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Apple's Jony Ive: 'If we can't make something that is better, we won't do it'

post #1 of 109
Thread Starter 
Famed Apple designer Jonathan Ive was recently interviewed by a publication from his home country of the U.K., in which he spoke about his design process and Apple's philosophy in creating new products.

Speaking from Apple's corporate headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., Ive was interviewed by the London Evening Standard for a question-and-answer session published on Monday. In the interview, Ive said Apple employees are driven by a desire to make something that is better.

"Our goals are very simple — to design and make better products," he said. "If we can't do something that is better, we won't do it."

Ive said his career as a designer was even influenced by Apple well before he joined the company. When asked for the first time he became aware of the importance of designers, Ive said it was the first time he used a Mac.

"I'd gone through college in the eighties using a computer and had a horrid experience. Then I discovered the Mac," he said. "It was such a dramatic moment and I remember it so clearly. There was a real sense of the people who made it."

Ive also discussed the design process at Apple, explaining that the "most dramatic shift" comes when he transitions from an "abstract idea to a slightly more material conversation." Building a crude 3D model creates a "nebulous idea," he said, at which point "everything changes."


Apple design chief Jonathan Ive somewhere in Apple's design studio | Source: Objectified


Late last year, Ive was awarded knighthood after being named a Knight Commander of the British Empire for his services to design. Though he now lives in California with his wife and twin sons, he grew up in Chingford, a town northeast of London.

One of the new products Ive is rumored to be hard at work on is an Apple-branded television set. One report from early this year claimed that the designer has a 50-inch prototype secretly held in his California design studio.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 109
Quote:
…he said. "If we can't do something that is better, we won't do it."

*coughtelevisioncough*
post #3 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

*coughtelevisioncough*

But Apple hasn't made a television.....ooooooooh!

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post #4 of 109
I don't think this article interpreted him correctly. "Building a crude 3D model creates a "nebulous idea," he said, at which point "everything changes."

According to Mac Rumors what he actually said was "Where you see the most dramatic shift is when you transition from an abstract idea to a slightly more material conversation. But when you make a 3D model, however crude, you bring form to a nebulous idea and everything changes the entire process shifts. It galvanises and brings focus from a broad group of people. Its a remarkable process."
post #5 of 109
In other news, Samsung just builds anything that they can injection mold.

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post #6 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by flair View Post

I don't think this article interpreted him correctly. "Building a crude 3D model creates a "nebulous idea," he said, at which point "everything changes."

According to Mac Rumors what he actually said was "Where you see the most dramatic shift is when you transition from an abstract idea to a slightly more material conversation. But when you make a 3D model, however crude, you bring form to a nebulous idea and everything changes the entire process shifts. It galvanises and brings focus from a broad group of people. Its a remarkable process."

Thanks for the clarification/correction. The original quote sounded a bit daft. Who gets excited about "nebulous ideas?"
post #7 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

Thanks for the clarification/correction. The original quote sounded a bit daft. Who gets excited about "nebulous ideas?"

Creative people who like to shape nebulous ideas into new things?
post #8 of 109
"If we can't do something that is better, we won't do it."

So I guess they didn't release a new iPod Touch because they could not make it better. Too bad because I could have given them some ideas: 3G data, a GPS and a digital compass would have made a much better product. Instead they made it white. How did that make it better?
post #9 of 109
hmm, well with iOS they should try to get it at least to "good"

but hey they making money... I see it like a nice restaurant you always went to that one day puts hotdogs on the MENU - you just ignore the stupid people who order it.
post #10 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


"Our goals are very simple — to design and make better products," he said. "If we can't do something that is better, we won't do it."



"I'd gone through college in the eighties using a computer and had a horrid experience. Then I discovered the Mac," he said. "It was such a dramatic moment and I remember it so clearly. There was a real sense of the people who made it."



So Jony's role is expanding. Used to be just design, but now he's also into Corporate PR. Steve is gone, Tim is ugly, so Jon is the new "Face" of Apple.

"There is a real sense of the people who make it - LIKE ME!!!!!!!!!!"

Smart move Apple.
post #11 of 109
Quote:
Some of the problem solving in the iPad is really quite remarkable, there is this danger you want to communicate this to people. I think that is a fantastic irony, how oblivious people are to the acrobatics weve performed to solve a problem - but thats our job, and I think people know there is tremendous care behind the finished product.

I'm quoting this part so the "iPad is obvious" trolls can read it.
post #12 of 109
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Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

Steve is gone, Tim is ugly, so Jon is the new "Face" of Apple.

I assume you must think you're very good-looking.
post #13 of 109
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Originally Posted by GrangerFX View Post

"If we can't do something that is better, we won't do it."

So I guess they didn't release a new iPod Touch because they could not make it better. Too bad because I could have given them some ideas: 3G data, a GPS and a digital compass would have made a much better product. Instead they made it white. How did that make it better?

Amazing how the entire point of what he said managed to go completely over your head.
post #14 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by agramonte View Post

hmm, well with iOS they should try to get it at least to "good"

but hey they making money... I see it like a nice restaurant you always went to that one day puts hotdogs on the MENU - you just ignore the stupid people who order it.

iOS is the best mobile OS out there.
post #15 of 109
Samsung is desperate. Without copying Apple's products they loose the fight for the high end market and eventually their whole big screen TV business. Samsung has no choice, they simply can't compete with Apple's innovation. Like the boxer who bit off the opponents ear when he realized he was loosing the fight. It's a desperate stab at survival on Samsung's part.
post #16 of 109
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Originally Posted by Mightymike View Post

Like the boxer who bit off the opponents ear when he realized he was loosing the fight.

OT

I like how your name is MightyMike yet you don't seem to know the name of the boxer who bite off said ear :P
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post #17 of 109
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Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I assume you must think you're very good-looking.

Your assumption is incorrect, insulting and baseless.
post #18 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrangerFX View Post

"If we can't do something that is better, we won't do it."

So I guess they didn't release a new iPod Touch because they could not make it better. Too bad because I could have given them some ideas: 3G data, a GPS and a digital compass would have made a much better product. Instead they made it white. How did that make it better?

So you want Apple to produce another device where you can add another monthly fee? The iPod Touch is much more capable than a simple music player, but in the end it's supposed to be a step short of the iPhone. If you add that stuff, you're practically at an iPhone and have no product separation. Adding 3G and GPS would also likely push the price higher and it's already as expensive as buying an iPhone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

Your assumption is incorrect, insulting and baseless.

You would prefer we assume you're fugly?
post #19 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I assume you must think you're very good-looking.

I picture him as being very repugnant, sort of like L. Ron Hubbard, based on his comments. I wish he'd be banned.

I think Tim Cook is pleasant and interesting as hell to watch, by the way. A mind of steel.

Edit: Oh yeah, the topic. The Evening Standard interview is a good read in the sense that Sir Jony insists on how much work they put into detail.. "Months and months" sometimes on one detail. I still marvel at the tolerances and the jewel-like fittings arond the edge of the iPhone. Never has such precision been put into an electronic mass market product for consumers.
post #20 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightymike View Post

Samsung is desperate. Without copying Apple's products they loose the fight for the high end market and eventually their whole big screen TV business. Samsung has no choice, they simply can't compete with Apple's innovation. Like the boxer who bit off the opponents ear when he realized he was loosing the fight. It's a desperate stab at survival on Samsung's part.

The only thing on a Samsung tablet that is anything like Apple is the front Bezel. That is it and the new models change that. They copy a lot less then a lot of other company's are doing besides I don't think they have anything to worry being the second largest phone manufacture in the world.

I am by no means a Samsung fanboy but geesh it's not like their copying every detail. The OS is completely different and yes it is, the only thing that is even close between the two now is iOS's notification system.
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post #21 of 109
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Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post


You would prefer we assume you're fugly?

I would prefer that no baseless assumptions be made about me.
post #22 of 109
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Originally Posted by Relic View Post

I am by no means a Samsung fanboy but geesh it's not like their copying every detail. The OS is completely different and yes it is, the only thing that is even close between the two now is iOS's notification system.

Of course they aren't copying EVERY detail. That would be impressive to the point of being impossible without actually stealing the actual process and components.

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post #23 of 109
Apple's Jony Ive: 'If we can't make something that is better, we won't do it'.

That's a bit of an oxymoron. Why would he do otherwise? Of course he would think anything he designs is better. Hockey puck mouse anyone?
I'm sure he has good intentions but don't assume it's necessarily better. Lack of a on/off switch on an Apple TV is another.
post #24 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

So Jony's role is expanding. Used to be just design, but now he's also into Corporate PR. Steve is gone, Tim is ugly, so Jon is the new "Face" of Apple.

"There is a real sense of the people who make it - LIKE ME!!!!!!!!!!"

Smart move Apple.

Serious question (I can't remember)... was Jony Ive part of the iPad presentation?
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post #25 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

So Jony's role is expanding. Used to be just design, but now he's also into Corporate PR. Steve is gone, Tim is ugly, so Jon is the new "Face" of Apple.

Bitter much?

Ive has been quoted many times in the past several years commenting on Apple design and products.

Do try to keep up, for a change.
post #26 of 109
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Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

Serious question (I can't remember)... was Jony Ive part of the iPad presentation?

No- neither is he in the online infomercials. Must be because there was no major design change.
I was surprised Forstall was missing from the iOS demo. Hmmm, must be laying low.
post #27 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Relic View Post

The only thing on a Samsung tablet that is anything like Apple is the front Bezel. That is it and the new models change that. They copy a lot less then a lot of other company's are doing
...
...
I am by no means a Samsung fanboy but geesh it's not like their copying every detail.



Well here's a detail you've overlooked.

Isn't it funny that of all the tablet manufacturers, Samsung is the one with a cable that looks very similar to Apple's?
post #28 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

So Jony's role is expanding. Used to be just design, but now he's also into Corporate PR. Steve is gone, Tim is ugly, so Jon is the new "Face" of Apple.

Saying Tim is ugly is harsh, especially since I would guess you're probably no oil painting, but he is (in my opinion) a bit dull when it comes to the product launches.

He has a tremendously calming voice, which I'm sure is a great asset in difficult meetings etc. but it doesn't lend itself to creating any "wow" factor like Steve Jobs could.
post #29 of 109
My nephew is an industrial design major at SJSU and is an Apple hater to boot. But he worships Jony Ive. In fact, I believe he said that Ive is virtually a god amongst his classmates.
post #30 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by iSheldon View Post

No- neither is he in the online infomercials. Must be because there was no major design change.
I was surprised Forstall was missing from the iOS demo. Hmmm, must be laying low.

Hmmm... I guess this must mean that Zither is full of shit if he thinks Ive is the new face of Apple... hell, Ive wasn't even at the last huge presentation.
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post #31 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by iSheldon View Post

Apple's Jony Ive: 'If we can't make something that is better, we won't do it'.

That's a bit of an oxymoron. Why would he do otherwise? Of course he would think anything he designs is better.

Yes, I was thinking the same thing but then realised there are those who try not to make it better, but cheaper: Dell and Amstrad are two excellent examples.

It also further underlines why Apple never made a netbook, as Steve Jobs said, netbooks aren't better at anything!
post #32 of 109
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Originally Posted by ChiA View Post

Well here's a detail you've overlooked.

Ah, no, see, their USB logo is larger. And they're brand-whoring on the other connector. Totally different.
post #33 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiA View Post



Well here's a detail you've overlooked.

Isn't it funny that of all the tablet manufacturers, Samsung is the one with a cable that looks very similar to Apple's?

no similarity here either ....
post #34 of 109
Seeing how their idea of "better" is as basic as the 4S upgrade, that's not really saying much.
post #35 of 109
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Originally Posted by Right_said_fred View Post

no similarity here either ....

Well, here come the hounds. I can hear them roaring over the hill. This image is more controversial than holocaust pictures in Iran.
post #36 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

So Jony's role is expanding. Used to be just design, but now he's also into Corporate PR. Steve is gone, Tim is ugly, so Jon is the new "Face" of Apple.

"There is a real sense of the people who make it - LIKE ME!!!!!!!!!!"

Smart move Apple.

Ive has been completely absent from any recent Apple events, as well as any product videos. He hasn't made ANY official company statements in recent history.

I'd like to see one post of yours on this forum that isn't completely full of shit. Maybe one day, but I doubt it. You also continue to show your depravity by insulting the physical appearance of others.
post #37 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Right_said_fred View Post

no similarity here either ....

Remove the branding, and I dare you to discern a Toyota Camry from a Honda Accord or a Hyundai Sonata. They all flipping look the same, but you don't see car manufacturers suing each other, do you?

"What? You mean their car has 4 tires, a steering wheel, and voice activated features TOO?! Get legal on the phone, NOW!!"
post #38 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

One report from early this year claimed that the designer has a 50-inch prototype secretly held in his California design studio.

Or he got sick of looking at the word "Samsung" on his TV so he cut himself a new bezel using one of the CNC machines in the background
post #39 of 109
It's a better motivation than Microsoft's: "If there's a market we don't dominate, we'll roll in and take it."

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #40 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

Remove the branding, and I dare you to discern a Toyota Camry from a Honda Accord or a Hyundai Sonata. They all flipping look the same, but you don't see car manufacturers suing each other, do you?

"What? You mean their car has 4 tires, a steering wheel, and voice activated features TOO?! Get legal on the phone, NOW!!"

What a ridiculous, ridiculous analogy. The similarity of those 2 phones is analogous that cars have tires and wheels? How many phones looked like that before the iPhone? Let's discern the similarities in that pic:

- Almost identical shape
- identical number and arrangement of icons (4x4 grid)
- identical concept of a dock
- same gray dock background
- black background
- same concept of dots to symbolize # of screens
- eerily similar icons. ie why did the phone icon need to havr the same green background color, the same handset shape and angle, etc. There's an infinite # of ways to design it.

There wasn't a single phone that looked anywhere near this before the iPhone, never mind the numerous amounts of small and large details that are shamelessly identical, and which could have easily been done countless other ways. An equivalent analogy to your car example would be 'phones have a screen, have a speaker, earpiece, and make calls'. Extending it to include the countless specific similarities in that photo is idiotic. Car manufacturers have been pretty good at making unique designs. That comment of yours seems like a shameless troll, because you can't possibly believe what you said.
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