Industrial design Stories July 2, 2015

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Jony Ive’s well-documented aide Harper Alexander, who managed Apple’s secretive design studio, appears to have left his role at Apple. In his own words, Alexander was previously in charge of Ive’s design studio, calendar, security, meetings, expenses, and personal projects, since 2009.

Referenced in multiple recent profiles as Ive’s top assistant, Harper updated his LinkedIn on July 1st, Ive’s first day in his new “Chief Design Officer” role, to indicate that he no longer runs Ive’s design studio or serves as executive assistant to Apple’s CDO. On July 1st, this is what became of Harper’s biography:

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Industrial design Stories May 4, 2015

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In line with our report from a couple of weeks ago, Apple has just debuted an official program for third-party accessory developers to design and launch bands for the Apple Watch. Like the MFi program for iPhone, iPads, and iPod accessories, this new program is called “Made for Apple Watch.” One of the device’s marquee features is its ability to connect to different straps by way of a standard connector on either side of the Watch, and now, much like with iPhones and iPads, accessory makers will be able to make good use of the product…

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Industrial design Stories September 29, 2014

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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. expand full story

Industrial design Stories September 25, 2013

Full Businessweek interview with Jony Ive and Craig Federighi

Following their joint top level conversation and subsequent Interview with Tim Cook, Businessweek posts an in-depth interview with Apple SVP of Design Jony Ive and  SVP Software Engineering Craig Federighi.

It gives a nice insight into the collaborative process at Apple between industrial design and software teams which have always been close but took on a new closeness to develop iOS 7 and the new iPhones.  Here’s a snippet to whet your appetite:

What’s Apple’s mission?

Ive: This is probably a clumsy definition, but I think we try to make tools for people that enable them to do things they couldn’t without the tool. But we want them to not have to be preoccupied with the tool.

One of the ironies is that, from a design point of view, we feel that we’ve done our job when you finally get to that point and you think, “Well, there couldn’t be a rational alternative.” It appears inevitable. It almost appears like it wasn’t designed. Then we feel like we got it right, which is sort of semi-ironic, as a design team, to not make you feel like it was designed. But that’s what we try to do.

Federighi: I would have a hard time saying it any better. I would just say that I have been profoundly influenced by Apple’s technology since I was a little boy. I think it made me and all of us smarter, enabled us to achieve things we wouldn’t have otherwise achieved, has helped us communicate with people in a more fluid way that enriches our lives, and I think all along the way we do it in ways that enhance people’s lives instead of frustrate them, instead of making them feel stupid.

I mean, honestly, how many times do you buy a piece of technology that in the end just frustrates you? It’s something you bought to enhance your life, and instead you’re fighting it. And I think we aspire to move people forward in a way that they love.

OK, I’m a technology freak, but I think probably if someone mapped my brain, you would find that there were moments when I lit up the love pattern in my neurons in association with our products. I mean, literally, there is love, and I think that is true of many of our customers. I think when we build something we love and that others love, then we have done our job.

Ive: Our products are often at those times and those places that are meaningful to us, aren’t they? They are there when we communicate. They’re there when we take photos. They’re there when we look at the photos. They’re there when we listen to music. These are sort of seminal points in our lives, aren’t they? I think we try to create objects and products that enable those and enhance those connections. But you can’t do that in a way where the object is wagging its tail in our face.

It’s a good read. Head over to BBW for the rest.

Industrial design Stories May 24, 2013

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With the grand unveiling of Apple’s next operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch approaching, sources have provided detailed descriptions of what users and developers alike could expect from the software’s fresh look.

As we reported in April, Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jony Ive has been leading a thorough overhaul for iOS 7 that focuses on the look and feel of the iOS device software rather than on several new features.

Sources have described iOS 7 as “black, white, and flat all over.” This refers to the dropping of heavy textures and the addition of several new black and white user interface elements.

Sources say that over the past few months, Apple has re-architected iOS 7’s new interface several times, so until the new software is announced at WWDC, interface elements could dramatically change from what Apple has been testing internally in recent weeks.

Nonetheless, you can find what we have been hearing about iOS 7’s new user experience below:

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Industrial design Stories August 2, 2012

We have been getting some interesting bits and pieces from the Apple vs. Samsung trial this week, and most, of which, are related to early iPhone prototypes referenced in pre trial briefs by Samsung’s lawyers who alleged Apple was inspired by Sony products when creating its initial iPhone concepts. We get some more insight on Apple’s original iPhone plans today thanks to a deposition of former Apple designer Douglas Satzger, as discovered by Network World in recent court filings. Satzger, current VP of Industrial Design at Intel, held various roles at Apple from 1996 to 2008 including Industrial Design Creative Lead and Industrial Design Manager. In the deposition, Satzger claimed Apple had “strong interest in doing two pieces of shaped glass,” while referencing the 0355 model prototype pictured above.

He continued to explain how Apple ultimately chose not to utilize curved glass mainly due to cost: expand full story

Industrial design Stories July 31, 2012

“Our role is to imagine products that don’t exist and guide them to life,” said Apple industrial designer Chris Stringer (no relation to Sony’s ex-CEO Howard Stringer), who has been a part of every design since 1995, when he testified today in court as part of the Apple vs. Samsung trial.

Who helps imagine those products that come to life? Stringer told the court that Apple has a small team of only 15 or 16 people who design the original idea for the company’s key products, from the iPhone to the MacBook Pro, AllThingsD first reported. Apple’s lead designer, Sir Jonny Ive, is of the group.

Interestingly, he added the design process begins around a kitchen table, where the intimate team hashes out ideas to someday come to light. If the team believes an idea is good enough, the idea will be made into a physical model. In typical Apple design fashion, the group pays so much attention to detail that there can be up to 50 drawings for one button. What a crazy look into the start of the products we use everyday.

Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller is set to take stand next in the case, where both parties are seeking damages over a slew of patents. What a treasure trove of information this case is turning out to be.

 [AllThingsD]

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Jony Ive: Apple almost shelved the iPhone because nearly unsolvable problems like ear-dialing

Apple SVP of Industrial DesignJony Ive is making the rounds in London for the Olympics this week.  Yesterday he spoke on Apple’s design process and the ‘Bankruptcy Days’ at the British Embassy’s Creative Summit. Today more of what he’s has said was revealed by the Independent and the following quotes stand out:

  • “There were multiple times where we nearly shelved the phone because we thought there were fundamental problems that we can’t solve,” said Sir Jony, speaking at a British Business Embassy event to coincide with the Olympics. One problem involved an early prototype “where I put the phone to my ear and my ear dials the number”… accidentally.
  • The Ive-designed iPhone has gone on to enjoy extraordinary success since its launch in 2007, selling almost 250 million and becoming a design classic. But Sir Jony, who has worked at Apple since 1992, said it was not uncommon to feel during the planning stage of a device that “we were pursuing something that we think ‘that’s really incredibly compelling’, but we’re really struggling to solve the problem that it represents”.
  • “We have been, on a number of occasions, preparing for mass production and in a room and realised we are talking a little too loud about the virtues of something. That to me is always the danger, if I’m trying to talk a little too loud about something and realising I’m trying to convince myself that something’s good.
  • “You have that horrible, horrible feeling deep down in your tummy and you know that it’s OK but it’s not great. And I think some of the bravest things we’ve ever done are really at that point when you say, ‘that’s good and it’s competent, but it not’s great’.”

 

Industrial design Stories July 30, 2012

Apple SVP of Design Jony Ive speaks on Apple’s design process and the ‘Bankruptcy Days’

Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive spoke at the British Embassy’s Creative Summit this morning about Apple’s design focus, and Wired was on hand to get the report.

The Apple executive primarily described how revenue does not drive the folks in Cupertino but rather “great products” do. He noted the company is “pleased with revenues,” and its goal is again not “to make money.”

“It sounds a little flippant, but it’s the truth. Our goal and what makes us excited is to make great products,” said Ive. “If we are successful people will like them and if we are operationally competent, we will make money.”

Ive made similar comments on the day of his Knighting [audio] and to Walter Isaacson for the “Steve Jobs” Bio. Moreover, Tim Cook has reiterated Apple’s great products goal many times since he took the reigns as CEO.

Ive also recounted at the summit Apple’s bankruptcy days. He said Steve Jobs recognized Apple products needed to be better, so that is where the chief’s attention remained instead of trying to earn money.

He explained how, in the 90s, Apple was very close to bankruptcy and that “you learn a lot about vital corporations through non-vital corporations”. When Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997, his focus was not on making money — “His observation was that the products weren’t good enough. His resolve was to make better products.” This was a different approach from other attempts to turn the company around, which had focused first and foremost on cost savings and revenue generation.

According to Wired, Ive then detailed how thrilled he feels to “be a part of the creative process”:

Industrial design Stories April 26, 2012

Sir Jony Ive voted British Visionary Innovator for 2012

Apple’s design chief Sir Jonathan Ive has officially been voted British Visionary Innovator for 2012 in a contest held by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office for World IP Day. Ive took in 46.6 percent of votes, beating out Richard Branson, Tim Berners-Lee, JK Rowling, and dozens of other nominations:

Sir Jonathan Ive – Senior Vice President of Industrial Design at Apple Inc.

After a week of voting, you have chosen Sir Jonathan Ive as your favourite British Visionary Innovator for 2012. He received 46.6% of your votes, making him the clear favourite amongst a list of other hugely talented, creative and innovative people.

Background

Sir Jonathan Ive was born in Chingford, London in 1967. A graduate of Newcastle Polytechnic, Ive showed a flair for Industrial Design which led him to work for Apple briefly in 1992, and then as a permanent fixture with Apple under the leadership of Steve Jobs in 1997.

Over the past 15 years, Ive has designed some of the most popular electronic products of all time, which have now reached iconic status. These include iMac, Macbook, iPhone, iPad, and of course, the iPod.

Some of the accolades that he has had bestowed upon him include ‘Most Influential Person on British Culture’ (BBC), ‘Inventor of the decade’ (Guardian), and he was knighted in 2012.

Finally, today, you have voted him as your favourite British Visionary Innovator

Industrial design Stories March 12, 2012

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.”

The entire interview is a great read.

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