Apple’s Sir Jonathan Ive: The iMan cometh

“Sir Jonathan Ive, Jony to his friends, is arguably one of the world’s most influential Londoners,” Mark Prigg reports for The Evening Standard. “The 45-year-old was born in Chingford — and went to the same school as David Beckham. He met his wife, Heather Pegg, while in secondary school. They married in 1987, have twin sons and now live in San Francisco.”

“As Apple’s senior vice-president of industrial design, he is the driving force behind the firm’s products, from the Mac computer to the iPod, iPhone and, most recently, the iPa,” Prigg reports. “He spoke exclusively to the Evening Standard from the firm’s headquarters.”

Q: What are your goals when setting out to build 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.

Q: Why has Apple’s competition struggled to do that?
A: That’s quite unusual, most of our competitors are interesting 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. Committees just don’t work, and it’s not about price, schedule or a bizarre marketing goal to appear different – they are corporate goals with scant regard for people who use the product.

Q: Users have become obsessively attached to Apple products. Why?
A: When I used a Mac I had a keen awareness of the values of those who made it. I think people’s emotional connection to our product is that they sense our care, and the amount of work that has gone into creating it.

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. We know how people form an emotional bond with products that offer a great user experience. Does anybody have a sensible explanation for why other people develop an extreme hatred for such devices ?

    It would be easy to dismiss them as irrational fools or envious people, but the sheer numbers of them suggests that there must be another explanation.

    1. Hate is a toxic, addictive emotion that is nurtured in certain social settings. Is the behavior any different with fans of sports teams or political tribes? The only payoff for hate speech is increased admiration from one’s fellows. It’s a personal identity quest that, in extreme, can ramp up to mob violence.

      Or, it could be that the emotion is RATIONAL! — Apple really is a menace and must be viciously opposed—and so are the Yankees, the Democrats, the French, and Hello Kitty. Etc.

    2. Unfortunately, the average person is rather unintelligent. There is also the human nature of bashing successful people/companies etc.

      If Apple had the exact same products but was just a niche company, almost nobody would hate it.

  2. From the article:

    Q: How do you know you’ve succeeded?

    A :It’s a very strange thing for a designer to say, but one of the things that really irritates me in products is when I’m aware of designers wagging their tails in my face.

    Our goal is simple objects, objects that you can’t imagine any other way. Simplicity is not the absence of clutter. Get it right, and you become closer and more focused on the object. For instance, the iPhoto app we created for the new iPad, it completely consumes you and you forget you are using an iPad.

    SO DOES THAT MEAN JIve is actually partly responsible for designing iPhoto? I had no idea. I really just thought he was an industrial design guy.

  3. Jony appears to be the best to carry Steve’s legacy forward. He gets it and understands many of the philosophies that made Apple what it is. It’s the magic that makes Apple and everything associated with it work. Jony has the magic.

  4. Astronaut Gus Grissom told a bunch of rocket builders, “Do good work.” His ass was on the line so to speak.
    I think Jobs, Ives, others at Apple bought into this philosophy.

  5. “When I used a Mac I had a keen awareness of the values of those who made it.”

    Is he referring to the chinese workers who are committing suicide over poor working conditions?

    1. No, he can’t be. The period he would be referring to, some 20 years ago or so, the Macs would have been made by US workers. I’m not sure what the suicide rate over poor working conditions was at that time.

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