Jony Ive submits to rare interview about Apple’s once and future mission

“The man who designed the iPod ponders the question with furrowed brow,” Marco della Cava reports for USA Today. “‘That’s a good one,’ says Jony Ive, when asked what he would turn his talents to if Apple no longer required them. There’s a long silence, then a whispered, thoughtful and prolonged answer that boils down to one thing. He’s not going anywhere.”

“If Apple has a design wizard, it is Ive. He joined the company in 1992 and has been the fertile and detail-obsessed mind behind culture-shaping products such as the lollipop-colored iMacs (1998), the iPod (2001), iPhone (2007) and iPad (2010). His work has earned him countless design awards, flattery in the form of product imitation and even a new name — Sir Jonathan — courtesy of Queen Elizabeth II,” della Cava reports. “Most recently, Ive and his hardware design group collaborated closely with teams led by Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, to dream up the newly launched iOS 7 operating system and 5c and 5s iPhones. Industry observers and consumers alike see these new products as critical to proving that the company Steve Jobs created can still think differently.”

Jonathan Ive, Apple Senior Vice President, Design
Jonathan Ive, Apple Senior Vice President, Design
della Cava reports, “While the affable and well-coiffed Federighi, 44, often bounds onstage like a game-show host at Apple developer and media presentations, the privacy-loving Ive appears only in polished videos. But as Apple seeks to fend off competition from the likes of Samsung and other Android armies, the reserved knight of this digital Oz is peeking out from behind his curtain. In a rare interview, Ive, joined by Federighi, settles into a spartan meeting room with a simple black-and-white photo of a MacBook on one wall and the new lineup of iPhones on a counter. Over the course of an hour, the pair discusses their teamwork, personal philosophies and commitment to Apple’s unwavering mission.”

“Apple is notorious for secrecy and stage-managing its every move, but there is undeniably genuine chemistry between the two 40-something company veterans,” della Cava reports. “Although in many ways the two men are peers, Ive possesses a magnetism and gravitas that makes him stand out.”

Some snippets:

• “This is terribly important and at the heart of what we do. We care about how to design the inside of something you’ll never see, because we think it’s the right thing to do.” – Jony Ive

• “I would love, love, love to show you what we are working on now, but I’d lose my job.” – Jony Ive

• “I’ve been here for years, and the way we’re working is the same. Nothing’s changed in terms of that. We’re trying to solve problems in terms of future products that are incredibly complex, whose resolutions have no precedent.” – Jony Ive, on the post-Steve Jobs Apple

Much more in the full interview here.

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

48 Comments

    1. For a moment I thought I would find a video of the interview…. Oh surprise, I have to read it. Sorry, I can’t.

      One thing I noticed is this from Jony Ive “Apple’s focus is always quality”.

      I don’t know what is it that other companies don’t do/think the same: it’s about quality, always!

  1. If it came to the invite to the hypothetical dinner party, Jony Ive would be at the top of my list; partly because of my long-time Mac usage, but particularly because of my deep interest in design, and industrial design in particular.

  2. I cannot understand why knighthood can be given to a designer,.. Oh well we have lots of people without proper credentials in our government,.. Bur sir joney,.. Yuuuck. Seems people think he’s designed perfection into everything quite frankly, he’s nothing special, Apple does a good job at innovation but if things arnt able to be perfected easily they dump great apple designs etc.. Cover flow,..why is that gone? As far as I’m concerned anyone thinking those lollipop colored portables and iMacs were great should have their head examined.. It’s was ugly poor build quality and it was technical crap. I could go on. Ivey isn’t Jobs, quit looking for. a knight he’s only given a cheap prefix from someone trying to be relevant. Any good product manager engineer could do the job, just put them on the same pedestal and same environment and you would have same results without the horrible paced accent and ego.

      1. BLN: your comments apply to the USA, too. Ever heard of Czars? How about the gap growing bigger between us and them under Obama (and ANY president for that matter). Long live Lord Obama.

      2. Gotta laugh its mostly you septics who go all gooey when there’s a royal baby or princess comes a calling, apart from a few hardcore we just take the piss out of them, after all they bring in the tourists and are cheaper than an elected version of the same thing though we had the sense to strip the power from ours a long time ago. Most of those ‘medieval’ (get your centuries right please) honours go to lollipop ladies and their like actually not that I am a supporter of the honour system generally to be honest. But hey always good to learn your current affairs from Downton Abbey which you guys do so love I hear. Oh the irony. Now that should stir up the usual hornets nest amongst the racists.

      3. “…the British are the only people who give themselves outdated medieval titles….”

        No they’re not. There are similar traditional titles in many other countries, including the Netherlands, Germany and Austria.

    1. Reech

      is that ‘reech’ as in reach for the unearned? clearly you have been living over-long in the pampered, delusional world of entitlement.

      yours is the kind of post that encourages me to suggest that this should be an ‘adults only’ site.

    2. @ Reech

      To treat your remark – “Any good product manager engineer could do the job” – with much more seriousness than it deserves…
      How do you account for the fact that NO OTHER phone or computer company comes anywhere close to Apple. Fer Jeebas’ sake… Apple is THE company that everybody else copies. (except in the production of phablets too large to put in most pockets)

      1. Right place right time incredible man at the top,.. Steve Jobs..he just applied himself..

        the childish insults are always entertaining,, koolaid drinkers,.. I didnt attack you I made a comment on someone you idolize!

    3. First of all who are you to even ask who I am? Since I have an opinion you don’t care for you think I am less able to voice my opinion? The idolizing and sainthood of this Joney is silly and irrational as idolizing anyone is,… well except for Steve Jobs hahha.. I am not big on titles just with work and output. Jony would be nothing special without Steve Jobs. yup thats my opinion, I have had many engineers and design support people under me and I know what its like to lead a design team with a vision.

      OK you think I am just a poser,.. fine heres a few of my tick points,.. I hold a simple BSEE from the U of MN yup just a BSEE I am not impressed with titles or universities. I had as much electronics when I was in High school I build my own TV set from scratch,.. no kit to plug and play, I did it all myself, computed with a hand held TI calc and drafted the circuits by had at a drafting table built my boards by hand and hand soldered each of the components myself, I had to calculate all the values of every and all the components I did this when I was 16,… This was in high school where I was recognized as sorta gifted and given an open two hour block for independent study of electronics and presented a paper at the end of each quarter that exceeded what the U of M required of me…

      I have had many designs rolled out at the International Consumer Electronics Show, I have been attending for decades,.. many decades,.. I know the industry well and I am recognized in my field. I have be awarded many C.E.S. design and engineering awards…

      My inventions are used at every Disney world wide, Universal Parks as well as the military and warfare industries. If you have seen the “O” show in Vegas you have seen my invention at work,.. the synchronizing of the performers could not be done without my award winning underwater full range speakers – only ones in the world. Btw. The olympic training center in Colorado Springs uses my speakers to train the athletes.

      I have had products I designed built in the USA, as well as in Malaysia and China. This takes coordination skill and hard work, I singlehandedly accomplished a lot, I had driven a team under me also. So I sorta get Steve Jobs had as his product challenges. I am not special, I just applied myself. Jony was at the right place at the right time and has applied himself, ill give him that.
      I cannot place him as a god as a lot of koolaid readers on here d, to me thats plain silliness,…and plays into his foolish ego,.. and him thinking he can do no wrong, time and time agin I think we all have experienced less than stellar from Apple.. him getting a bigger head will not prevent those things form occurring,. Steve made sure of that.. Steve used deflating egos part of how he got things done,.

      I will never take back what I think of the iMacs and portable lollipop crap it was and is frightfully bad design execution and poorly made,.. absolute shyte I had an office full of them and they were always breaking,.. They looked dated the day they came out, just as this IOS7 does, it is bad,.. no, is it good hell no!.. Its design is not consistent. Its not desiin=gned for the best functionality, to be the most usable,. its just design for design sake,. he threw out ergonomics in favor of egonomics…
      Im not a writer Im a designer, so please you frustrated English majors,.. take a break and get a real job!

      1. Hi Scree…..ops sorry! Reech,
        I am impressed that you have driven whole team under you! My uncle worked in a cemetery before he ended up under himself, I will never forget the day he drove a whole team under and with only one hand!!! That was the day I found out that you could drive a bulldozer with only one hand as long as you had two legs to steer it!!!
        I have tried god only knows how hard to create a TV from scratch and I probably would have succeeded if my dermatologist had not cut my finger nails to the quick and then plastered my arms together, needless to say the thought on turning my pile of skin into pork scratching’s did cross my mind, pity the person who would have consumed them.
        As for accomplishing things single handedly, only the drummer from ‘Queen’ has that bragging right.
        I haven’t seen the ‘O’ show in Las Vegas, but can I presume it is your opinion show? Hence everyone is driven into synchronization by your self opinion hailed by underwater speakers?
        Excuse me while I glug a flagon of koolaid……..
        Reech, you truly are the MAGNIFICENT! You have put BLN to shame by your shy yet understated aggrandizement!

    4. First of all who are you to even ask who I am? Since I have an opinion you don’t care for you think I am less able to voice my opinion? The idolizing and sainthood of this Joney is silly and irrational as idolizing anyone is,… well except for Steve Jobs hahha.. I am not big on titles just with work and output. Jony would be nothing special without Steve Jobs. yup thats my opinion, I have had many engineers and design support people under me and I know what its like to lead a design team with a vision.

      OK you think I am just a poser,.. fine heres a few of my tick points,.. I hold a simple BSEE from the U of MN yup just a BSEE I am not impressed with titles or universities. I had as much electronics when I was in High school I build my own TV set from scratch,.. no kit to plug and play, I did it all myself, computed with a hand held TI calc and drafted the circuits by had at a drafting table built my boards by hand and hand soldered each of the components myself, I had to calculate all the values of every and all the components I did this when I was 16,… This was in high school where I was recognized as sorta gifted and given an open two hour block for independent study of electronics and presented a paper at the end of each quarter that exceeded what the U of M required of me…

      I have had many designs rolled out at the International Consumer Electronics Show, I have been attending for decades,.. many decades,.. I know the industry well and I am recognized in my field. I have be awarded many C.E.S. design and engineering awards…

      My inventions are used at every Disney world wide, Universal Parks as well as the military and warfare industries. If you have seen the “O” show in Vegas you have seen my invention at work,.. the synchronizing of the performers could not be done without my award winning underwater full range speakers – only ones in the world. Btw. The olympic training center in Colorado Springs uses my speakers to train the athletes.

      I have had products I designed built in the USA, as well as in Malaysia and China. This takes coordination skill and hard work, I singlehandedly accomplished a lot, I had driven a team under me also. So I sorta get Steve Jobs had as his product challenges. I am not special, I just applied myself. Jony was at the right place at the right time and has applied himself, ill give him that.
      I cannot place him as a god as a lot of koolaid readers on here d, to me thats plain silliness,…and plays into his foolish ego,.. and him thinking he can do no wrong, time and time agin I think we all have experienced less than stellar from Apple.. him getting a bigger head will not prevent those things form occurring,. Steve made sure of that.. Steve used deflating egos part of how he got things done,.

      I will never take back what I think of the iMacs and portable lollipop crap it was and is frightfully bad design execution and poorly made,.. absolute shyte I had an office full of them and they were always breaking,.. They looked dated the day they came out, just as this IOS7 does, it is bad,.. no, is it good hell no!.. Its design is not consistent. Its not designed for the best functionality, to be the most usable,. its just design for design sake,. he threw out ergonomics in favor of egonomics…
      Im not a writer Im a designer, so please you frustrated English majors,.. take a break and get a real job!

      1. Boy, you guys really pushed his buttons! And look what you get in response— “I, me, I, my, I’m gifted, blah, blah, blah!”

        In other words, a SCREECH from a JEALOUS WRETCH.
        He wishes he could be Jon Ives.

      2. Ive and his team won the D&AD 50 year award.
        “best brand and the best design studio of the last 50 years”
        Winning the annual D&AD award is big enough but Ive took the big kahuna itself , the 50 year celebration award.
        You going to tell me THESE people at D&AD don’t know anything about design?

        Ive’s work is in the Museum of Modern Art.

        You “I build my own TV set from scratch”

        Ive’s work helps Apple make 150 billion a year in revenue 40 billion in profit.

        You “I have had many designs rolled out at the International Consumer Electronics Show,”

        thousands of people have designs rolled out in CES including plastic case makers, power plugs etc.
        Apple doesn’t even BOTHER to attend CES….

        Any of your designs changed the world like the iPod, iPad, iPhone?

        do you realize how pitiful you sound, like a 40 year old local swim jock dissing Michael Phelps, dude when you come back with 18 Olympic Gold Medals or more correctly make a design that changes the world, get into MOMA and earn over 100 billion a year then come back and talk.

        otherwise we’re just laughing at yer.

  3. It at least gives you a hint that Jony and his team have not stopped creating and there are new things that all the ANAL-ists keep screaming about Apple not doing still to come.
    The description of what he has behind his top secret door makes him sound giddy with excitement. It just means Apple is on a steady course even without Steve Jobs, doing what they do best.

  4. “We’re trying to solve problems in terms of future products that are incredibly complex, whose resolutions have no precedent.”

    Sounds like business as usual at Apple. Who says they’re no longer aiming to change the world?

  5. Looks like Steve Jobs not only improved gadgets but also people, look at the article and even that it says Jonny Ive was so great, it didn’t mention any great design until Steve Jobs returned to apple and Jonny presented the iMac.
    Dont get me wrong, I’m sure Jonny is great, but he need Steve Jobs to really shine.

        1. Jony now has vast responsibilities so he likewise has a vast team underneath him.

          It is hard to estimate how big the design teams are. All I can remember is the WWDC when the iOS 3rd party apps were announced, Apple said they had over 1000 software engineers there to answer questions from app developers.

          The numbers of both hardware and software development are easily many thousands of people at the least.

    1. Jony Ive was not head of design until about 05’06. Before SJ came back to Apple there was no one there to appreciate Ive’s designs. Once SJ came back he instantly knew that Jony was special. Why else would SJ give Ive “More Operational Power” than anyone else at Apple besides him?

    2. I think Ive needed Jobs to tell him “no” on occasion.

      I’m still getting used to iOS7. It may take days. But so far, it seems to be a mixture of “Wow, that’s really an improvement!” (e.g. the new compass calibration technique) and “Wow, that really wasn’t necessary” (e.g. the various controls that aren’t buttons any more, just words you’re expected to know to touch).

      It looks like the end achievement of a team with a ton of radical ideas, who lacked a strong personality to reign them in.

      ——RM

      1. I think that is perceptive, I feel the same. Creative types do need that at times but the SJs of the world who can take that role are few and far between. I will only add that iOS7 was something of a rush for Jony having been given the responsibility so I guess some inconsistencies are inevitable at this stage. What happens next to mature it is the real answer I believe.

  6. the top people at apple all seemed to have had a soul. i like people who have souls. i can’t ever remember any publicly interactive talking head people at ms or dell that unmistakably had one. i’m not saying they don’t ..i’m just saying that so many of the people at apple seem to take their work personally ..as though they themselves are inextricably in the work whereas at ms there’s little to no soul to even put into the work or into the vision …if there even were a vision which only god and manson know for sure. maybe, what i’m saying is, people at apple become the work and people at ms go home at the end of the day. sorry, blood sugar is low.

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