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Apple's Jony Ive says current projects are their most important so far, talks Apple design

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Apple's Jony Ive says current projects are their most important so far, talks Apple design
Today is Sir Jonathan Ive day, as Apple's head of design will receive knighthood for the creation of the iPod, iPhone, iPad and the MacBook Air, to name a few examples you might have heard about.

He gave a thorough interview how the British design school he graduated from is still influencing his design decisions, 20 years after he moved to California to work for Apple: "Even in high school I was keenly aware of this remarkable tradition that the UK had of designing and making. It’s important to remember that Britain was the first country to industrialise, so I think there’s a strong argument to say this is where my profession was founded."

The most interesting for us part is where he talks about the process of designing Apple's products. It turns out that sometimes the ideas are so novel, that the design team has to recreate the whole production process from scratch and show that the idea is viable, like the steel-and-glass chassis of the iPhone 4/4S.

Asked which is his favorite Apple product that his team had designed, Jony Ive replied: "It’s a really tough one. A lot does seem to come back to the fact that what we’re working on now feels like the most important and the best work we’ve done, and so it would be what we’re working on right now, which of course I can’t tell you about.” The opinion probably doesn't have the iPhone 6 in mind, as by that time it should be prepped for mass assembly, but rather the rumored iTV set that will be Apple's entry into a totally new market.

As for the general process of designing Apple's products, Sir Jonathan Ive seems to be most comfortable to talk about it as a team effort, and with a team that cares:

I think it’s a wonderful view that care was important – but I think you can make a one-off and not care and you can make a million of something and care. Whether you really care or not is not driven by how many of the products you’re going to make....

We’re keenly aware that when we develop and make something and bring it to market that it really does speak to a set of values. And what preoccupies us is that sense of care, and what our products will not speak to is a schedule, what our products will not speak to is trying to respond to some corporate or competitive agenda. We’re very genuinely designing the best products that we can for people...

We try to develop products that seem somehow inevitable. That leave you with the sense that that’s the only possible solution that makes sense. Our products are tools and we don’t want design to get in the way. We’re trying to bring simplicity and clarity, we’re trying to order the products...

Simplicity is not the absence of clutter, that's a consequence of simplicity. Simplicity is somehow essentially describing the purpose and place of an object and product. The absence of clutter is just a clutter-free product. That's not simple. The quest for simplicity has to pervade every part of the process. It really is fundamental.

Apple's Jony Ive says current projects are their most important so far, talks Apple design
Asked about what's really going on with the software part of the equation, and why new editions have inherited elements from the old ones, like the fake leather background and stitching in the Calendar on both Macs and iOS devices, he didn't want to get drawn into the discussion with: "In terms of those elements you're talking about, I'm not really connected to that." Quite diplomatic.

Finally, and probably the most important part of the whole interview, Johny Ive says that to him Apple won't just change for the worse because Steve Jobs is no longer at the helm: 

We're developing products in exactly the same way that we were two years ago, five years ago, ten years ago. It's not that there are a few of us working in the same way: there is a large group of us working in the same way.

We have become rather addicted to learning as a group of people and trying to solve very difficult problems as a team. And we get enormous satisfaction from doing that. Particularly when you're sat on a plane and it appears that the majority of people are using something that you've collectively agonised over. It's a wonderful reward.
source: TheTelegraph (part 1) (part 2)

40 Comments
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posted on 23 May 2012, 06:04

1. Phullofphil (Posts: 801; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)


Cool first on an apple topic

posted on 23 May 2012, 06:30 6

2. dejahu (Posts: 35; Member since: 01 Feb 2012)


Why doesn't everyone who has to say "first" on every topic realize that it just makes us start off hating you?

posted on 23 May 2012, 07:25 3

10. GENARAL.LEVY (banned) (Posts: 93; Member since: 17 Apr 2012)


No more like jealously......

posted on 23 May 2012, 07:04 6

6. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


Saying first on a topic doesnt make you cool it makes you an idiot who thinks saying FIRST on a topic is cool

posted on 23 May 2012, 07:25 2

9. GENARAL.LEVY (banned) (Posts: 93; Member since: 17 Apr 2012)


I've course it does. He was waiting for an article and maybe
Browsing till it was uploaded......

posted on 23 May 2012, 07:26 2

11. matrix_neo (Posts: 321; Member since: 03 Nov 2011)


You're in a wrong site, this is not gsmarena. What we need here is to comment not to say 1St to comment .

posted on 23 May 2012, 08:24 1

16. GENARAL.FUJITA (banned) (Posts: 14; Member since: 23 May 2012)


GSMARENA is better than phonearena!
They have more posts! And users.
You can even TROLL unlike phonearena if u call say
Sheep u get banned......

posted on 23 May 2012, 06:50 5

3. android_hitman (Posts: 622; Member since: 07 Jul 2010)


OFMG!! a sir?? really?
this title was given in the past to baronets and knights ... not to engineers or movie stars ...

posted on 23 May 2012, 07:03 3

4. remixfa (Posts: 13935; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


all you have to do is be a famous britt in any fashion to get knighted these days. it doesnt mean anything anymore. sing a song? get knighted. write a book? get knighted. act in movies? get knighted. design electronics? get knighted.

posted on 23 May 2012, 07:05 1

7. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


Hell Ozzy Osbourne was nighted. Elton John too

posted on 23 May 2012, 08:26 2

18. -box- (Posts: 3821; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


Yeah, but at least they're not blatant plagarists

posted on 23 May 2012, 16:08 1

35. gallitoking (Posts: 4690; Member since: 17 May 2011)


if your are serious taken him to court if not shut up

posted on 23 May 2012, 11:53 1

29. tedkord (Posts: 4944; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


After the ceremony, Ozzy was quoted as saying, "Iz uh shru oner to be nmed uh noit uvda rnd tbl."

posted on 23 May 2012, 13:25 1

33. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


its funny when he talks he sounds like hes talking with his mouth full of damn marbles but when he sings you can understand everything

posted on 23 May 2012, 21:02

37. remixfa (Posts: 13935; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


its very true. lol. every time i see him in a concert its complete mumbo jumbo until he sings, then its clear as a bell.

posted on 23 May 2012, 07:03 6

5. ilia1986 (unregistered)


He totally deserves it. That's one Apple employee who should take every bit for credit for the success Apple has had since he joined the company.

Also - that's one Apple employee who will not meddle with questionable business practices or ethics.

posted on 23 May 2012, 07:49 5

13. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


I have to agree with this one. You can say what you will about Steve Jobs, but Jony Ive is the mastermind behind the look of Apple products. He is truly incredible.

posted on 23 May 2012, 10:16

21. joaolx (Posts: 356; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


Totally agree. His the mind behind the designs of most Apple projects. Some Macs are considered a work of art and one of his is in a art museum. Is deserves to be a sir.

posted on 23 May 2012, 10:56

25. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)


agree with you. he is gettin the credit he deserves because there is no ijobs to take credit of everything.

posted on 23 May 2012, 07:22 2

8. GENARAL.LEVY (banned) (Posts: 93; Member since: 17 Apr 2012)


How could he be SIR. What a joke.

posted on 23 May 2012, 07:27 1

12. mercorp (Posts: 972; Member since: 28 Jan 2012)


YES,SIR!

posted on 23 May 2012, 08:19 1

14. -box- (Posts: 3821; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


So Ive gets a knighthood for blatantly ripping off others' designs? Next we'll start getting knighthoods in Cadbury chocolates. What a load, and how disrespectful to those that have done something actually novel or beneficial for the UK.

posted on 23 May 2012, 08:25 1

17. -box- (Posts: 3821; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


For reference: Wikipedia about Dieter Rams:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieter_Rams
Gizmodo article about the blatant ripoffs:http://gizmodo.com/343641/1960s-braun-products-hold-the-secrets-to-apples-future

posted on 23 May 2012, 10:23

24. tedkord (Posts: 4944; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Alright, I'll give you the T3 pocket radio and original iPod. And the perforated aluminum.

But the TV looks nothing like the monitor. Nor do the sound system and iPod dock. It's a stretch at the best to compare them.

If you want to really see where Ive was influenced by another device, and a device with the same function, compare the iPhone 4 to the original LG Prada. It's as bad as the T3/iPod.

posted on 23 May 2012, 13:51 1

34. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


But then you're going to have to say Samsung ripped the same thing from LG before Apple did with the Samsung Eternity.

posted on 23 May 2012, 10:20

23. joaolx (Posts: 356; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


Ripping off? One thing is inspiration, which might come from Braun products but that's it. Most of is work is innovative, simple, premium and calls to the attention of people.

posted on 23 May 2012, 11:56

31. tedkord (Posts: 4944; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


And, the same can be said of Samsung's early Android phones. They weren't copies, but were merely inspired by the original iPhone (and they didn't look nearly as identical as the og iPod compared to the Braun T3 pocket radio.

posted on 23 May 2012, 08:19

15. TR0LL (banned) (Posts: 41; Member since: 20 May 2012)


NO,SIR!

posted on 23 May 2012, 09:26

19. elandrumiii (Posts: 109; Member since: 20 Mar 2010)


So he ripped off designs? What phone looked like the 4/4S before it dropped. What Laptop looked like the Macbook Air or Macbook Pro before it came out. I did not say preform or the internals but had the look. Man I understand you hate Apple but really. the same people every post about apple saying the same thing to sum it up we know you hate apple. And no I am not pro apple. No I dont have an iPhone or iPad. I actually now own a galaxy Nexus and a Galaxy Tab. So come with the insults and and facts to back up your claims of non innovation at apple.

posted on 23 May 2012, 10:18 1

22. tedkord (Posts: 4944; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


The 4/4s are almost complete ripoffs of the original LG prada, which was designed before the original iPhone. A black rectangle dominated by a touch screen, a home button center bottom, metal wrapped around the edges, camera on the back top right. From a design standpoint, you have to be either blind or intellectually dishonest to say the IP4 isn't strongly similar to the Prada. Check it out:

http://pictures.recombu.com/news/M11937/1277759392_w670.jpg

Not that that matters. I have no problem with manufacturers taking design cues from others. It happens all the time with cars. So long as it isn't identical, and doesn't steal patented tech (tech, not rounded corners or shapes, or grids of icons)

posted on 23 May 2012, 11:12

26. xtian1103 (Posts: 361; Member since: 11 Feb 2012)


2001-ipod was launched
2003-jobs hinted on a digital device that would have an excellent sync software
2005-apple and motorola released rokr e1(discontinued 2006)
2006-released a version of iTunes that included references to an as-yet unknown mobile phone that could display pictures and video
2007-original iphone was introduced jan 9, 2007. prada was intoduced jan 19.
only apple and lg knows how long did it take to design and make a fully functional touchscreen device.

posted on 23 May 2012, 11:15

27. tedkord (Posts: 4944; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Prada design was shown a year prior to iPhone release, and won awards. The iPhone 4, which most resembles the original Prada, was released only 2 years ago.

What does it matter when the iPod was released, or when Steve Jobs hinted at a vaporware device, or when the rokr was released? None of these has anything to do with the question of the iPhone 4's resemblance to the Prada, which again was shown a year prior.

And again, I have no issue with it. It's like cars, which take design cues off each other. So what? It's not theft, it's inspiration.

posted on 23 May 2012, 11:28

28. xtian1103 (Posts: 361; Member since: 11 Feb 2012)


look for lg km500 on gsmarena and see how it looks like.

posted on 23 May 2012, 11:55

30. tedkord (Posts: 4944; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


OK, and? How does this pertain to the iPhone 4 looking nearly identical to a phone design shown is 2006?

posted on 23 May 2012, 12:21

32. xtian1103 (Posts: 361; Member since: 11 Feb 2012)


can i borrow your statement above and change it a little bit? you wrote..
"you have to be either blind or intellectually dishonest to say the lg km500 isn't strongly similar to the ipod?" as what you have wrote, some way or the other, one takes design cues from someone. i totally agree. this whole ip4 vs prada thing can go on forever. actually there's more! iphone 3gs vs samsung galaxy ace, samsung galaxy s3 vs nokia c7. depending on how an individual looks at it may look similar to something. on to the real topic, not much we can do about Ive being a knight, he deserves it.

posted on 23 May 2012, 20:09

36. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


Google Samsung Eternity...Samsung is a big hipster. It stole the design of the Prada before it was cool...

posted on 25 May 2012, 19:42

40. elandrumiii (Posts: 109; Member since: 20 Mar 2010)


I will give you one on the how similar and I saw the Prada when it came out. wasnt on any US carrier so thats why a lot of people wont know about it. Every one gets ideas from everyone Apple Sammy LG and HTC and Moto are no different.

posted on 23 May 2012, 10:12

20. tedkord (Posts: 4944; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


"A lot does seem to come back to the fact that what we’re working on now feels like the most important and the best work we’ve done, and so it would be what we’re working on right now..."

That's pretty much what Axl Rose said about "Chinese Democracy." See how that turned out.

All artists believe their in progress work is their best ever, and only after time has passed can they look back with a more unbiased eye. I'm willing to give Sir Ive some slack, though. The iPhone 4/4s is a really beautiful piece of tech (I never thought the previous versions were good looking, other than the screen). It's not for me, but it is pretty.

posted on 24 May 2012, 04:06

38. Ivan6479 (Posts: 244; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)


So this is the bozo that's responsible for designing the pretty looking phone that breaks the first second it's dropped unless you stick it into some nasty looking case to where you can't even appreciate the design to begin with, and he's getting knighted?? Too funny!!

posted on 24 May 2012, 08:28

39. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


That's funny, I don't keep a case on my iPhone 4 and I've had it since 2010. Be more responsible with your electronics.

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