Apple's Ive hints new materials to be used in upcoming products, suggests new form factors and devic

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2014
In an interview with the New York Times, Apple SVP of Design Jony Ive said Apple has been working to incorporate all new materials in future products, suggesting both new form factors and the possible introduction of long-awaited LiquidMetal and sapphire parts.

Mesa
Apple-GT Advanced joint sapphire production facility in Mesa, Ariz.


The NYT on Monday published a longer, edited version of an interview Ive recently gave for a profile of CEO Tim Cook.

In the somewhat truncated Q&A -- only four questions were asked -- Ive covered topics discussed in previous sit-downs including Cook's performance at the helm and the legacy of cofounder Steve Jobs. As what amounts to an aside, Ive let loose that he and his team have been working "for years" on using totally new materials for future products.

"I would love to talk about future stuff - they're materials we haven't worked in before," Ive said. "I've been working on this stuff for a few years now. Tim is fundamentally involved in pushing into these new areas and into these materials."

Aside from being surprisingly open about as-yet-unannounced product plans, the design chief's statement suggests Apple will reveal a redesign to an existing product line, or the debut of a completely new device.

Ive said Apple is well versed in employing new materials to solve design problems and pointed to the days when the company's laptops were made of plastic. Recalling the development of the titanium PowerBook G4, which launched in 2001, he said the exotic metal was used to realize a new thin-and-light form factor computer that could not be accomplished with composites.

"There was a whole range of challenges from an engineering point of view: How it worked in a new material, titanium," Ive said. "That meant we had to completely redesign and discover new partners to work with, hire a whole new organization."

The quote mirrors current goings-on at Apple, with a partnership with sapphire glass maker GT Advanced and a long-standing, yet underutilized, licensing agreement with LiquidMetal. Ive is possibly telegraphing that those new materials, and possibly others, may see use in Apple's near-future product lineup.

It was reported in late April that sapphire production in full swing at GT Advanced's facility in Mesa, Ariz., while an SEC filing in May revealed Apple had again renewed its contract for exclusive rights to use LiquidMetal in consumer electronics through 2015.

In addition to the new product tease, Ive once again discussed focusing on the product, a tenet many Apple executives tout as being built in to the company's DNA.

"I wish I could do a better job in communicating this truth here, which is when you really are focused on the product, that's not a platitude," he said. "When that truly is your reason for coming into the studio, is just to try to make the very best product you can, when that is exclusive of everything else, it's remarkable how insignificant or unimportant a lot of other stuff becomes. Titles or organizational structures, that's not the lens through which we see our peers."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 81
    aaronjaaronj Posts: 1,595member

    Ive is such a tease. :)

  • Reply 2 of 81
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Is this the same NY Times that AI claimed Apple shut out in their profile piece on Tim Cook?
  • Reply 3 of 81
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    It's so pretentious how the British add an 'i' to the word titanum¡
  • Reply 4 of 81
    dimmokdimmok Posts: 359member

    Please Sharks with Lasers….

  • Reply 5 of 81
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Business Insider is a hoot. Jay Yarrow says Ive is trying to recast the Tim Cook story in terms of product development. I guess he forgot that Tim ran Operations at Apple, the organization responsible for ensuring Ive's designs could be built cost effectively en mass? How in the world could Cook not be involved in product development?!?
  • Reply 6 of 81
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,415member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    It's so pretentious how the British add an 'i' to the word titanum¡

    lol -

    well, it's just that they're so poetic -

    they had to make it rhyme with 'aluminium' after all.

  • Reply 7 of 81
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    Aside from being surprisingly open about as-yet-unannounced product plans...

     

    There are two main reasons to keep future product plans secret:

    1. To prevent the Osborne effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osborne_effect)

    2. To maximize your lead time over would-be competitors

     

    There's always the danger of lost sales if you announce an updated product too early.  You need to balance lost sales of the current model with the need to create buzz about the upcoming model.  I think Apple has mastered that particular balancing act.  And yes, I'm pretty sure many of these component "leaks" are part of Apple's viral marketing plan.

     

    But if your materials and manufacturing techniques are years ahead of the pack, there's no need for secrecy.  Your competitors won't be able to replicate your materials or manufacturing techniques in time to make any difference.  (Especially if you have exclusive rights to any or all of that, as Apple does with Liquidmetal in consumer electronics.)

     

    Some day, there will be a Liquidmetal iPhone with a synthetic sapphire screen.

    Maybe sooner than we expected.  And Apple doesn't need to keep that a secret.  At all.

  • Reply 8 of 81
    dimmok wrote: »
    Please Sharks with Lasers….

    I "sooo disappointed" that Apple is not working on self-driving sharks with jet packs and lasers for mining asteroids.
  • Reply 9 of 81
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    sockrolid wrote: »
    There are two main reasons to keep future product plans secret:
    1. To prevent the Osborne effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osborne_effect)
    2. To maximize your lead time over would-be competitors

    3. Allow yourself to not make promises you can't keep due to unexpected circumstances.

    A couple notable examples are Resolution Independence announced at the 10.4(?) event and FaceTime going open source during the iOS 4(?) event.
  • Reply 10 of 81
    It's totally a guess that Apple will be using Liquid Metal. After Jony made his announcement, Samsung announced they will be soon be making their cases out of unobtainium. You heard it here first folks!
  • Reply 11 of 81
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

    It's so pretentious how the British add an 'i' to the word titanum¡

     

    Remember that the Briton that discovered/named aluminum named it thus, and it was only a newspaper that decided they could name it whatever they wanted that the second I got thrown in there. Disgusting.

     

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

    A couple notable examples are Resolution Independence announced at the 10.4(?) event and FaceTime going open source during the iOS 4(?) event.

     

    Yep, both right.

  • Reply 12 of 81

    I suppose it would be odd if such a thing never happened regardless of advances in materials tech.  Seeing Apple continue to push the frontiers as they have for so long is expected.

  • Reply 13 of 81
    dickprinterdickprinter Posts: 1,060member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    It's so pretentious how the British add an 'i' to the word titanum¡

    And for good reason..........don't want this kind of confusion¡

     

     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amorphophallus_titanum

  • Reply 14 of 81
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post



    It's totally a guess that Apple will be using Liquid Metal. After Jony made his announcement, Samsung announced they will be soon be making their cases out of unobtainium. You heard it here first folks!

    Wow! That would be one light phone! It would just float beside you as you walk. Or would that just open Pandora's box? News headline "Samsung wipes out entire village of indigenous species to build their next phone."

  • Reply 15 of 81
    teejay2012teejay2012 Posts: 275member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

    It's totally a guess that Apple will be using Liquid Metal. After Jony made his announcement, Samsung announced they will be soon be making their cases out of unobtainium. You heard it here first folks!

     

    Haha. Close. Samsung will have cases that are unobtainium colored plastic
  • Reply 16 of 81

    I've been feeling like they needed to go somewhere besides aluminum for a while. It's not bad, just a bit old at this point.

  • Reply 17 of 81
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    It's so pretentious how the British add an 'i' to the word titanum¡

    Uh uh... The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) officially standardised on aluminium in 1990.
    The pretension is all American....but only officially since 1925 btw, first in disagreeing with the naming by the great Sir Humphrey Davy and then having a list of metals comprising....well do you really say also chronum, rhodum, cadmum all before we get to say caesium... I give up, I can't defeat spellchecker anymore...:p
  • Reply 18 of 81
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     

    I've been feeling like they needed to go somewhere besides aluminum for a while. It's not bad, just a bit old at this point.


    And yet when HTC came out with the unibody aluminum One everyone drooled over it. What material would you prefer Apple use over aluminum? 

  • Reply 19 of 81
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,602member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

     

     

    There are two main reasons to keep future product plans secret:

    1. To prevent the Osborne effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osborne_effect)

    2. To maximize your lead time over would-be competitors

     


    Actually there is only one main reason - marketing.  The amount of free marketing Apple has received by keeping schtum is immeasurable. Given that Apple and Jobs always had the gift to wow the crowds, which in turn was backed up by great products, the silence must truly have been, and still is, an awesome weapon. If everybody knew what Apple was bringing out the mystique would fizzle and there would be little to write about. As it is column after column is written in speculation of what 'might' come. Genius.

  • Reply 20 of 81
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

    Titanium Macbook Pro...

    Aluminium Macbook Pro...

    Sapphire Macbook Pro? :)

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