In a rare Q&A with the Evening Standard‘s Mark Prigg from the firm’s headquarters, Apple’s design guru talks about Apple’s design process and of course the competition.

When asked what made design different at Apple, Ive responded:

A: We struggle with the right words to describe the design process at Apple, but it is very much about designing and prototyping and making. When you separate those, I think the final result suffers. If something is going to be better, it is new, and if it’s new you are confronting problems and challenges you don’t have references for. To solve and address those requires a remarkable focus. There’s a sense of being inquisitive and optimistic, and you don’t see those in combination very often.

On the genesis of new products:

A: What I love about the creative process, and this may sound naive, is this idea that one day there is no idea, and no solution, but then the next day there is an idea. Where you see the most dramatic shift is when you transition from an abstract idea to a slightly more material conversation. But when you make a 3D model, however crude, you bring form to a nebulous idea and everything changes — the entire process shifts. It galvanises and brings focus from a broad group of people. It’s a remarkable process.

Apple’s goal when building a new product:

A: Our goals are very simple — to design and make better products. If we can’t make something that is better, we won’t do it.

Why is the competition seemingly unable to keep pace with Apple?:

A:Most of our competitors are interested in doing something different, or want to appear new — I think those are completely the wrong goals. A product has to be genuinely better. This requires real discipline, and that’s what drives us — a sincere, genuine appetite to do something that is better.

One particularly interesting comment regarded the praise Ive has for Apple’s iOS iPhoto team (which I do not believe Ive is involved with). He gushed, “The iPhoto app we created for the new iPad completely consumes you and you forget you are using an iPad.”

The entire interview is a great read.

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