Jony Ive’s design book is much more than an ego trip

“Increasingly, some Apple fans think Jony Ive has lost it. He’s killing ports and headphone jacks left and right. The latest MacBooks value form over function. He’s designing gold watches for the 1 percent,” Leander Kahney writes for Cult of Mac. “And now his glossy new photo book, Designed by Apple in California, looks like a $300, linen-bound ego trip.”

“The giant, 300-page book is a retrospective of the products developed by Ive’s celebrated industrial design team. Filled with 450 photos of Apple products, the book was eight years in the making and required nothing short of the rethinking of paper itself,” Kahney writes. “It’s printed on custom-milled sheets with gilded silver edges, using special low-ghost ink. It comes in two sizes and costs an arm and a leg ($199 for the smaller version costs; $299 for the bigger one).”

“But here is why the book is a worthy effort,” Kahney writes. “Woking with Jobs, Ive’s team developed an amazing string of hit products: iMac, iPod, PowerMac Cube, titanium PowerBooks, iPhone, iPad and so on. During this time, the design team got little or no recognition… Meanwhile, Jobs hogged the spotlight, getting all the praise and credit. The public perception is that Jobs dreamed up Apple’s products from whole cloth. In reality, many of them sprang directly from the creative minds in Apple’s design studio… Designed by Apple in California sets the record straight, at least a little bit.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We wish Jony spent less time on cataloging his and his team’s past work and more (any?) time on such design debacles as the Apple TV’s godawful Siri Remote.

For the record, we’ve buying the book.

SEE ALSO:
‘Designed by Apple in California’ photo book chronicles 20 years of Apple design, dedicated to the memory of Steve Jobs – November 15, 2016

51 Comments

    1. Sadly, there’s no money in supporting the power users. And I don’t think anyone at Apple cares that “we supported them back in the dark days…”

      Those days are over, and like the jobs that have gone to China, they’re never coming back. Truly sad…

        1. Terrible analogy. You don’t pay extra for Cinderella Castle, it’s part of the singular park experience. It’s like saying there’s no money in the screws that hold a computer together, so they should be neglected. Not at all.

          A better analogy would be the Disney side projects that failed because they went after niche audiences– there was some sort of indoor sports arenas, trying to sell adult-style videogames based on child-friendly franchises, and even their retail stores lost millions and were sold off years ago.

          I’m not saying Apple shouldn’t — or couldn’t — market a great new version of the Mac Pro, I’m just saying it’s not worth their time and trouble…

          1. Every company goes up and down a tide.
            And apple almost died!
            It is the loyal vocal pro customer base that prevented Apple from becoming SUN microsystems. (Remember how Adobe refused to make photoshop once OS X came out)
            Today iPhone may be great.
            But general iPhone users are not passionate about the iOS operating system. Its simple and it works but its not intuitive like OS 9, X were. Meaning there were power customisable features give with brilliant UI. (example disk partition etc).

            Sooner or later iPhone will lose steam .
            Unfortunately by then Apple will not have that loyal customer base who are passionate about the OS. Without these customers Apple cannot survive a difficult time.

      1. Adobe, Microsoft, Alienware? Power users make up a larger demographic than you’d think. Apple won’t get more users if they keep up this anti-consumer behavior. Most folks want to be able to plug something in without always needing an adapter. How can you say “It just works” when you need adapters to plug in adapter first?

      2. “Sadly, there’s no money in supporting the power users.”

        Really? As a power user from the beginning of Apple it is my experience including several professions like science, industrial design, cad 3D, graphic design, photography and video/movie production that NEED the HORSEPOWER! You are probably fine with your MacBook Air or your iPad.

        Apple has always been there for the Pros spanning decades. In 2003, I speced a Pro cheese grater for my employer and including software, maxed out over $14,000. PROS SPEND MORE. Got it?

        Now, if you’re going to admit Tim has been DISTRACTED since Steve’s passing by pride parades, special edition watch bands, fashion jewelry runway shows in Paris with gold Apple watches, well, that’s certainly true.

        The real reason is Tim is mainly concerned about consumers gadgets that sell zillions, made cheap, with high profit margins and billions in profits. He would simply not know what to do with a fully loaded Mac Pro if you bolted it to his Lear jet desk. Sorry, an iPad Pro can never replace a true Pro computer.

        Decades of support through thick and thin from loyal Pro users are NOW, what Apple?

        Yes, Apple is thinking different these days after Steve. They’re just not thinking of Pro needs like they used to … 😥

    2. This is exactly why I’m building my own PC that can run Windows 10 Pro and I’m going to Hackintosh it with zero hacked drivers to run macOS 10.12 Sierra. I’ve had it with Apple not building the pro Mac I need. :/

    3. well, maybe we should be taking this as an indication that mr. Ive is getting ready to move along. his somewhat self indulgent swan song in a manner of speaking.

      have a hunch he is getting bored. back in the day there was the excitement of working with steve jobs on innovative and exciting projects, breaking new ground in the company of a true visionary.

      now i think he is watching things drift. he always benefitted from jobs sensibilities that helped rein in any excesses that are inherent in the oeuvre of any artist. now that creative and restraining frisson is gone.

      as much as it pains me to even suggest it, it is increasingly looking like he is now part of a company that is heading towards become a microsoft – like entity. bereft of vision and intent on wringing every red cent out of its customers.

      there is an undeniable growing apprehension and dissatisfaction among us customers with the direction things are going with this company, and my guess he is no stranger to those same emotions.

      only time will tell, but to me there is a whiff of looking back being a sign of moving on.

      1. Agreed. When a better product was developed, Jobs dropped the older one; Cook sees if he can’t wring a little more money out of it. Having too many versions of a product confuses customers and alienates them because whichever one they pick, they doubt they may not have have gotten the best deal. When you sell only one version, the customer ALWAYS gets the best one.

        Apple is returning to the previous failure: a version of each product at every price point. It needs to return to the successful formula: one version of each product at one price point. Customers will find or save up money to buy the best.

    4. You mean 95% of the 10% of casual users that can afford the premium price of Apples products. I’m and Apple diehard from my Apple IIc to my work 15″ MacBook Pro but I am having to push the useful life of my purchases further every year. My latest home Mac is a 27″ Core i7 2010 modded with a 3TB Internal drive and a connection for an eSATA drive. I have been hoping for a new MacBook Pro for home but the new price increases just pushed that out.

  1. To anyone interested in industrial engineering or design that book is a must, the first step in bringing jobs home is getting people interested in building things young and old.

    1. the only thing is that it’s just a PICTURE book with almost no context:

      Kahney
      “The book is light on details. There’s a short introduction by Ive at the front, followed by 300 pages of nothing but photos… This brevity is the book’s biggest disappointment. It’s sometimes unclear what you are looking at..

      … There’s no narrative, no explanation of problems encountered or solutions discovered. I’d love to know why the designers picked one design over another; why they chose a particular finish or material; how a product went through a series of iterations until Apple settled on its final form.”

      —–

      seems like the book is more like a self indulgent tribute to themselves than any kind of ‘teaching’ book — something to impress Ive’s millionaire fashion designer friends. Just from the description it would appear a young person looking at this won’t have any idea what’s it’s like to be a designer, or solve problems or anything, it’s like looking at the beautiful tomb of dead King and not knowing anything of the man’s life, not learning anything about how he succeeded or failed.

      Note: These are TECH devices NOT Fine Art SCULPTURE (i.e form for form’s sake) , their success depends on how the ‘body’ allows the USE of the TECH (this seems completely missing from what i read here)

      Kahney wrote Ive’s ‘Bio’ which I’ve skimmed through.

  2. like I said the other day:

    “This ‘look back ‘ book is very un Jobs like.

    Once when Jobs was asked why old ground breaking Apple devices weren’t displayed at Apple he said he didn’t want to look backwards that Apple was not a ‘museum’ (he gave stuff away to museums like the Smithsonian).

    Jobs didn’t even want to celebrate ANNIVERSARIES at Apple.

    CultofMac:

    “David Pakman worked at Apple from 1991 through 1997, and when the 30th anniversary rolled around in 2006, he dreamt up the perfect way to celebrate, he told Fast Company. It was a massive party in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. The event would include everyone who had ever worked for the company, and we wish it would have happened because that would have been one hell of a giant cake.

    But when Pakman e-mailed Jobs and suggested that they actually put on the big show to celebrate the company and its people, he got an answer right away:

    David,

    Apple is focused on the future, not the past.

    —Steve

    It makes sense, we suppose. Jobs seemed obsessed about the company’s next moves, and he didn’t need a recap of what it had already done.”

    ——–

    as Ive works on furniture for charities, helps in Apple sponsored fashion shows like the Met Gala, designs Christmas trees in London with Apple’s other top designer Marc Newson and works on this book (“custom milled gilded pages” ) the Mac Mini (once a bestseller was crippled is not upgraded ), Mac Pro ( three years plus not upgraded, top D700 at one third the GPU speed of a mid range PC card, 16 GB RAM 256 GB HD selling for $4600 ), TV Remote sucks, Mag safe gone etc etc etc.

    Some Apple Pros (like those who need GPUs) are desperate and Tim Cook and Ive and gang (Eddy Cue instead of working on Cloud is working hard on Apple mini series “Sex Filled Romp of Dr. Dre’s Life” ) have head in clouds.

    1. As Steve never looked back and always focused on the present as well as the future, maybe we need to let go of the past ourselves. Steve isn’t here any more and what he would have said or done isn’t really relevant anymore. That’s a tough pill to swallow, I know, because I miss his fire and the “those people are idiots” attitude. He was out to show them all. And in his third act he did and god we loved it!

      What we have now is a respect for industrial scale craftsmanship that industry has not seen before. It represents the third wave on industrialization where we can bring the quality of artisan crafted products to the masses. This is a really really good thing.

      I understand the disappointment many of us feel about the lack of a Mac Pro and what feels like the general lack of attention to the Pro line. To us it feels like the earth is shifting underneath. But maybe, just maybe, it’s not the future. The processing power we have today is truly astonishing. Maybe our complaints about a lack of power just don’t figure with what Apple perceives as the future. That being the case, maybe we need also break with the cult of Apple and get that Wintel box we need to compete with our competitors in the service sector. We should not be too sad though. Apple will be just fine. They’ve got a great future ahead of them.

      1. “Steve isn’t here any more and what he would have said or done isn’t really relevant anymore”

        THIS IS SIMPLY UNTRUE : what Jobs is saying when he states “Apple is focused on the future, not the past.” is that to identify the key changes of technology that Apple can exploit i.e the NEXT BIG THING is to be LASER FOCUSED on the FUTURE.
        THIS IS A KEY PRECEPT OF APPLE AND NOT SOMETHING YOU CAN THROW AWAY BECAUSE IT’S ‘OLD’ : because what do you REPLACE IT WITH? NOT laser focused on the Future?

        as for “Maybe our complaints about a lack of power just don’t figure with what Apple perceives as the future.”

        I leave you with my favourite pix : Jony Ive’s designers using Cheese Graters one year ago and Apple’s NEW Indian Research Centre. So your “what Apple perceives as the future” so why are they using Macs and And Cheese Graters no less…

        “get that Wintel box ”

        SO WILL APPLE DESIGNERS AND SOFTWARE CODER WRITE IT ALL ON WINTEL BOXES AS WELL?
        so will they tag line be “APPLE PRODUCT DESIGNED ON WINDOWS”?

        1. JWSC says we should ignore Jobs as we are following his own idea of looking to the future.

          But jobs was talking about old products. Jobs ideas which JWSC says to ignore are often precepts or guiding principles. Many of these like ‘laser focus ‘ are foundations of Apple. Foundation precepts I believe are different from ‘old products’.

          Of course we can also ignore guiding principles just like even the Constitution can be amended but this has to be done with extreme caution as it might make one ‘go off the rails’.

        2. My intent was never to say to ignore Jobs’ ideas, only that we should stop second guessing what he would have done because it’s pointless. I’ve been pretty consistent that Apple’s maniacal focus is what sets them apart, and I believe it still does. It’s just that they’ve chosen to focus on things that many here are not particularly enamored with.

          I saw the cheesegrater pic you posted several times but struggled to see much significance in it. It could be outfitted with the latest graphics cards or it could be an old unit that is adequate to a specific task. We don’t know. I remember the days when Apple regularly used Sun and Cray and even Wintel (oh horror) computers. They’ve always gone out and got the hardware and software tools they need regardless of the source.

          My real message in all this is that everyone should maybe consider CALMING DOWN a bit. Yes, Apple is changing. But the world is not going to end. You’ll be fine. I’ll be fine. And Apple will be fine. They still have an executive team like no other.

          1. ” saw the cheesegrater pic you posted several times but struggled to see much significance in it.”

            Apple MAKES computers. They can get them at cost. They are probably the richest corp in the world. They should be using the latest as they should be working at max efficiency (C’mon even people who just write blogs — i.e relatively simple computing tasks — want powerful laptops etc . ) . Having Cheese Graters last model 2010 in the lab ? Note several times Apple has said they are creating the new Spaceship campus to be STATE of the ART , to be built to “iPhone” Standards. Weird that the BUILDING should be state of the art but not the MACS they use, y’, know the products they actually MAKE and SELL ?) And giving the old days of Sun and Cray are silly — when was that? — when apple was struggling with finances? yeah I remember Jobs in a video at NEXT startup complaining that his staff should save money and get USED Macs but those circumstances were different. Is it because they are updating products so slowly because they work so slowly with old gear? Won’t it be SAD that after all these years and BILLIONS accumulated and a company that makes computers like I said they would like to have to DEPEND on THIRD PARTY computers (like your sun and Crays ) to do their work on? (remember Apple fans laughing at Microsoft because their ad agency made their Ads on Macs?)

            ” struggled to see much significance in it”?
            Cheese Graters being used are significant in another way because : Today many pro Graphics users are FORCED to use Graters or Hackintosh because of the GPU problems. A cheese grater with upgraded GPU can be several times faster than a Cylinder. They can also be loaded with DIFFERENT types of cards (different cards have different uses) which the cylinder can’t — crucial to 3D design and driving several monitors at high res. Any high end graphics would have immediately seen the significance of it. (Maybe Ive isn’t using them for those things but it reminds us no end of how far Apple has fallen for some pro users).

            ” But the world is not going to end. You’ll be fine. I’ll be fine. And Apple will be fine. They still have an executive team like no other”

            Apple might be fine , their great executive team , some of whom have sold practically all their stock might be fine too.

            BUT pro users many of whom are loyal and BOUGHT into Apple’s spiel that pro users should use their devices (remember all the shootouts with windows machines, the buying of Final Cut, Aperture etc were all to get pro users in. In the past the MARKETED hard to get pro users into Macs ) and now ABANDONING or NEGLECTING a whole bunch of them by not upgrading their Mac Pros and having them not GPU upgradable is bad. Some of the other macs like the Mini which pros use for secondary tasks are crippled today too. That’s why we are not calm, some of us have work to do and have invested a lot of money in the Mac ecosystem: besides Macs, peripherals , software etc. Unlike iPods where they is an upgrade path to iPhones there is NO upgrade path for GPU intensive users . That is the reason why so many are FORCED to Hackintosh or go Windows (and probably lose a lot of investment in software etc). If you are forced to figure out how to Hackintosh a Windows machine (be forced to BUY one) or learn how to build a Hack from scratch (with no desire to do so, many of us are high end USERS we might not be TINKERERS) you would be ‘not calm’ as well.

            So you are telling some of us who might have to spend thousands $$ and change our workflow to Windows, retrain our staff .. “you’ll be fine” ? (you see how exasperating smugness from people like you can be?)

            Is it ETHICAL for a company that Tim Cook prides as a leader in ethics to do this? Can you understand our frustration now. You seem like those who are OK yourself , who shrug at others problems.

            I remember the Mac Book Pro users who ask the Mac Pro users to calm down when they complained about GPU problems, now with the New MBP when apple LIMITS the RAM to 16 and removes features many of those who said ‘keep calm to MP users’ are up in arms. Wait until Apple does something to YOUR device that you depend on for work.

            as for the “They still have an executive team like no other” , perhaps they have the talent but for their performance BOTH in products and in STOCK returns it’s hard to agree in they are performing at their best. If they are why are forums today filled with so many complaints? why are Hackintosh sites and tutorials so popular? Why are there like 20 or more five star recommendations when people post about Mac Pro neglect? Why are Mac sales which were grew faster than Windows for many years now LAG PC growth for several quarters now if their Mac strategy is correct ? Focus on iOS? then why are iPad sales stalled? Why is the P.e of Google/alphabet and Microsoft several times apples? i.e if Apple had Google’s p.E the stock would be 300 now. From BOTH metrics of user and investor complaints can people still say Apple execs are performing at their best.? (I don’t remember these kinds of anger in the past).

            (I have Mac Pros, Mac Book Pros, 12.9 iPad Pros and aapl stock)

            1. well said.. i with you 100% and have been quite vocal about Apples slipups..
              i just hope Apple is hearing us!

              write all these thoughs directly to Apple if have not already ….

      2. Asinine comment most of us can look to the future the problem is the future is looking very bleak with Apple. They are becoming the monthly bad choices company. This does prove however that Steve Jobs was the one and only and it wasn’t about Ive or anyone else

  3. It isn’t an ego trip from Jony Ive.

    A single book which lays out Apple’s products and philosophy will be a contribution to the field. You will see it in every design firm’s library.

    However…this may be Jony’s departure notice. He’s been with the company a long time. He has to be thinking of his next act.

      1. That’s a little harsh. Jony was instrumental in Apple’s resurrection. I can bemoan some of Apple’s current activities without disrespecting the man’s contributions.

  4. “Woking” for Jobs? Ives cooks too?

    When musicians release a “greatest hits” album in the middle of their career, it’s usually the Record Co. shamelessly gouging for more profit. There is no parallel in this case. I’d venture that someone is a little self absorbed.

    Forgive me for saying this, however I’m less impressed with Apple as each year passes from the day he left this planet.

  5. “…required nothing short of the rethinking of paper itself,” Kahney writes. “It’s printed on custom-milled sheets with gilded silver edges…”

    OMG. As someone who’s worked in publishing for 30 years, this is the very definition of “ego trip.” I’ve seen projects that required three different passes through a four-color press to account for special spot colors, and a dizzying array of varnishes and other special effects. But making your own special blend of paper?

    C’mon, I need to buy upgraded Mac Pros, or at least new iMacs and/or Mac Minis. Can we focus here, people?

    1. Easy. It’s done that way so they take as much $ from us as possible.

      They know they’ve got a huge fan base now, and it’s time to exploit it. The Cook knows we will buy, even if he spat in the soup, and he has. Many times.

  6. The book worries me.
    It used to be accepted wisdom that when a corporation built itself a mega HQ, that marked the beginning of its end. When it produces books that extol its own virtues and coolness, that merely confirms the trend. I’m a fan. Is Apple becoming cocky and hence complacent? Ive is leading Apple design away from its users’ best interests. Cook is a good EO. Jobs is gone. A replacement is needed.

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