Apple Watch one of the first post-Steve Jobs products at Apple, says Jony Ive

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in Apple Watch
In an interview with a design magazine, Apple's design chief reveals that he never talked about the Apple Watch with Steve Jobs, and elaborates on the early design process.

Jony Ive at Conde Nast


Jony Ive, Apple's Chief Design Officer, spoke with Hodinkee, which describes itself as the world's leading online wristwatch magazine, in a new interview published this week, where Ive reveals some surprising things about the creation of the Apple Watch.

Amid discussion of what inspired Ive as a young man, and his favorite watches, Ive reveals in the interview with Hodinkee founder Benjamin Clymer that he doesn't remember ever talking about the Apple Watch -- or watches in general -- with Steve Jobs, nor was the Apple Watch ever a consideration for Apple during Jobs' time at the company.

"The first discussion took place in early 2012, a few months after Steve's passing," Ive says in the interview. "It caused us to take time, pausing to think about where we wanted to go, what trajectory we were on as a company, and what motivated us. Also, what concisely was our contribution to our users. And I think, incontrovertibly, that Apple since the 1970s has made difficult-to-comprehend and inaccessible technology easy to understand and accessible."

Birth of a Watch

Two Apple Watches on a table


Ive goes on to describe the process of how the Apple Watch was developed, leading up to its initial release in April 2015. He calls it "both typical and atypical" for Apple's product development.

"We are a tight knit group of designers, and as always, these things start with an idea that quickly becomes a conversation that changes in nature as soon as you start to draw and make physical objects," said Ive. "Things are exceptionally fragile as an idea -- entirely abstract -- but once there is an object between us, it is galvanizing."

Ive added that Apple enlisted seven watch experts to develop the first Apple Watch. After years of speculation, the device was unveiled in September 2014, and released in April 2015.

While Ive says in the interview that he doesn't remember Jobs ever even wearing a watch, but the interviewer had bid unsuccessfully for the Seiko watch that Jobs was wearing in the famous Norman Seef photograph with the Macintosh from 1984.

Apple's wearables division on its own, as of the most recent earnings release last week, is now the size of a Fortune 300 company.

Ive's tenure as the top design mind at Apple began with the creation of the iMac two decades ago. Ive became chancellor of the Royal College of Art in London last year, and is regularly interviewed by design publications.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 58
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,021member
    [Ive] reveals that he never talked about the Apple Watch with Steve Jobs,
    I still wonder if Jobs had talked about it with anyone or had jotted down anything about this being a potential future market as technology advanced since it started being formed only a couple months after his death. I know I was thinking about the potential of wrist-worn wearables from Apple even while Jobs was CEO.

    Apple's wearables division on its own, as of the most recent earnings release last week, is now the size of a Fortune 300 company
    1) I'm glad to see that headphones are being counted as wearables. The amount of pushback I had on this forum regarding that issue was ridiculous. Hopefully everyone is onboard with that basic concept by now.

    2) Beats, AirPods and Watch are all popular, but I wonder how what percentage Apple Watch accounts for that Fortune 300 ranking.
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 58
    dougddougd Posts: 177member
    Stands to reason.  Hard to believe Jobs would approve of this joke of a product
    hammeroftruthfreethinkingQwertyHuanbloggerblogkkqd1337
  • Reply 3 of 58
    boboliciousbobolicious Posts: 323member
    ... as I suspected, or maybe feared ...
  • Reply 4 of 58
    netroxnetrox Posts: 562member
    I am glad Apple Watch was developed. I am wearing it and loving it.
    patchythepirateapplesnorangesStrangeDaysjSnivelyaegeanMacsplosionGeorgeBMacDavidAlGregorywatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 58
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 5,874member
    Okay, so now we have the “If Steve didn’t think of it it’s useless crap” contingent of the peanut gallery running off at the mouth. So boring to read the above posts.
    patchythepirateradarthekatStrangeDaysmwhitenetroxchiaroundaboutnowlolliverMplsPRayz2016
  • Reply 6 of 58
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,211member
    dougd said:
    Stands to reason.  Hard to believe Jobs would approve of this joke of a product
    Please explain this "joke of a product". We'd love to hear!

    You do know Steve Jobs was the ultimate flip flopper right? He could be totally against something one day and be convinced it was a good idea the next and be totally onboard with it (iPad mini, iOS App Store, etc). 

    I seriously doubt its taking away from the Mac mini or Mac Pro being developed...if that's what you're thinking. 
    edited May 9 SoliradarthekatmwhitechialolliverskingersMplsPGeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 58
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,211member
    lkrupp said:
    Okay, so now we have the “If Steve didn’t think of it it’s useless crap” contingent of the peanut gallery running off at the mouth. So boring to read the above posts.
    Exactly as if Steve never "approved" a flop of a product in his tenure as CEO of Apple. Doesn't matter who you are or how successful you are (were)...sometimes you get it right and sometimes you don't. Apple more often than not in the past 20 or so years has gotten it right, even with 2 different CEO's and the helm. 

    Also, its not like Steve thought of every single little thing at Apple. There are other people (very talented people too) who work at Apple and still do to this day who also thought of things and convinced Steve that it was a good idea. 
    edited May 9 lollivermuthuk_vanalingammike1watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 58
    BluntBlunt Posts: 194member
    dougd said:
    Stands to reason.  Hard to believe Jobs would approve of this joke of a product

    Stupid comment but in line with your negativity of the past.
    edited May 9 StrangeDaysmwhitelolliverskingersRayz2016mike1GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 58
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,264member
    macxpress said:
    lkrupp said:
    Okay, so now we have the “If Steve didn’t think of it it’s useless crap” contingent of the peanut gallery running off at the mouth. So boring to read the above posts.
    Exactly as if Steve never "approved" a flop of a product in his tenure as CEO of Apple. Doesn't matter who you are or how successful you are (were)...sometimes you get it right and sometimes you don't. Apple more often than not in the past 20 or so years has gotten it right, even with 2 different CEO's and the helm. 

    Also, its not like Steve thought of every single little thing at Apple. There are other people (very talented people too) who work at Apple and still do to this day who also thought of things and convinced Steve that it was a good idea. 
    Agreed. It's also very likely that not every great idea that comes up for consideration ever sees the light of day. All ideas, whether great, just okay, breakthroughs, or disturbingly useless have to be relevant in time and space and fit within the context of the company's objectives. It's very dynamic. Steve Jobs was famous for saying "no" to many many things and a lot of those no's were great ideas or even breakthroughs that somehow didn't fit the timing, placement, time-to-market, or some other relevant context of what Steve and Apple was focused on when the ideas were considered for further investment and staffing. Any run of the mill mediocre leader can filter the wheat from the chaff. The great ones can make the right choices based on a much broader vision and understanding of an ideas true potential at a given point in time. Sometimes the best ideas are hidden in the chaff.
    StrangeDayschialolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 58
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 366member
    dougd said:
    Stands to reason.  Hard to believe Jobs would approve of this joke of a product
    Image result for yawn
    StrangeDayschiaskingersRoyfb
  • Reply 11 of 58
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 2,715member
    I love my Apple Watch and wear it every day. I think a lot of the negative sentiment is around the way it was announced and the perceived lack of focus, Partially I think that’s because Apple lost their best story teller and on stage presenter when Jobs died. Also there was so much pressure on Apple at that time and so many questioning if the company was innovative and demanding the next hit product that they couldn’t just announce Apple Watch as a fitness tracker with notifications and Apple Pay. As much as some complained about the Watch’s lack of focus if Apple had launched it as basically a fitness tracker they would have been laughed off the stage and all the tech press would have said “that’s it?”. Also as we saw with Apple TV, Apple does what it knows which is apps.

    I’m sure in the past 3 years or so Apple has learned a lot. Their focus now seems to be exclusively health and fitness. The Watch as an app platform is kind of dead (same could be said about Apple TV) which is OK as I don’t think it’s the best use of the device. I can’t remember the last time I launched a 3rd party app on my Watch. It will be fascinating to see where Apple takes the device in the future.
    hammeroftruthjcs2305mike54skingers
  • Reply 12 of 58
    farmboyfarmboy Posts: 128member
    dougd said:
    Stands to reason.  Hard to believe Jobs would approve of this joke of a product
    Yeah, who would want to have a Fortune 300 company based on a piece of junk like that?

    Everyone, including Jobs for sure. He was fond of "hobbies"
    StrangeDaysmwhitechialolliverskingersmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 58
    I think a lot of negative comments stem from how the Apple Watch works in comparison to other iOS products. It can be confusing and frustrating to some people. 

    Some people looked at the 1st gen watch and saw how slow it was, how confusing it was to setup, the fact that if you do a software update and brick it, you have to ship it to Apple to fix it, how slow it is to restore when it really doesn't have all that much to load, etc.  They took all of that and decided it wasn't a good product or should even be called an Apple product. 

    I get that you can tell it was a post Jobs product, but I believe it had the spirit of Steve, it didn't have the conflict that Steve would create when making a product. That's what made their products great. If you don't have that push to be a little better and have competition between engineering groups, then you get mediocre products which is what the original watch was. 

    Sure you can compare it to the iPhone and say this is a new space and it's not fair that I'm so hard on a 1st gen product, maybe. I guess since there isn't a Steve Jobs to go with it to explain why it has the shortcomings it does, it will always be looked down upon. 

    Tim, Phil, Jony, Craig, Jeff can't hold a candle to Steve when it comes to presentations. He would have sold that watch and all the naysayers would have bought at least 1. 

    Plus Steve and Kevin Lynch hated each other over flash, you know how that turned out. 
  • Reply 14 of 58
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 2,982member
    dougd said:
    Stands to reason.  Hard to believe Jobs would approve of this joke of a product
    Except I don't buy it. Just before Jobs died, Apple released an update to the iPod nano with a dozen custom watch faces. Apple and Jobs were aware the iPod was being worn in this manner and used as a wristwatch, and wanted to encourage it's use. Following his death, that nano model was discontinued, and support for it ended. No more watch updates. Given that Jobs was fully behind the nano being used as a watch, it seems rather unlikely that he wouldn't have backed the Apple Watch. And frankly, I don't believe he didn't discuss it as a possibility. Stranger things have happened, but it's implausible to me that Jobs was both aware of the nano's popularity as a watch and ignorant of that potential being developed further. 


    edited May 9 radarthekatSolimwhitechiabloggerblogroundaboutnowmike54lolliverMisterKitJosephAU
  • Reply 15 of 58
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,383member
    ... as I suspected, or maybe feared ...
    Indeed.  Leading the entire global industry in wearables, with a product that is sweeping the competition, and on track to cross the 50M units sold this year.

    Such a flop....it just can compare to the great success that you are...


    StrangeDayschialolliverRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 58
    seankillseankill Posts: 346member
    The Apple Watch is a great product, not essential but very nice to have. 
    jSnivelywatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 58
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,297moderator
    dougd said:
    Stands to reason.  Hard to believe Jobs would approve of this joke of a product
    At some point in the future people won’t carry a wallet or keys.  What product would you suggest incorporate those capabilities?  Today people swipe a fob or keycard to gain access to their workplace.  Are you suggesting we take out our phones to swipe instead, or would it be more natural and convenient to swipe a watch past the reader?  Same for paying for things, as we already see.  The Watch will take on many such convenience tasks.  Even when streaming music from my iPhone through wired earbuds while on a plane or public transport, I find it super convenient to leave the phone in my lap or pocket while using the watch to pause or reduce volume when a travel companion wants to say something or have a short verbal exchange.  Beats frequently pulling an earbud out.  Adjusting lights, temperature, accessing a hotel room while toting bags, checking the weather forecast, etc.  Many tasks are more convenient with a wrist-worn computer.  Even checking the time.
    edited May 9 StrangeDaysvisualzoneLoneStar88staigardwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 58
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,540member
    dougd said:
    Stands to reason.  Hard to believe Jobs would approve of this joke of a product
    Ooh look, another one. Lemme guess, you don't use one, see no value in using one, and for some screwed up reason believe everyone thinks or ought to think like you do? (The inability for many techies to empathize with others is becoming an apparent characteristic. Somewhere "on the spectrum", I'd wager.)

    Regardless of your poor personal opinions of what has merit, I hope you are nowhere near responsible for anyone's money or business. Only a complete fool would say an overnight billion-dollar business that is now the size of a Fortune 300 company is a "joke". 
    edited May 9 gregg thurmanfastasleepchiaroundaboutnowlollivermike1watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 58
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,021member
    dougd doesn't deserve anyone attention. It's not even good trolling.

    mac_128 said:
    dougd said:
    Stands to reason.  Hard to believe Jobs would approve of this joke of a product
    Except I don't buy it. Just before Jobs died, Apple released an update to the iPod nano with a dozen custom watch faces. Apple and Jobs were aware the iPod was being worn in this manner and used as a wristwatch, and wanted to encourage it's use. Following his death, that nano model was discontinued, and support for it ended. No more watch updates. Given that Jobs was fully behind the nano being used as a watch, it seems rather unlikely that he wouldn't have backed the Apple Watch. And frankly, I don't believe he didn't discuss it as a possibility. Stranger things have happened, but it's implausible to me that Jobs was both aware of the nano's popularity as a watch and ignorant of that potential being developed further. 


    Excellent point about the iPad Nano and I had forgotten about the move to make the iPad nano a wearable, which apple was clearly supporting. It seem impossible for Jobs not to have seen the future potential of wrist-worn wearables from Apple, but it doesn't disprove what Ive said and I don't see why that should be questioned. Jobs not discussing it with Ive isn't the same a saying Jobs not having the idea.
    edited May 9 netroxchiaradarthekatlolliverMplsPwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 58
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,540member
    mac_128 said:
    dougd said:
    Stands to reason.  Hard to believe Jobs would approve of this joke of a product
    Except I don't buy it. Just before Jobs died, Apple released an update to the iPod nano with a dozen custom watch faces. Apple and Jobs were aware the iPod was being worn in this manner and used as a wristwatch, and wanted to encourage it's use. Following his death, that nano model was discontinued, and support for it ended. No more watch updates. Given that Jobs was fully behind the nano being used as a watch, it seems rather unlikely that he wouldn't have backed the Apple Watch. And frankly, I don't believe he didn't discuss it as a possibility. Stranger things have happened, but it's implausible to me that Jobs was both aware of the nano's popularity as a watch and ignorant of that potential being developed further. 
    You honestly believe an extremely senior executive is lying about this? Jeeze... "But conspiracy!"
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