Apple’s Chief Design Officer, Jony Ive sat down with design magazine Wallpaper* for a wide-ranging interview following the release of the iPhone X. In the piece, Ive talks about the company’s new Apple Park headquarters, what he likes most about iPhone X, and much more.
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Arguably, the most interesting comments from Ive in this piece relate to the iPhone X. Apple debuted its iPhone X back in September and officially released it to consumers just last week. The iPhone X features an all-new design that puts the 5.8-inch OLED display at the forefront.
Ive remarks in the interview that what he views as the best iPhone X feature is how it can adapt over time. He explains that the entire functionality of the device is determined by software – in large part thanks to the new screen-centric design. He even goes as far as to say that the iPhone X will look completely different in a year’s time as software progresses:
“I’ve always been fascinated by these products that are more general purpose. What I think is remarkable about the iPhone X is that its functionality is so determined by software. And because of the fluid nature of software, this product is going to change and evolve.
In 12 months’ time, this object will be able to do things that it can’t now. I think that is extraordinary. I think we will look back on it and see it as a very significant point in terms of the products we have been developing.”
When asked if he misses the physical buttons and clicks of a device like the first iPod, Ive said what’s more important is how a device evolves and “changes its functionality profoundly” after it’s created:
“So while I’m completely seduced by the coherence and simplicity and how easy it is to comprehend something like the first iPod, I am quite honestly more fascinated and intrigued by an object that changes its function profoundly and evolves. That is rare. That didn’t happen 50 years ago.”
On a broader scale, Apple’s design chief explains that the goal of the design team is to “get design out fo the way. We try to define a solution that seems so inevitable that it does recede.”
Ive also talked about the new Apple Park campus, remarking that what he’s most excited about is how well it promotes collaboration across different teams and departments:
“That’s one of the things that I am absurdly excited about. At the moment, there are a number of physically really disconnected design studios, and now we can share the same studio. We can have industrial designers sat next to a font designer, sat next to a sound designer, who is sat next to a motion graphics expert, who is sat next to colour designer, who is sat next to somebody who is developing objects in soft materials.
And adjacent to every set of closed offices there is a very large open area of collaboration. It’s not just a corridor; these are large spaces that are repeated all the way around the building.”
Ive doesn’t expect the open and communicative new building to affect Apple’s secrecy, though:
“The way that we work is quietly,’ Ive says. ‘We are conspicuously different in that and it is an important part of who we are.”
As for what the future holds, Ive wouldn’t talk about specific plans. He notes, however, that Apple’s design group is full of “designers who are absurdly curious and constantly looking for alternatives.” Some design ideas currently exist beyond the possibilities of the technology, even:
“We are a fairly tenacious group of designers who are absurdly curious and constantly looking for alternatives. Some of them we can understand right here, right now. Some of them are beyond the technology of the moment.
They exist as ideas, they exist to galvanise the development of technology. And some will bear fruit and others won’t.”
The full interview is definitely worth a read and can be found here. Also check out the Jony Ive-designed cover of Wallpaper’s December issue: