In a Financial Timesstory about Apple’s Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive “emerging from [Steve] Jobs’ shadow,”we get a few interesting stories from ex-Apple employees regarding the design guru’s work ethic. While one anonymous ex-Apple employee told the publication Ive’s “main talent was his ability to manage his relationship with Jobs,” Path chief and former Apple employee Dave Morin remembers Ive as a perfectionist.
Morin described a story about Ive spending three months adjusting the MacBook design to ensure it could be easily operated with one finger:
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.”
Fortune Senior Editor-at-large Adam Lashinsky’s upcoming book about Apple’s inner workings titled “Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired and Secretive Company Really Works“ is bound to become controversial. Unlike Steve Jobs’ authorized biographer Walter Isaacson, Lashinsky did not have direct access to Apple’s leadership team, employees nor did he have Jobs’ cooperation. Nevertheless, the author has deep connections so his book draws from this expertise, focusing on Apple’s former CEO Steve Jobs, current CEO Tim Cook, design chief Jonathan Ive and head of iOS software Scott Forstall (pictured on the right). The young executive (43) has managed to accumulate power, and he now wields tremendous influence at Apple due to his iOS division contributing to as much as 70 percent of Apple’s total revenues. As such, Forstall is seen as Apple’s next CEO once Tim Cook steps down, which probably will not happen until 2021 if he is to vest his 1 million stock shares awarded last August. Here is how one source described Forstall in Lashinsky’s upcoming book, according toFortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt:
He’s a sharp, down-to-earth, and talented engineer, and a more-than-decent presenter. He’s the total package.
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…
A precision aluminum unibody enclosure gives Mac notebooks structural integrity, providing all of the mounting features in a single part.
Makers of Ultrabooks, ultra-thin notebooks that conform to Intel’s recommended specs, are facing difficulties replicating Apple’s unibody process, citing limited capacity and price restrictions on the unibody process. They’ve come to realize that unibody construction requires expensive CNC equipment to machine a sturdy notebook case from a single block of aluminum, including internal parts and mounting features. Apple’s contract manufacturer Foxconn and supplier Catcher Technology own thousands of CNC machines and you can imagine where their priorities lie.
According toDigiTimes, the makers of would-be MacBook Air killers are turning to the cheaper high-density fiberglass chassis for the low-end, said to cost up to $30. For the high-end, Apple’s rivals are combining the exterior aluminum enclosure with plastic parts inside. Such a semi-unibody case is said to cost between $40 and $80:
The new aluminum chassis with plastic internal parts design will allow Ultrabooks to feature a metal appearance, but all the internal parts will be made from plastic stuck to metal parts using glue. Read more
Perhaps hoping to put that kind of talk to rest, Apple just dropped fat bonus stock on their heavy hitters according to SEC filings. With Apple’s stock riding at 400-ish per share, the below bonus shares are certainly a great incentive to stay – worth $60 million/each at today’s value.
Bruce Sewell – 150,000 shares, 50 percent vest on June 21, 2013, 100 percent on March 21, 2016 Jeffrey Williams – 150,000 shares, 50 percent on June 21, 2013, 100 percent on March 21, 2016 Philip Schiller – 150,000 shares, 50 percent on June 21, 2013, 100 percent on March 21, 2016 Peter Oppenheimer –150,000 shares, 50 percent on June 21, 2013, 100 percent on March 21, 2016 Robert Mansfield – 150,000 shares, 50 percent on June 21, 2013, 100 percent on March 21, 2016 Scott Forstall – 150,000 shares, 50 percent on June 21, 2013, 100 percent on March 21, 2016 Eddy Cue – 100,000 shares, 25 percent vest September 21, 2014, 100 percent September 21, 2016.
Strangely, there is no mention of Jonathan Ive who could be considered “on a different level” since Steve Jobs made him untouchable (though there have been rumors that he may want to retire). Perhaps that’s why he’s the only guy without a big fat smile, above. (Ha, actually Apple isn’t required to file bonus paperwork with the SEC for Ive -
…Jonathan Ive, the company’s senior vice president for industrial design, whose position at the company does not trigger S.E.C. rules requiring public disclosure of stock awards.
- Because his role isn’t important to Apple’s well being?!)