Jony Ive feared Jobs would fire him on returning to Apple, book excerpt says

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2015
In a book excerpt published on Friday, lead Apple designer Jony Ive says he was worried he would be fired when Steve Jobs returned to serve as the company's CEO in 1997.




The excerpt, hosted by Fast Company, is from Becoming Steve Jobs, a biography due to be released on March 24. It was written by Brent Schlender and the executive editor of Fast Company, Rick Tetzeli.

Ive is reported to have been nervous when Jobs first came to visit him at the Design Lab, thinking that a replacement had already been picked. "That very first time we met, he had already started to talk about reengaging Harmut Esslinger," one quote from the designer reads. "He came over to the studio, I think, essentially to fire me." Esslinger is the founder of Frog Design, and helped design the Macintosh.

Ive adds that he felt like he deserved to be fired, because Apple products shipping at the time "weren't very good at all." When Jobs came back to the company, he cancelled unsuccessful products like the Newton, and fired people he considered irrelevant to the company's future direction.

Jobs would later tell Schlender that he "liked him [Ive] right away." The Apple co-founder further suggested that his predecessor, Gil Amelio, had "wasted" Ive's talent.

Under the new leadership Ive was put in charge of Industrial Design, and became instrumental in the creation of products like the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad. In more recent times, he has assumed control of both interface and hardware design.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 46
    macvictamacvicta Posts: 346member
    Is there anything surprising left to read in that book? The Apple blogosphere has seen fit to continuously spoil it with numerous headline stories that can't be avoided. How about you wait until it comes out so some of us can read it first?
  • Reply 2 of 46
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Personally, I find Ive's industrial design work more compelling than Esslinger's.
  • Reply 3 of 46
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,926member
    Jobs saw talent and it shows. Apple has been, is, and will be in good hands.
  • Reply 4 of 46
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 2,007member
    macvicta wrote: »
    Is there anything surprising left to read in that book? The Apple blogosphere has seen fit to continuously spoil it with numerous headline stories that can't be avoided. How about you wait until it comes out so some of us can read it first?

    I'm curious about this one. Last time I read about the Ive/Jobs meeting I remember hearing that Ive was planning to quit because he wasn't happy with the direction Apple's design work was going. I would want to read the book to see if this is actually a conflicting story or just a different spin on the same story...
  • Reply 5 of 46
    prolineproline Posts: 223member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    Personally, I find Ive's industrial design work more compelling than Esslinger's.



    As he exists today, Ive is in a league of his own. However, 'Ive' today is not one man but a whole team of expert designers backed by a huge number of expert engineers and unlimited money. He also has a huge amount of experience to draw on, including dreadful designs like the hockey puck and failed designs like the cube and Newton. It stands to reason then that he has surpassed Esslinger.

  • Reply 6 of 46
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,548member
    bageljoey wrote: »
    I'm curious about this one. Last time I read about the Ive/Jobs meeting I remember hearing that Ive was planning to quit because he wasn't happy with the direction Apple's design work was going. I would want to read the book to see if this is actually a conflicting story or just a different spin on the same story...
    From what I remember from other articles Ive had his resignation letter because he expected to be fired and felt that he'd prefer to quit.
  • Reply 7 of 46
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by proline View Post

     

    including dreadful designs like the hockey puck


     

    That has got to be one of the worst things that he's ever designed. Somebody should ask him in an interview what he thinks about it today.

     

    I bought one of those early iMacs, and I was happy with the machine, but the Hockey Puck Mouse was an abomination, even when it was released.

     

    It was horrible to use. Ergonomically speaking, it was a pain in the ass and not really made for human hands. A round mouse is just a dumb idea. There were also technical limitations at the time, and the mouse used this little rubber ball inside, that kept getting dirty. I don't fault Apple for that, it's not like they could have shipped a laser mouse back then, but there's no excuse for the poor ergonomic design.

     

    Of course it wasn't that big of a deal, because anybody who wanted to, could just hook up a third party mouse or trackball to the iMac, as it was one of the first computers to feature USB, if not the first.

     

    I probably still have that hockey puck mouse laying around in some box somewhere.

  • Reply 8 of 46
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jungmark View Post



    Jobs saw talent and it shows. Apple has been, is, and will be in good hands.

     

     

    I agree that Jobs saw talent. 

     

    Whether that talent is in good hands is an open question.

  • Reply 9 of 46

    You could say that Ive feared that his 'Ives of March' was coming. <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

  • Reply 10 of 46
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    I want to hear how Ives got locked up in the White Dimension, whether he went voluntarily, and how often he does or doesn't visit this world.
  • Reply 11 of 46
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    saarek wrote: »
    bageljoey wrote: »
    I'm curious about this one. Last time I read about the Ive/Jobs meeting I remember hearing that Ive was planning to quit because he wasn't happy with the direction Apple's design work was going. I would want to read the book to see if this is actually a conflicting story or just a different spin on the same story...
    From what I remember from other articles Ive had his resignation letter because he expected to be fired and felt that he'd prefer to quit.

    I remember a story that Steve Jobs rubbished everything the design department had done in recent years and asked if there was anything else they wanted to show him. Ive went to a cupboard and brought out his teardrop All-in-One computer concept.
    The rest is history.
  • Reply 12 of 46
    lee493lee493 Posts: 22member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by proline View Post

     



    As he exists today, Ive is in a league of his own. However, 'Ive' today is not one man but a whole team of expert designers backed by a huge number of expert engineers and unlimited money. He also has a huge amount of experience to draw on, including dreadful designs like the hockey puck and failed designs like the cube and Newton. It stands to reason then that he has surpassed Esslinger.




    That's often been the case after an industrial designer becomes famous.  I.E., all sorts of things attributed to Raymond Loewy were primarily the work of his understudies.

  • Reply 13 of 46
    prolineproline Posts: 223member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

     

    That has got to be one of the worst things that he's ever designed. Somebody should ask him in an interview what he thinks about it today.


    I don't think he'd try to defend it. He'd probably say something along the lines of "I'm embarrassed to talk about it" and "Steve liked the perfect geometry of the circle". That's about all you'd get.

  • Reply 14 of 46
    proline wrote: »
    "Apple wrote:
    [" url="/t/185344/jony-ive-feared-jobs-would-fire-him-on-returning-to-apple-book-excerpt-says#post_2695871"]
     
    That has got to be one of the worst things that he's ever designed. Somebody should ask him in an interview what he thinks about it today.
    I don't think he'd try to defend it. He'd probably say something along the lines of "I'm embarrassed to talk about it" and "Steve liked the perfect geometry of the circle". That's about all you'd get.

    It's not nearly as bad as Apple ][ is making out. It was a cute mouse, and fine to use. Not as good as the Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad, but there we are.
  • Reply 15 of 46
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    proline wrote: »
    I don't think he'd try to defend it. He'd probably say something along the lines of "I'm embarrassed to talk about it" and "Steve liked the perfect geometry of the circle". That's about all you'd get.

    The design is better than any windows mouse I've seen. But it was hard to use.
  • Reply 16 of 46
    aaronjaaronj Posts: 1,595member

    It's a damn good thing that Jony was wrong.

     

    *whew* !!! :)

  • Reply 17 of 46
    hypoluxahypoluxa Posts: 694member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

     

     

    That has got to be one of the worst things that he's ever designed. Somebody should ask him in an interview what he thinks about it today.

     

    I bought one of those early iMacs, and I was happy with the machine, but the Hockey Puck Mouse was an abomination, even when it was released.

     

    It was horrible to use. Ergonomically speaking, it was a pain in the ass and not really made for human hands. A round mouse is just a dumb idea. There were also technical limitations at the time, and the mouse used this little rubber ball inside, that kept getting dirty. I don't fault Apple for that, it's not like they could have shipped a laser mouse back then, but there's no excuse for the poor ergonomic design.

     

    Of course it wasn't that big of a deal, because anybody who wanted to, could just hook up a third party mouse or trackball to the iMac, as it was one of the first computers to feature USB, if not the first.

     

    I probably still have that hockey puck mouse laying around in some box somewhere.




    I second that sentiment. I've always used a 3rd party mouse. 

  • Reply 18 of 46
    hypoluxa wrote: »
    "Apple wrote:
    [" url="/t/185344/jony-ive-feared-jobs-would-fire-him-on-returning-to-apple-book-excerpt-says#post_2695871"]
     

    That has got to be one of the worst things that he's ever designed. Somebody should ask him in an interview what he thinks about it today.

    I bought one of those early iMacs, and I was happy with the machine, but the Hockey Puck Mouse was an abomination, even when it was released.

    It was horrible to use. Ergonomically speaking, it was a pain in the ass and not really made for human hands. A round mouse is just a dumb idea. There were also technical limitations at the time, and the mouse used this little rubber ball inside, that kept getting dirty. I don't fault Apple for that, it's not like they could have shipped a laser mouse back then, but there's no excuse for the poor ergonomic design.

    Of course it wasn't that big of a deal, because anybody who wanted to, could just hook up a third party mouse or trackball to the iMac, as it was one of the first computers to feature USB, if not the first.

    I probably still have that hockey puck mouse laying around in some box somewhere.


    I second that sentiment. I've always used a 3rd party mouse. 

    I used to use a 1st party mouse, but it was quite quiet, really. Not the partying type.
  • Reply 19 of 46
    prolineproline Posts: 223member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post





    It's not nearly as bad as Apple ][ is making out. It was a cute mouse, and fine to use. Not as good as the Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad, but there we are.



    It was dreadful to use for anyone with normal sized hands. Serious question, is it possible you were a child back then?

     

    The hockey puck also had real negative impact as it solidified in the minds of many critics that Apple is a company willing to put form ahead of function and that their machines were for looking at not doing serious work. Apple has been able to win over a lot of people over time and succeed regardless, but we see echoes of this sentiment to this day. 

  • Reply 20 of 46
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by proline View Post

     



    It was dreadful to use for anyone with normal sized hands. Serious question, is it possible you were a child back then?

     

    The hockey puck also had real negative impact as it solidified in the minds of many critics that Apple is a company willing to put form ahead of function and that their machines were for looking at not doing serious work. Apple has been able to win over a lot of people over time and succeed regardless, but we see echoes of this sentiment to this day. 




    Actually, it was quite comfortable to use IF you were handling it with 2 fingers on top and click with the middle finger on a low friction pad. But this is not the usual way to handle a mouse and require big hand, and the normal way was indeed both uncomfortable and unprecise.

     

    the biggest problem with the normal way was unwanted rotations of the puck.

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