The UK’s Sunday Timespublished a massive, five-page interview (paywall) with Apple SVP of Design Jonathan Ive today that takes a look at the history and future of Apple from the perspective of the man who designed some of the most iconic devices of the past decade.

In the interview, Ive discusses (among other things) his approach to designing new products, which allows a device’s function to dictate its form:

Ive starts a new project by imagining what a new kind of product should be and what it should do. Only once he’s answered those questions does he work out what it should look like. He seeks advice in unlikely places. He worked with confectionery manufacturers to perfect the translucent jelly-bean shades of his first big hit, the original iMac. He travelled to Niigata in northern Japan to see how metalworkers there beat metal so thin, to help him create the Titanium PowerBook, the first lightweight aluminum laptop in a world of hefty black plastic slabs.

With regard to manufacturers like Samsung “referencing” Apple’s design in their products, Ive called the practice “theft” of “thousands of hours of struggle.” 

A sidebar on the article deals with Ive’s responses to a set of rapid-fire questions on a variety of topics, ranging from whether his age (47) gives him any concern in the technology industry to why he so often turns to white as his color of choice when designing both hardware and software. Ive also notes that Apple is currently (obviously) working on a new product that he can’t say anything about, possibly hinting at rumors of an Apple wearable device or the iOS 8 software.

The interview has been reprinted by TIME and you can read the entire thing there.

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36 Responses to “Sunday Times interviews Jonathan Ive on everything design, Apple, and much more”

  1. Samsung copying the design of the 3GS among other things is why they are now dominant among vendors of Android phones. Their current position is almost entirely based on that theft. Not only Apple, but also all other Android players including Google, should be enraged about that.


  2. Uhh ….
    Can someone throw out a PRINT link so I can Instapaper it?


  3. What an illuminating read, thank you Jonathan for opening up to us. The world is a better place because of you. Hopefully others will eventually learn to think for themselves.


  4. calicoastin says:

    Weird that he says he has a 5th generation phone..doesn’t fancy touch ID I suppose?


  5. How is the titanium powerbook the first aluminium laptop?


  6. Please tell him don’t design software. and bring Scott Forstall.


  7. Guys, the link doesn’t work. Or, ok, works but it sends you to the pic of Ivy, not to the 5-page interview.


  8. matt says:

    Here’s a PDF of the five pages: [removed because of copyright request]


  9. Ives. Take up your complaints about the Agony and Ecstasy of art with Michelangelo or the Pope. Meanwhile shut up and do the work.


  10. albrip says:

    Hate Ive since iOS 7. It shows he can do terrible things, if not guided by a wise man (like Jobs was).


    • rogifan says:

      Ive is not 100% responsible for iOS 7. Craig Federighi owns iOS software. If the software guys and Federighi were totally against iOS 7 design it wouldn’t have happened.


    • Tallest Skil says:

      Enjoy living in the past. You have revoked your right to whine when your software stops working.


    • truth42 says:

      Hate is such a strong word. Do you really HATE Jonathan Ive? Hate Hitler or Stalin or Peter Sutcliffe or Jimmy Saville by all means. But a guy who designs the buttons you tap on your iPad?


      • albrip says:

        Been an happy Apple user since Mac SE/30. They made software that was a pleasure to use and excellent hardware. But always software was the only motivation for the premium price, to me. Now he ruined the iOS so I have no reason to upgrade my iPhone. But there are acceptable alternatives for that (Google is non Microsoft, it CAN do excellent software sometimes) But what I fear now is OS X. I have just no alternatives for that. Hope Apple fires him before the next OS X release.


    • Real artists ship. Look it up. 7.0 is maturing with the release of 7.1. EVERYTHING Jobs did was unfinished.

      iOS 1 (or iPhone OS 1 or whatever it was called) couldn’t even MMS, nor could you change to a custom ringtone. Where was the hate then?

      Calm down, it’s only a phone. You could choose something else if your hate levels get too high. Jive is just a guy, doing a job, you bet your ass he makes mistakes, just like you or I, chill out, his batting average will be OUTSTANDING.


  11. RP says:

    as long as he stays away from UI design, then Ive is OK by me..


  12. I think Ive was wrong with the UI design on iOS7, he tried to make a JUMP on UI design because..market. “everybody wants something different” the change of the iOS was so different. Maybe he should apply on iOS7 an evolution of the skeuomorphism, something a little more “white” but NOT too WHITE. and focus on the features that people want. “QUICKREPLY”( something that we got and love on the Jailbreak scene), one of my favorite features on iOS7 is the swipe-to-back because is very simple, intuitive and give more space on the screen for information instead a big BACK button on every menu.

    iOS7 on the actual iPhones for me, is like seeing OSX Maverick running in old big monitors (Do you remember Alaska PC’s?).
    I mean the actual design of the hardware is not prepare to match with the UI design of the iOS7 ( of course, it runs). Every time Steve said something like this, “we work so hard to unify the software and hardware to make something that you will love”.


  13. herb02135go says:

    This is very confusing.
    People who post here refer to Samsung devices as butt-ugly and such, but then accuse it of copying Apple.

    Can someone please let me know when the reason for disliking Samsung changes?

    Ive is not much of an innovator and I think there is some boasting going on here.


    • dsnwiirocks says:

      Too bad Samsung did a poor job copying.


    • In the phone business everyone copies everyone else – even Apple does its share – whoever had developed a successful Smartphone” design first would inevitably be copied by all the others.

      In just the same way as all cars have 4 wheels/tires and a round steering wheel.


    • Tallest Skil says:

      It’s only confusing because you’re being paid by Samsung to find it so.


    • frankman91 says:

      100% Agree. All I ever here is “Samsung (or SameDung, or ShameSon etc etc) copied everything from Apple”, icon appearance, grid pattern for icons (what about palm?), and so on. And then the next sentence is how ugly and crappy it is. It’s such nonsense.

      I also hear tons of comments on Android being slow and choppy. What was the last model Android they have used? My phone is due for replacement, and all the transitions are smooth, image heavy web pages are smooth, never have slowdown issues.

      I had a guy tell me my naked s3 looked like a ‘big brick’ as he held his iPhone in an otter box case that make it twice as big, then told me a Samsung would never fit in his pocket???

      What people SHOULD be saying is both platforms are amazing!

      Apple can take full credit for making a smooth, usable, full touch-screen based device a reality. This was an amazing feet of engineering. That said, the idea was obvious.

      Back in the days of Palm pilots all the message boards were calling for an integrated phone transceiver, a built in camera, and the loss of the scribe area at the bottom of the screen; in other words, an iPhone.

      I am a tech guy so I don’t like the idea of the locked down Apple world. To me it feels like the Nerf football of technology; but I understand why its popular and why so many people want it.

      People need to breath.


  14. desksaver says:

    “He travelled to Niigata in northern Japan to see how metalworkers there beat metal so thin, to help him create the Titanium PowerBook, the first lightweight aluminum laptop in a world of hefty black plastic slabs”

    The article seems to imply he invented some kind of manufacturing process for the Titanium Powerbook enclosure. The truth is that the manufacturing process used for making the enclosure has been around for a long time.

    If anyone actually believe it is possible to invent the machines used for making titanium enclosures in a large scale by looking someone beating metal with a hammer, then that person is absolutely clueless about what are involved in manufacturing anything in a large scale.