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Apple designer Jonathan Ive says current projects are his 'most important' work

post #1 of 104
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While visiting his home country of the U.K. to be knighted, Apple design chief Jonathan Ive said in an interview that he will most likely be remembered for the projects he is currently working on because they feel like "the most important and the best work" that his team has ever done.

The Telegraph published a two-part interview (1, 2) with Ive on Wednesday, the day of his official knighting ceremony, as noted by The Next Web.

The interviewer questioned Ive as to which of his Apple designs he will most be remembered for.

"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," he said.

Author Shane Richmond went on to ask if Ive would tell the Queen of the U.K. that he couldn't comment if she asked about the design of the next iPhone. "That would be funny,? Ive said without answering the question.

Though Ive likely has a range of products in the pipeline, his comments will likely be interepreted as evidence toward a rumored Apple television. According to one report from early this year, Ive has a 50-inch prototype TV inside his well-guarded design studio.

Ive began working for Apple in 1992 before becoming the company's lead designer in 1997. He came to work so closely with late co-founder Steve Jobs that Jobs called him a "spiritual partner" in his biography. Jobs also said that he set up the company to give Ive so much "operational power" that no one else could tell him what to do.

Jonathan Ive


Last December, Ive was recognized by the U.K. for is "services to design and enterprise" with the title of Knight Commander of the British Empire. Ive said in his recent interview that the honor is "incredibly humbling."

Even after spending twenty years in California, Ive still ties his design aesthetic to the U.K's "remarkable tradition" for designing and making. He calls himself "the product of a very British design education.? Ive's father, a silversmith, first inspired him to become a designer.

Ive articulated his method as focusing on simplicity. ?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,? he said. ?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."

Products that he and his team bring to market are meant to "speak to a set of values," Ive continued, adding that they are preoccupied with a "sense of care."

"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."

Still, Ive might not be completely satisfied with Apple's output. When asked about skeuomorphic design features like fake leather texture and stitching in iOS and OS X, he visibly winced in way that the interviewer interpreted as a "gesture of sympathy."

"My focus is very much working with the other teams on the product ideas and then developing the hardware and so that's our focus and that's our responsibility," Ive said. "In terms of those elements you're talking about, I'm not really connected to that."

Ive went on to say that he's careful about what products he lets out of the studio and into mass production. He remarked that deciding to abandon work on a project is an "important part" of his job.

According to the designer, his team spent a "significant percentage of the time" working on flagship products, like the iPod, iPhone and the iPad, without knowing whether it would be possible to solve the problems that they had set out to address. Conversely, other projects appeared to have solutions and reached a "very mature stage" before Ive realized that they wouldn't work.

"On a number of occasions we've actually all been honest with ourselves and said 'you know, this isn't good enough, we need to stop'. And that's very difficult," he said.

Ive was quick to credit his team for much of his success as a designer, noting that working with Apple's design team is "particularly precious" because many of the team members have worked together for over 15 years.

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

"There's a wonderful thing about learning as a group. A fundamental part of that is making mistakes together. There's no learning without trying lots of ideas and failing lots of times," he said.

Ive added that his team has become "rather addicted to learning as a group of people and trying to solve very difficult problems" together.

"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," he said.

Ive resisted the assertion that Apple would see a decline without Jobs at the helm. He asserted that a "large group" of Apple employees are developing products the same way they did "two years ago, five years ago, ten years ago."

For more of Ive's remarks, see Part One and Part Two of the The Telegraph's interview.
post #2 of 104

I especially liked his work on the 4S.....

 

but without joking, you're almost always remembered for the last thing you did, so let's hope he again delivers this year.

post #3 of 104

So Ives sagely stating that the best and most important work is what his team is doing today gets extrapolated to mean he's working on a mythical Apple TV?  Please AI, stop making my eyes roll.     

post #4 of 104

I would hope that's what he'd say everyday.  

post #5 of 104
Ive is an incredibly humble and generous human being who truly cares first and foremost about the user experience, and delighting them every time they use one of his team's creations. This is what makes Apple great and what makes so many other companies mediocre at best. And it is truly offensive when the likes of Google, Samsung, HTC and the others resort to stealing to fool consumers into thinking they have the same abilities and care as much for the consumer experience and astetic.
post #6 of 104
Ive TV
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #7 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

Ive is an incredibly humble and generous human being who truly cares first and foremost about the user experience, and delighting them every time they use one of his team's creations. This is what makes Apple great and what makes so many other companies mediocre at best. And it is truly offensive when the likes of Google, Samsung, HTC and the others resort to stealing to fool consumers into thinking they have the same abilities and care as much for the consumer experience and astetic.

You'll survive.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #8 of 104

Please, come on. There are many great companies out there. And yes, Google, Amazon, Samsung are some of them. It's not just that cares about the user experience. 

post #9 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by therealestmc View Post

Please, come on. There are many great companies out there. And yes, Google, Amazon, Samsung are some of them. It's not just that cares about the user experience. 

I'm not being a fanboy, but there are not many great companies out there. There are many great movies out there, but great companies are very rare indeed.

Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #10 of 104

applebraun.jpg

 

iphoneadirectcopyoflgpr.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

"We have always been SHAMELESS about stealing great ideas." - Steve Jobs

 

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

And it is truly offensive when the likes of Google, Samsung, HTC and the others resort to stealing to fool consumers into thinking they have the same abilities and care as much for the consumer experience and astetic.

Edited by Tune - 5/23/12 at 4:00am
post #11 of 104
Thank God one person remains at Apple who can fulfill the legacy of Steve Jobs. Because it sure ain't Tim Cook. Ives is now the soul of Apple.
post #12 of 104
I would think these projects are his most important as the designs will be totally attributed to him and his team. I feel Jony and team have lived in Steve Jobs' shadow with much of the kudos for design going to Steve. With Steve, unfortunately, gone it gives the individuals who have done wonderful work over the years a chance to show that Apple was more than a one man show.

This is by no means a criticism of Steve Jobs or Apple. Steve was just so charismatic he carried the show. Everyone else's turn now.
post #13 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tune View Post

applebraun.jpg

 

iphoneadirectcopyoflgpr.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

"We have always been SHAMELESS about stealing great ideas." - Steve Jobs

 

Hahaha most of those are a serious stretch, radios that look like g5 towers, speakers look like iMacs....hahaha umm yeah
 


Edited by Zozman - 5/23/12 at 4:35am
post #14 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tune View Post

 

 

iphoneadirectcopyoflgpr.png

 

 

So the iPhone vaguely resembles... shock horror... another touchscreen smartphone?!

 

C'mon. How much differentiation do you expect there to be? It's a device that's 80% screen and has to have the speaker and buttons in specific places.

post #15 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tune View Post

applebraun.jpg

 

 

Is this supposed to prove that Ive hasn't copied anything by putting his work next to objects that are nothing like them? If so, well done.

post #16 of 104
Quote:
Still, Ive might not be completely satisfied with Apple's output. When asked about skeuomorphic design features like fake leather texture and stitching in iOS and OS X, he visibly winced in way that the interviewer interpreted as a "gesture of sympathy."

"My focus is very much working with the other teams on the product ideas and then developing the hardware and so that's our focus and that's our responsibility," Ive said. "In terms of those elements you're talking about, I'm not really connected to that."

 

Interesting the contrast between Marko Ahtisaari (SVP Nokia Design) and Sir Ives (SVP Industrial Design).  Marko largely talks about UX and it seems under his bailiwick as SVP design there along with industrial design.  

 

VP UI design at Apple is under Forstall?  Heck, after Sarah Brody left I have no idea who Apple's lead designers are.  I can name a dozen ex-Apple UX lead designers...

 

post #17 of 104
I'm amazed it took 9 posts before someone trotted out the Dieter Rams/Braun comparison. lol.gif

What was interesting in this interview was how ive seemed uncomfortable talking about the look of some of the software apps/icons. Obviously he has nothing to do with software but I got the feeling he's not crazy about some of th software design aesthetic - like fake leather and torn pages on th calendar app or a "wooden" bookshelf of the iBooks app. There certainly seems to be a dichotomy between Apple's hardware and software design aesthetic.
post #18 of 104

Guys use some common sense (your brains) and stop feeding the troll. Check his post history out, it's kind of sad really, to think there's someone out there that dedicates a good portion of their time to post on a website for a company they don't even like in the first place... though maybe the truth is that he loves Apple in a far more deeper way we can ever imagine.

post #19 of 104
Quote:
the projects he is currently working ...  feel like "the most important and the best work"

Isn't this what rock bands who have been around for decades always say right before they release an album of self-indulgent, obtuse twaddle?

post #20 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Thank God one person remains at Apple who can fulfill the legacy of Steve Jobs. Because it sure ain't Tim Cook. Ives is now the soul of Apple.

This propagates a misleading concept.

There is no Steve Jobs in the new Apple. There probably never will be.

One of Steve's greatest successes was realizing that no one else could do what he did and he created an ORGANIZATION that embodied his beliefs and style. Ives brings design. Cook brings supply chain and general management. Schiller brings marketing. And so on. From the outside, the management team at Apple appears to work extremely well by corporate standards and so there's no need for one demigod to run the show.
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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post #21 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

I'm amazed it took 9 posts before someone trotted out the Dieter Rams/Braun comparison. lol.gif
What was interesting in this interview was how ive seemed uncomfortable talking about the look of some of the software apps/icons. Obviously he has nothing to do with software but I got the feeling he's not crazy about some of th software design aesthetic - like fake leather and torn pages on th calendar app or a "wooden" bookshelf of the iBooks app. There certainly seems to be a dichotomy between Apple's hardware and software design aesthetic.

I have no opinion on how much - if any - Apple's designs owe to Braun, but from various interviews I've seen or heard over the years, I think it's safe to say that Ive is an admirer of some of that work.

I certainly would hope so, since the Braun stuff is gorgeous.
post #22 of 104
Quote:

Jonathan Ive says current projects are his 'most important' work

 

 

This may be in fact true, but on face value...what else is he going to say, his best days are behind him?!? 

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I'm not a pessimist. I'm an optimist, with experience.
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post #23 of 104

I was reading the Windows - ARM thread earlier, and looking at that committee designed mish-mash a word came to mind to differentiate the Apple approach, and that word was 'clarity'. Then reading this article and Sir Jony says exactly that "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." This focussed simplicity at the fundamental design level translates into the 'just works' experience for the user, design that is so good you do not even notice it. Microsoft have never been shy at nicking ideas from Apple, perhaps they should take this quote: "On a number of occasions we've actually all been honest with ourselves and said 'you know, this isn't good enough, we need to stop'" and circulate it at Redmond asap.

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Believe nothing, no matter where you heard it, not even if I have said it, if it does not agree with your own reason and your own common sense.
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post #24 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Conrail View Post

Isn't this what rock bands who have been around for decades always say right before they release an album of self-indulgent, obtuse twaddle?

Perhaps. But I don't think Jonathan Ives is in a rock band. 

post #25 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by A Grain of Salt View Post

I would think these projects are his most important as the designs will be totally attributed to him and his team. I feel Jony and team have lived in Steve Jobs' shadow with much of the kudos for design going to Steve. With Steve, unfortunately, gone it gives the individuals who have done wonderful work over the years a chance to show that Apple was more than a one man show.
This is by no means a criticism of Steve Jobs or Apple. Steve was just so charismatic he carried the show. Everyone else's turn now.
This reminded me of when the iMac G4 came out and Time magazine did a cover story about it. In the story they talk about Steve summoning Jony to his garden and drawing out what he wanted it to look like saying it should look like the sunflowers in his garden. But in Walter Isaacson's book Steve's wife says it was Jony who suggested the screen be separated from the base like a sunflower and started sketching it out. I wonder how many ideas have been attributed to Steve that perhaps didn't originate with him. The public mostly only hears about the times Steve killed something or forced a do-over because he didn't like something. Of course what Jony's team has done would probably never have happened at a company other than Apple, because of Steve. But I'm sure it's not easy when a lot of the work you do gets attributed as being the brainchild of someone else.
post #26 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by jouster View Post

I have no opinion on how much - if any - Apple's designs owe to Braun, but from various interviews I've seen or heard over the years, I think it's safe to say that Ive is an admirer of some of that work.
I certainly would hope so, since the Braun stuff is gorgeous.
Yes Ive has been quite clear on how much Dieter Rams has influenced him. But it's the ihaters who usually trot out this nonsense about him copying Rams work. There's a difference between being influenced by someone and ripping someone off (something Rams has never accused Apple of).
post #27 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tune View Post

applebraun.jpg

 

iphoneadirectcopyoflgpr.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

"We have always been SHAMELESS about stealing great ideas." - Steve Jobs

 

It's funny too many people are brainwashed to believe this. I would guess the people who posted these pictures are not designers.

 

On another note, Reading List gains offline reading in ML. yeah!


Edited by matrix07 - 5/23/12 at 5:41am
post #28 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

Ive is an incredibly humble and generous human being who truly cares first and foremost about the user experience, and delighting them every time they use one of his team's creations. This is what makes Apple great and what makes so many other companies mediocre at best. And it is truly offensive when the likes of Google, Samsung, HTC and the others resort to stealing to fool consumers into thinking they have the same abilities and care as much for the consumer experience and astetic.

Agreed.

I hope the Samsungs of the world read it and weep.
post #29 of 104

It would be good to see something new, Jonathan.  It's been years.

post #30 of 104
Since Jonathan Ivy's design sense is so acute, he would be a perfect fit for the entire design of Apples products. From hardware design to UI design, what is wrapped up in him he would make very successful UI's well into the future that would me so married to the hardware, so intricately related would be a thing of total art.

So how about it Apple ? Why not expand Jonathans role to include beautiful software UI design too ?

I really think this is where Apple can continue to excel. Then things like the icons on the Apple TV in its UI could be made more beautiful again.

Just my 2c.
post #31 of 104
Here's video of the ceremony. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18171666
post #32 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

Ive is an incredibly humble and generous human being who truly cares first and foremost about the user experience, and delighting them every time they use one of his team's creations. This is what makes Apple great and what makes so many other companies mediocre at best. And it is truly offensive when the likes of Google, Samsung, HTC and the others resort to stealing to fool consumers into thinking they have the same abilities and care as much for the consumer experience and astetic.

I'm pretty sure the guys at Google etc listened to you and said "hey, let's make crappy user experience"...

 

You know, some amount of balance could help you being listened to.

 

Most companies try to delight their consumers with truly amazing products. They don't necessarily agree on how to do that, but read Appleinsider and you'll see that even apple fans don't agree on what's best for the next product, so why should companies? Besides, I appreciate choice I can vote on with my wallet...

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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post #33 of 104

Design is evolutionary, it isn't spontaneously created. All designers are working with previous ideas. And that's how it should be - it would be incredibly unproductive if the best designs were ignored by subsequent designers.  And Apple influenced by Rams? Actually it was Rams who was influenced by Apel - Otto Apel.
 

post #34 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightknight View Post

 

Most companies try to delight their consumers with truly amazing products. They don't necessarily agree on how to do that, but read Appleinsider and you'll see that even apple fans don't agree on what's best for the next product, so why should companies? Besides, I appreciate choice I can vote on with my wallet...

No, most companies does not try to do that. That's why Apple is unique.

post #35 of 104

If this guy ever leaves, I'm cashing in my Apple stock...for a hefty profit I might add.

post #36 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zozman View Post

Hahaha most of those are a serious stretch, radios that look like g5 towers, speakers look like iMacs....hahaha umm yeah

It's a form of apophenia but this has a much higher rate of delusion and psychosis attributed to it since it's clear that the objects are not the same, don't have the same use or components, and have to photographed in such a way as to offer some of the same angles, shapes and shadowing to make the illusion even remotely similar.

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post #37 of 104

Jony is building a robotic body to house Jobs' preserved brain.

 

Steve will return!

post #38 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


It's a form of apophenia but this has a much higher rate of delusion and psychosis attributed to it since it's clear that the objects are not the same, don't have the same use or components, and have to photographed in such a way as to offer some of the same angles, shapes and shadowing to make the illusion even remotely similar.

thats a great way of putting it, i agree with you, i couldn't articulate it as well as you did, but basically, people have da vinci coded some pics :p

post #39 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Fix View Post

I would hope that's what he'd say everyday.  

That's the thing, he has actually said this before. 

Also, nothing personal to Sir Ive, he is a great designer but ... he is also a veritable king of platitudes and literally oozes insincerity at every orifice.  

 

If one takes the time, one can find his ever-so-earnest, superlative, yet completely empty remarks being repeated for every product he's ever created.  

At least the ones they did video's for. 

post #40 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

Ive is an incredibly humble and generous human being who truly cares first and foremost about the user experience, and delighting them every time they use one of his team's creations. This is what makes Apple great and what makes so many other companies mediocre at best. And it is truly offensive when the likes of Google, Samsung, HTC and the others resort to stealing to fool consumers into thinking they have the same abilities and care as much for the consumer experience and astetic.

 

You know it's not fair to post about him on this forum when you are his wife in real life. 

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