Opinion: Should AAPL stockholders be worried about Jony Ive’s more backseat role?

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The Apple world this morning seems divided between those who seemingly haven’t grasped the implications of Apple’s ‘promotion’ of Jony Ive, merely taking Cook’s memo at face value, and those switching into full-on ‘Apple is doomed’ mode. The reality is, I think, a little more nuanced.

It seems pretty clear that this move is, as Seth outlined earlier, about Ive taking more of a backseat role – and especially being able to spend a lot more time back in England. Apple’s decision to announce the news on a day when the US markets were closed was obviously not coincidence.

Apple didn’t want to see a knee-jerk panic reaction on Wall Street setting its stock diving. But is there reason to panic? Or is it all much ado about nothing? Or something between the two … ?  Read more

The New Yorker profiles Jony Ive: details meeting Jobs, iPhone 6, Apple Watch, cars and more

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The New Yorker has published an extensive profile on Jony Ive, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design. Many newspapers have written up articles on Ive in recent years, but this latest account by Ian Parker is by far the most detailed and (arguably) the most interesting, revealing new anecdotes and tidbits on Apple’s latest products in the process.

The story tracks how Jony arrived at Apple back in the late 90’s, how his relationship with Jobs developed over that period, and how he is adapting to ‘leading’ design in post-Jobs Apple. The piece includes some new details about how the Watch project and the newest iPhones formed, as well as incorporating quotes from Tim Cook, Bob Mansfield, and others.

Read on for some select excerpts from The New Yorker’s story.

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Jony Ive on new materials, software design, Tim Cook’s leadership

Jony Ive via Telegraph.co.uk

Following a few quotes from a Jony Ive interview with The New York Times appearing in a longer piece about Tim Cook over the weekend, the publication has now published a longer transcript from the interview. In the interview, Ive was asked about working with Cook, how things have changed post Steve Jobs, and he also gave some insight into his daily work routine.  We meet on average three times a week. Sometimes those meetings are over in his space, sometimes here in the design studio. We all see the same physical object. Something happens between what we objectively see and what we perceive it to be.”

Ive described his new role leading software design at the company as “some leadership and direction in terms of user interface – a subset of software,” and most interestingly seemed to hint at using new materials for products that the company hasn’t worked with before. Naturally, Ive would have loved to say more but couldn’t: I would love to talk about future stuff – they’re materials we haven’t worked in before. I’ve been working on this stuff for a few years now. Tim is fundamentally involved in pushing into these new areas and into these materials.” Read more

Sir Jonathan: Apple’s design mastermind Jonathan Ive awarded knighthood in the United Kingdom

Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design Jonathan Ive can add a new title to his resume: Sir Jonathan Ive. According to BBC, Ive was granted knighthood in the United Kingdom in the New Year Honours List. The report said that Ive’s official title is a Knight Commander of the British Empire. Ive, who was born and raised in the United Kingdom before moving to the United States to pursue design work, said that the honor is “absolutely thrilling.”

Ive credits his home country for some of his incredible design work: “I am keenly aware that I benefit from a wonderful tradition in the U.K. of designing and making.” While Ive has had an extremely successful career in Cupertino, California as Apple’s design chief, recent rumors said the designer of the iPod, iMac, iPhone, and most recently the iPad, was considering a move back to the United Kingdom. Soon after those rumors, a reliable report claimed Ive would not be leaving…

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Isaacson interviewed Jony Ive in his bunker, here’s what came out with him

The world’s most famous industrial design lab is found at the ground floor of Apple’s corporate campus at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California. It’s arguably one of the most closely guarded offices on the planet. Even Steve Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson was asked to interview Apple’s leading designer elsewhere most of the time. But one day in 2010, Jonathan Ive took the writer for a tour inside his design bunker. It holds “the future for the next three years”, the Briton told Isaacson. According to the just-released biography, the facility is as cutting-edge as cutting-edge gets.

Nobody gets past the guards without special access cards. The office has heavy locks and tinted windows. It features metallic gray decor and has powerful boom boxes that pump out techno and jazz music for a bunch of designers developing future design ideas. Expensive prototyping equipment can be seen inside and various machines to apply paint and make countless foam models of future products are everywhere.

Jobs would often visit Ive’s design lab to actively participate in the design process and his artistic sensibilities were crucial for Apple’s design prowess, Ive said:

In so many other companies, ideas and great design get lost in the process. The ideas that come from me and my team would have been completely irrelevant, nowhere, if Steve hadn’t been here to push us, work with us, and drive us through all the resistance to turn our ideas into products.

Apple’s design guru also tells how they often obsessed over the packaging for Apple products:

Steve and I spend a lot of time on the packaging. I love the process of unpacking something. You design a ritual of unpacking to make the product feel special. Packaging can be theater, it can create a story.

But it wasn’t all peachy. The designer would at times get upset with his late boss for “taking too much credit”, which didn’t sit well with Ive’s introvert personality and especially his careful consideration to always put his team’s efforts first and foremost:

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