Tim Cook reflects on the role of running a post-Steve Jobs Apple as Fortune names him “greatest leader”

Fortune has today named Tim Cook #1 on its list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders, publishing an extensive profile of the Apple CEO in which he reflects on the lessons he’s learned in the time he’s been running the company.

Taking over from Steve was not, he said, an easy transition, and he gained a new appreciation for the way that the co-founder had shielded him and the rest of the team from public criticism.

What I learned after Steve passed away, what I had known only at a theoretical level, an academic level maybe, was that he was an incredible heat shield for us, his executive team. None of us probably appreciated that enough […] but he really took any kind of spears that were thrown. He took the praise as well. But to be honest, the intensity was more than I would ever have expected.

Claims that Apple had lost its ability to innovate under Cook’s leadership were, he said, something he had to learn to block out …  Read more

“He could be a jerk, but never an a-hole” sums up Becoming Steve Jobs, says inner circle journalist

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The conflicting biographies of Steve Jobs, one authorized by its subject prior to his death, the other endorsed by Apple, paint quite different pictures of the man. Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs focuses more on his flaws, while Becoming Steve Jobs describes a softer, more rounded person.

A tech journalist who knew Steve well, Steven Levy, has weighed in with his own take in an interesting blog post, The War Over Who Steve Jobs Was. He said that one quote from Becoming Steve Jobs summed-up the view presented by Schlender and Tetzeli.

He could be a jerk, but never an asshole.

Levy says that many of those close to Steve shared the view expressed by Tim Cook on Isaacson’s biography, published soon after Steve’s death, that it did a “tremendous disservice” to him. Jony Ive said that his own regard for the book “couldn’t be any lower” …  Read more

Apple says it participated in ‘Becoming Steve Jobs’ book from a sense of responsibility to Steve

BecomingSJ

In the first official statement about Apple’s decision to allow Tim Cook and other senior executives to be interviewed for Becoming Steve Jobs, company spokesman Steve Dowling said it was from a sense of responsibility to Steve’s memory.

After a long period of reflection following Steve’s death, we felt a sense of responsibility to say more about the Steve we knew. We decided to participate in Brent and Rick’s book because of Brent’s long relationship with Steve, which gave him a unique perspective on Steve’s life. The book captures Steve better than anything else we’ve seen, and we are happy we decided to participate.

Apple had initially refused interview requests by authors Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, the company taking 18 months to change its mind, reports the NY Times …  Read more

FT interviews Jony Ive ahead of Apple Watch, details on design vs. iPhone (and battery vs. thin), intensity and pricing estimates

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London’s Financial Times today carries a profile of Jony Ive in which he discusses how the Mac changed his dislike of computers, why he is consumed by design and disinterested in sales, the difference between designing a phone (and its slim battery)  and designing a smartwatch–and why Apple decided to take a low-key approach on even the top-end Edition watch.

The piece also contained an interesting (if possibly mistaken) estimate on Apple Watch pricing (update: Apple PR has now confirmed to us that the FT is indeed mistaken) …  Read more

Apple’s design team headed to Paris Fashion Week, likely for Apple Watch event

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Is that Jony Ive and Marc Newson at the top right?

Update: Both relevant photos have since been removed from Instagram.

Following a report earlier today that Apple and French fashion retailer Colette were teasing a one day in-store experience, there’s now more evidence the collaboration might be for Apple’s upcoming Apple Watch. It appears that Apple’s design team could also be headed to the event or at least to the same city, lending more weight to the idea that Apple Watch is about to get some stage time during Paris Fashion Week. Read more

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

San Francisco MOMA to honor Apple’s Jony Ive with Lifetime Achievement award

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Jony Ive, Apple’s revered Senior Vice President of Design, is set to receive a Lifetime Achievement award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). The 2014 SFMOMA award will be presented to Ive on October 30th, and Ive will follow a legendary list of previous recipients that includes Star Wars creator George Lucas. In a statement, the Museum calls Ive “our generation’s most innovative and influential figure in the field of industrial design:”

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Sunday Times interviews Jonathan Ive on everything design, Apple, and much more

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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.”  Read more

Top Apple execs each awarded 35,000 shares, worth up to $19M at today’s price

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An SEC filing reveals that six of Apple’s top execs were each awarded 35,000 Restricted Stock Units (shares that cannot be immediately traded), with a current value of more than $19M. Of this, $12M is awarded outright, subject only to remaining with the company until at least April 2018, with a further $7M dependent on Apple’s stock performance.

The bonuses were awarded to Senior VPs Eddy Cue, Craig Federighi, Dan Riccio, Phil Schiller, Bruce Sewell and Jeffrey Williams. It’s likely that Jony Ive will receive the same, though his stock awards do not have to be reported to the SEC …  Read more

Wishful thinking: Why it’d be nice if Apple created a line of Ive-designed office technology products

Image: deskology.com

Image: deskology.com

I have a number of friends who can’t understand why I pay what they refer to as ‘the Apple tax': the premium paid for Apple products over alternatives that offer much the same functionality.

I can argue about the functionality, of course. The usability, stability and (usually!) security of OS X are all things worth paying for in my view, but I’m not ashamed to admit that aesthetics also matter to me. When I’m going to spend 8+ hours in front of a computer, I’d rather I was looking at something sleek and beautiful rather than something plastic, ugly and a chore to use and understand.

I feel the same way about the other technology on my desk and in my office, but it isn’t always easy to find kit that works well and looks the part too. I can’t help thinking there’s a lot of office technology that could use the Jony Ive touch …  Read more

Jony Ive disappears from Apple’s online executive list (Update 2x: Back, PR comment)

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(Update: He’s back. Whew!)

Early Monday morning, Jonathan Ive, Apple’s VP of design, disappeared from the list of executives on Apple’s website. While this type of thing has usually only happened when an executive left the company, there’s no reason to believe this is more than a website glitch at this point.

In the past whenever someone has been removed from the list, his accompanying personal page was also deleted. For example, the link to Scott Forstall’s bio now leads to an error page. Ive’s, on the other hand, is still up and running. Apple would also likely issue a press release if such a high-ranking member of its team was suddenly out.

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