Another week, another Jony Ive interview …
The Financial Times today carries a somewhat rambling description of a lunch with Apple’s design chief. Almost as much time is devoted to describing the food as it is to the interview itself, but there are a few interesting quotes along the way …
Journalist Nicholas Foulkes suggests that Apple is perhaps being a little cheeky in describing itself as the number one watch brand when the Apple Watch isn’t really a watch in the traditional sense. Ive agrees, but says there isn’t really a better shorthand.
No, I think that this is a very powerful computer, with a range of very sophisticated sensors, that is strapped to my wrist. That’s neither very descriptive nor very helpful.
You and I share the same perspective and we had this same challenge with the product that we called the iPhone. Clearly the capability of the iPhone extends way beyond the function of what we would traditionally call a phone.
Asked why Ive’s team was so late moving into the new Apple Park campus, the design head said that it was always planned that way – and that leaving the old studio was a real wrench.
It wasn’t late, it was always scheduled to be then. When you’re moving 9,000 people, you don’t do it in one day. We’re one of the last groups. It’s a loaded and significant event because it meant leaving a studio that has decades of history, where we designed and built first prototypes. This is the studio I went back to on the day that Steve died. And it’s the place where we figured out the iPhone and the iPod.
But he said he was excited to have the entire design team working in one studio for the first time.
We’ve never been in the same studio. If all we were doing was changing where we sat, and apart from that there was an expectation that we would retain the status quo, I would be enormously concerned, but it couldn’t be more different. Moving to Apple Park represents the coming together, at last, of these different areas of creative expertise that are incredibly diverse. I’m fairly confident that this has never happened before, to have industrial designers next to font designers, next to prototypers, next to haptic experts. The best haptic experts in the world are sat next to a bunch of guys who have PhDs in material science.
There was another recent Jony Ive interview at Wired25, and Ive paraphrased much of what he said there about smartphone addiction.
If you’re creating something new, it is inevitable there will be consequences that were not foreseen — some that will be great, and then there are those that aren’t as positive. There is a responsibility to try and predict as many of the consequences as possible and I think you have a moral responsibility to try to understand, try to mitigate those that you didn’t predict.
If you genuinely have a concern for humanity, you will be preoccupied with trying to understand the implications, the consequences of creating something that hasn’t existed before. I think it’s part of the culture at Apple to believe that there is a responsibility that doesn’t end when you ship a product.
If you’re only going to read one Jony Ive interview, it probably shouldn’t be this one, but it does provide a little background color.