Jony Ive discusses 'fragile' ideas leading to design of iPhone, App Store

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Ideas are extremely fragile but come from a desire to explore, Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive told the Cambridge Union Society on Monday, in a lecture after receiving the Stephen Hawking Fellowship from the Society for being one of the "most influential individuals in modern technology."

Apple CDO Jony Ive speaking at the Cambridge Union
Apple CDO Jony Ive speaking at the Cambridge Union


The Hawking Fellowship is an honorary scholarship established last year, months before the death of Steven Hawking in March 2018. The honor identifies distinguished figures in STEM fields and recognizes their contributions to their respective crafts and industries, with Ive being the second person to receive the honor.

Delivering the lecture to the Cambridge Union on Monday over the course of an hour, Ive covered a number of subject areas surrounding his work, reports Forbes, but it was all connected together by discussions on the troubles of producing ideas and developing them into full products.

"We designers create tools," asserted Ive early in the lecture. "Tools that you can live in, sit on, eat with, tools that enable communication and support learning, creating, and mending. Our tools can be powerful, they can be beautiful, and on many occasions they're not motivated by understood or articulated needs."

On the subject of the Mac, Ive notes it has become a very powerful tool for design and creation. "I realized that what you make represents who you are. It stands testament to your values and preoccupations, and using the Mac I sensed a clear and direct connection with the people who actually created the Macintosh."

Moving to the design process, Ive believes ideas are fragile "almost by definition," as if they were resolved and robust, they would cease to be ideas, and instead would be shipping products. Ive suggests he's "always taken an enormous delight when the most tentative thought, often from the quietest voice, evolves into significant and substantial products."

The creation of the App Store itself stems from the fragile concepts worked on before the launch of the iPhone, such as the production of the multi-touch interface and associated gestures that "not only defined a new natural and intuitive interface" but also "defined an opportunity to create applications with their own unique, very specific interface."

"We came to see that we could make applications purposeful, compelling, and intuitive to use," suggested Ive. "And so, as the potential for a vast range of apps became clear, so did the idea for an App Store."

Ive also expressed the belief that "being inquisitive, being curious, being open, unites a diverse group of people" when working together, by enabling effective collaboration. "I really have come to believe that common vision and shared purpose is just not enough, but when we genuinely look at a problem it's an opportunity to lean together. We discover something together."

Ive ended his lecture by referencing something said by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs about 10 years ago, due to the passage "seeming entirely fitting, mindful of where I am, and why I'm here."

The Jobs passage reads: "There's lots of ways to be as a person. People express their deep appreciation in different ways. But one of the ways that I believe people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there. And you never meet the people, you never shake their hands. You never hear their story or tell yours but somehow, in the act of making something with a great deal of care and love, something is transmitted there. And it's a way of expressing to the rest of our species our deep appreciation."

Jony Ive's lecture follows after a number of interviews by the design chief in recent months, discussing just-launched products and other areas. He has previously talked about being proud of the Apple Watch, the design choices behind the new iPad Pro, and has declared he is nowhere close to being done working at Apple.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    I really hope he’s not beta testing the new Apple Glasses, those things are hideous! haha
    techprod1gycornchipwonkothesaneJWSCwlym
  • Reply 2 of 23
    Jony ain’t looking so good...
  • Reply 3 of 23
    Is it just me, or is that the worst fitting suit in the history of men’s fashion?   Hoping it’s just a bad angle.  Of all the people I would expect to take pride in dressing sharp, Johnny Ive would’ve been at the top of my list.  

    All he ever wears in Apple videos/pictures is a white or black T-shirt, usually from the chest up.

    That being said, the guy is a design genius.  I don’t judge a book by the cover.  
    edited November 2018 cornchipJWSC
  • Reply 4 of 23
    Jony Ive must be living well off of Apple....he's putting on some weight.
  • Reply 5 of 23
    judging on the comments this is clearly why he isn't in videos anymore, poor guy hope he turns his life around
  • Reply 6 of 23
    dougddougd Posts: 218member
    Looks like he's getting fat
  • Reply 7 of 23
    I just can’t take him seriously in those glasses..
  • Reply 8 of 23
    Wow.  Every single comment is about his appearance.  What shallow people we are.

    Instead I want to whine about Apple's "fragile" stock price over the past few weeks and days.  Also not related to the article, but at least I'm not fat shaming.
    rogifan_newradarthekatcornchipJWSCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 23
    Wow.  Every single comment is about his appearance.  What shallow people we are.

    Instead I want to whine about Apple's "fragile" stock price over the past few weeks and days.  Also not related to the article, but at least I'm not fat shaming.
    Well for what it's worth, I am commenting about his glasses.
    randominternetperson
  • Reply 10 of 23
    If you ask me, this guy is being way too glorified and getting way too much credit.. All one has to do is look at some of the absolute amateurish F-UPS in the last few years both in design and ergonomics. Stating with the Igore battery case.. to iphone on/off buttons and ui ergonomics, to apple pencil and everything about it ( except the latency) , the mac pro( mind freaking buggeling ) , the whole dongle mess. And the whole BS of Clutter FREE. It is not clutter free.. its CLUTTER SCATTER. .. its parallel to taking your garbage out of your home and dumping it on the sidewalk right at your door. .... Too many issues..yet all shrowded by eloquent elitist talk and the B accent. Sigh.
    edited November 2018 AI_liaskamilton
  • Reply 11 of 23
    Wow.  Every single comment is about his appearance.  What shallow people we are.

    Instead I want to whine about Apple's "fragile" stock price over the past few weeks and days.  Also not related to the article, but at least I'm not fat shaming.
    For someone in charge of the look and feel of hardware and software at Apple it seems a bit odd to me that he chose those glasses. 
    jorgieJinTechslprescott
  • Reply 12 of 23
    Wow.  Every single comment is about his appearance.  What shallow people we are.
    This is Jony Ive we are talking about.. he makes more money each month than most of us do in 5 years based on his "style". The fact that he looks like he is wearing glasses from Wal-mart is fairly note worthy.
    JinTechslprescott
  • Reply 13 of 23

    That being said, the guy is a design genius.  I don’t judge a book by the cover.  
    The designer for a book is the person that does the cover, so you should very much judge their work by its cover.
    edited November 2018 williamh
  • Reply 14 of 23
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,953member
    jorgie said:

    That being said, the guy is a design genius.  I don’t judge a book by the cover.  
    The designer for a book is the person that does the cover, so you should very much judge their work by its cover.
    Honestly, this conversation is idiotic.  Please connect the dots in your thought process which made you decide that, in order to be a top notch industrial designer, one must also have good fashion sense.  This is the same level of non-thinking as the guy who came to the conclusion that women who have brightly coloured hair are akin to poisonous animals.  I feel like I'm living in the movie Idiocracy these days.
    edited November 2018 dewmerandominternetpersonlorin schultzRayz2016
  • Reply 15 of 23
    Wow.  Every single comment is about his appearance.  What shallow people we are.

    Instead I want to whine about Apple's "fragile" stock price over the past few weeks and days.  Also not related to the article, but at least I'm not fat shaming.
    For someone in charge of the look and feel of hardware and software at Apple it seems a bit odd to me that he chose those glasses. 
    Why?
  • Reply 16 of 23
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,900member
    jorgie said:
    Wow.  Every single comment is about his appearance.  What shallow people we are.
    This is Jony Ive we are talking about.. he makes more money each month than most of us do in 5 years based on his "style". The fact that he looks like he is wearing glasses from Wal-mart is fairly note worthy.
    You do realize that Jony Ive is not a fashion model? His "style" has nothing to do with his personal appearance or how much money he makes. His "style" is embodied in who he is as a creative leader and his ability to capture and shepherd fragile and ephemeral concepts from vapor into concrete products that change how vast tracts of society interact with technology that would otherwise be unapproachable. 

    This man is inextricably linked to his art and the collaborative creative process. Most visionaries can only master the artistic part of this magic combination, e.g., Elon Musk and Thomas Edison, but very few can master the collaborative part. The fact that he is able to do what he does repeatedly, within a collaborate team oriented creative environment, and remain free of the narcissistic tendencies that often pollute the minds and hearts of other singularly outstanding visionaries truly puts him in a league of his own. Everything he says is all about the "we," not about the "me," and evaluates his own and his team's success based on what they are able to accomplish behind a self-enforced veil of secrecy and anonymity, not any public recognition or accolades they may garner. This is Jony Ive's "style," not the 1980s retro eyewear, which is far below any measurable level of significance. 
    JWSCrandominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 23
    those serial killer goggles. that suit. you'd think he'd ask angela to dress him up! 

    seriously, why even bother trying. that look is LOL 
  • Reply 18 of 23
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,012member
    Wow.  Every single comment is about his appearance.  What shallow people we are.

    Instead I want to whine about Apple's "fragile" stock price over the past few weeks and days.  Also not related to the article, but at least I'm not fat shaming.
    If Jony had been a woman few would have batted an eyelid on such comments. On that note, Jony himself ain’t looking so fragile atm. That picture calls to mind Tom Cruises character in Tropic Thunder.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    wlymwlym Posts: 77member
    If you ask me, this guy is being way too glorified and getting way too much credit.. All one has to do is look at some of the absolute amateurish F-UPS in the last few years both in design and ergonomics. Stating with the Igore battery case.. to iphone on/off buttons and ui ergonomics, to apple pencil and everything about it ( except the latency) , the mac pro( mind freaking buggeling ) , the whole dongle mess. And the whole BS of Clutter FREE. It is not clutter free.. its CLUTTER SCATTER. .. its parallel to taking your garbage out of your home and dumping it on the sidewalk right at your door. .... Too many issues..yet all shrowded by eloquent elitist talk and the B accent. Sigh.
    "If you ask me,…". Nope. No one did.
    randominternetpersonRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 23
    If you ask me, this guy is being way too glorified and getting way too much credit.. All one has to do is look at some of the absolute amateurish F-UPS in the last few years both in design and ergonomics. Stating with the Igore battery case.. to iphone on/off buttons and ui ergonomics, to apple pencil and everything about it ( except the latency) , the mac pro( mind freaking buggeling ) , the whole dongle mess. And the whole BS of Clutter FREE. It is not clutter free.. its CLUTTER SCATTER. .. its parallel to taking your garbage out of your home and dumping it on the sidewalk right at your door. .... Too many issues..yet all shrowded by eloquent elitist talk and the B accent. Sigh.
    I don't know what an Igore battery case is, but my Apple battery case for my iPhone 6 is right up with AirPods as my favorite accessories.  If you actually have one and use it, you realize that the weird lumpy look is actually the result of making a device that fits well in the hand.  I'm certain that a better looking (more streamlined, thinner) battery case wouldn't be as easy to hold and pickup.  Contrary to common complaints, Apple and Ive don't (intentionally) compromise function for fashion.
    sphericwatto_cobra
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