviceable international airport, plenty of reasonable parking lots and hotels that won't leap out of an expense report. Rooms at the Hyatt House in San Jose start at $99 a night. Rooms at San Francisco's Hyatt Regency -- if you can get one -- range from $180 to $619.

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