Jony Ive explains Apple's interest in wearables, design philosophy at Met Gala 2016

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In an interview published on Tuesday, Apple CDO Jony Ive offered his take on the recent Apple-sponsored Met Gala, the intersection of fashion and design, Apple Watch, wearables and more.


Apple CDO Jony Ive (left) and CEO Tim Cook with Laurene Powell Jobs at the 2016 Met Gala. | Source: Vogue


The interview, part of a Met Gala profile put together by Business of Fashion, gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at Monday's event, which was held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute in New York. Ive introduced this year's exhibit, "Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology," alongside Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton and event co-chair, museum trustee and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

Adding to an already massive advertising push, Apple sponsored the event in an apparent bid to legitimize Apple Watch as a true fashion accessory. Company CEO Tim Cook and Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, were also on hand at yesterday's extravaganza.

As for Apple Watch, Ive toed the company line, saying the product is merely a continuation of Apple's quest to design increasingly personal devices.

"Regardless of whether we declare an interest in fashion or not, we are making products that are more and more personal...products that you wear and you wear every day," Ive said. Although Apple has not announced an outright jump into fashion, the company is obviously on that path with Apple Watch, as evidenced by exclusive partnerships with Hermes and Coach. Wearables is a new segment for Apple, but the category jibes with the company's overarching brand philosophy.

"We've not done that before and we've got a lot to learn," Ive said. "Just talking to Andrew [Bolton] is hugely informative. I think we have always had a very clear and a very singular approach to how we design products that are more familiar to people, more established in terms of product categories. I think it's very hard to have that same clarity and singularity when you're not absolutely confident in your subject matter."

The design chief made a point to address conjecture regarding Watch's place in the Apple ecosystem. Some pundits have described wearables as a passing fad, one that Apple is looking to cash in on with Watch.

"Of course, this is a new category for us, one that we think is such a natural one because we think in a very authentic way," he said. "It's not us being opportunistic in the way our competitors are. It's not us thinking, 'Well, this is a growing category.' That couldn't be further from the truth."

Ive said he personally loves first-generation devices, adding, "You know we can't talk about future products, but if you look at what we typically do is that we don't make something and stop." He declined to offer specifics, but suggested big changes are in store for the platform.

"It's quite interesting that if you look back at the first generation of the iPod or the Phone -- what happens in the next two, three, four years is dramatic. You'd be very surprised about some of the things you would absolutely assume that the first Phone did and it didn't have," Ive said.

As for the show itself, Ive found "a calm and serenity and gentleness to the overall exhibition" that served a perfect stage for the pieces on display.

"In our work, we've always tried to design in a way where you're not aware of the problems that we've had to solve. That's the job of the designer: to solve problems and explore, but not really drag you through what all the problems were. I was irritated to have to leave [the exhibit]."

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    irelandireland Posts: 17,468member
    Video!!!!?
  • Reply 2 of 20
    thrangthrang Posts: 745member
    "As for Apple Watch, Ive toed the company line,..." What douchebag editorializing...you're implying Ive dislikes the Watch?
    tmayjony0radarthekatmacgui
  • Reply 3 of 20
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    thrang said:
    "As for Apple Watch, Ive toed the company line,..." What douchebag editorializing...you're implying Ive dislikes the Watch?
    Yes, having an employee not dissing a product he just designed for his own company.... Is "towing the company line" (sic) ... In bizarro world!

    Doing the opposite would be really idiotic or sign of some mental issue, like a director putting Alan Smitty on his own movie (used when directors don't want their name on the movie they just made), or an actor dissing his movie during the press tour (which bizarrely happens more often than expected).

     Editorial nonsense must also be expected when towing the company line...  or more likely trawling the net for clicks.
    rogifan_newcornchipmacgui
  • Reply 4 of 20
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,470member
    Shorter: we've learned a lot over the past year and this product won't be anything like it is today a few years from now. 
    cornchip
  • Reply 5 of 20
    cincyteecincytee Posts: 244member
    As for Apple Watch, Ive toed the company line,...

    Ummm, considering his position, the company toes his line about its philosophy of aesthetics and design.
    jony0radarthekatcornchipmacgui
  • Reply 6 of 20
    Enviro GEnviro G Posts: 6member
    Way to go Jon!
  • Reply 7 of 20
    woodbinewoodbine Posts: 81member
    Come on Ive, crack a f***ing smile will ya? (maybe he's missing his beans on toast)
  • Reply 8 of 20
    latifbplatifbp Posts: 544member
    thrang said:
    "As for Apple Watch, Ive toed the company line,..." What douchebag editorializing...you're implying Ive dislikes the Watch?
    Um... It means he just says the same, carefully sculpted line all Apple execs say when talking about the watch. Why you getting all emo?
    cornchip
  • Reply 9 of 20
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,772member
    Can't wait to see the Watch ][.  :)
    cornchip
  • Reply 10 of 20
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,279member
    Shorter: we've learned a lot over the past year and this product won't be anything like it is today a few years from now. 
    Even shorter: don't waste your money on first gen devices, as they will improve dramatically.
  • Reply 11 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,351member
    Mr. Cook does not look comfortable in a tux. Wasn't there a better picture taken? That's not a very good one IMHO but maybe it's the way he's standing or something? Ive on the other hand seems to fit it well. 
  • Reply 13 of 20
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 851member
    The influence of Steve is definitely waning. What happened to ""We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." ???

    http://www.businessinsider.com/steve-jobs-were-apple-we-dont-wear-suits-we-dont-even-own-suits-2010-7
  • Reply 14 of 20
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,760member
    linkman said:
    The influence of Steve is definitely waning. What happened to ""We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." ???

    http://www.businessinsider.com/steve-jobs-were-apple-we-dont-wear-suits-we-dont-even-own-suits-2010-7
    You dress appropriately for the venue/event you are attending when it's not your own.
    macgui
  • Reply 15 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,351member
    mike1 said:
    linkman said:
    The influence of Steve is definitely waning. What happened to ""We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." ???

    http://www.businessinsider.com/steve-jobs-were-apple-we-dont-wear-suits-we-dont-even-own-suits-2010-7
    You dress appropriately for the venue/event you are attending when it's not your own.
    Dress appropriately?? Have you seen the photos of some other attendee's? Maybe anything goes and there are no rules when you're famous and wealthy. I wouldn't know.
  • Reply 16 of 20
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 851member
    mike1 said:
    linkman said:
    The influence of Steve is definitely waning. What happened to ""We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." ???

    http://www.businessinsider.com/steve-jobs-were-apple-we-dont-wear-suits-we-dont-even-own-suits-2010-7
    You dress appropriately for the venue/event you are attending when it's not your own.
    That's not what Steve did. Jeans and mock turtleneck for something like the last 20 years of his life.
  • Reply 17 of 20
    thrangthrang Posts: 745member
    latifbp said:
    thrang said:
    "As for Apple Watch, Ive toed the company line,..." What douchebag editorializing...you're implying Ive dislikes the Watch?
    Um... It means he just says the same, carefully sculpted line all Apple execs say when talking about the watch. Why you getting all emo?
    toe the line 1. accept the authority, principles, or policies of a particular group, especially under pressure. synonyms: conform, obey the rules, observe the rules, comply with the rules, abide by the rules, follow the rules; informalplay by the rules "the choice is yours: toe the line or pack your bags" . . It is used in a negative connotation, which this pseudo writer does often...
    edited May 2016 cornchip
  • Reply 18 of 20
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    linkman said:
    The influence of Steve is definitely waning. What happened to ""We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." ???

    http://www.businessinsider.com/steve-jobs-were-apple-we-dont-wear-suits-we-dont-even-own-suits-2010-7
    Cook and well, many others, wore suits for 20 years when it's appropriate. I think being true to yourself is what's needed, not following some precept blindly.

    If you have to do dress some way, well it might as well be a suit. How would that even be "rebellious".
  • Reply 19 of 20
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,188moderator
    linkman said:
    mike1 said:
    You dress appropriately for the venue/event you are attending when it's not your own.
    That's not what Steve did. Jeans and mock turtleneck for something like the last 20 years of his life.
    Not quite, Oscars 2010:





    and when Al Gore got an award in 2007:





    They mostly don't suit suits because suits represent people different than they are. Suits represent people like the ones at Microsoft who think casual Friday is just leaving out the tie.

    You can see this difference in their product design. Everything Microsoft does is squared off and Apple uses rounded corners (keyboard keys, icons, hardware/software).

    Microsoft's style is formal, corporate, technical:





    Apple's design in the same context is informal, welcoming, friendly:





    Through time, the suits have been IBM, Microsoft, RIM/Blackberry, AT&T/Verizon etc. They are people who have a habit of setting up rigid guidelines and making sure they and others conform to those. This gives a sense of assurance and reliability, which works well in business but it restricts their mobility, just like wearing a suit. Bill Gates said he'd like to have Steve's taste for people and products and said he thought more like an engineer. You could put Bill Gates in a casual outfit and it wouldn't look right because it's not compatible with who he is. You can take the tie off John Browett and he's fooling nobody because being a suit wearer speaks volumes in everything you do. This was clear with Amelio and Sculley. None of the people leading Apple just now are suit wearers, they just dress up now and again.
    cornchiplinkmanpatchythepirate
  • Reply 20 of 20
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,131member
    Marvin said:
     None of the people leading Apple just now are suit wearers, they just dress up now and again.
    Great post. I'm sure whoever is downvoting all the posts in this thread will hit yours (and mine) too, but I thought it was well thought out.
    patchythepirate
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