Jony Ive: Apple’s earbuds were inspired by Star Wars’ Stormtroopers

“On a sunny day in May, Jonathan Ive — Jony to anyone who knows him — first encounters a completed section of Apple Park, the giant campus in Cupertino, California, that has turned into one of his longest projects as Apple’s chief designer,” Christina Passariello reports for The Wall Street Journal. “A section of workspace in the circular, Norman Foster–designed building is finally move-in-ready: sliding-glass doors on the soundproof offices, a giant European white oak collaboration table, adjustable-height desks, and floors with aluminum-covered hinged panels, hiding cables and wires, and brushed-steel grating for air diffusion.”

“Apple Park is unlike any other product Ive has worked on. There will be only one campus—in contrast to the ubiquity of Apple’s phones and computers—and it doesn’t fit in a pocket or a hand,” Passariello reports. “Yet Ive applied the same design process he brings to technological devices: prototyping to minimize any issues with the end result and to narrow what he calls the delta between the vision and the reality of a project. Apple Park is also the last major project Ive worked on with Steve Jobs, making it more personal for the man Jobs once called his ‘spiritual partner.'”

Apple EarPods
Apple EarPods
“Ive is tuned into the look and feel of things wherever he goes. ‘Oh, I’ve got the Faber-Castell pen,’ he interjects, as I use one to take notes,” Passariello reports. “When J.J. Abrams was working on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Ive mentioned that he “would love to see a lightsaber that is rougher, spitting sparks,” Abrams says. The director, who says he and Ive were already fans of each other’s work when they met at a dinner four years ago, applied Ive’s suggestion to character Kylo Ren’s weapon. “His lightsaber was as imperfect and unpredictable as the character,” says Abrams. (The inspiration is mutual: Ive told Abrams that he had the look of the original Stormtroopers in mind when he designed Apple’s earbuds.)”

Tons more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ll be happy when this distracting period of intense naval-gazing is over and Ive can once again turn his attention to delighting Apple’s customers (it’s painfully obvious that he was either distracted or not involved in the design of some recent products, including, most blatantly, Apple TV’s Siri Remote).

Of course, as one of Steve Jobs’ babies, it’s an anal-retentive indulgence gone wild – not a nightmare; a dream. Get in there, finally, get settled, and we’ll have more of that detail-obsession on products that we get to use*, too, Apple!

*Like AirPods, which are simply sublime to use, especially with Apple Watch (and even, somewhat surprisingly, sound pretty good for earbuds, too). — MacDailyNews, May 16, 2017

[Attribution: The Verge. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. MDN is missing the point. Apple Park is all the things a new headquarters should be; a lasting tribute to Steve Jobs; an expression of architectural perfection; a project that mirrors everything that Apple stands for – bringing everything possible in-house; an environmental statement and an opportunity to reward its workforce with spacious modern accommodation. Do you begrudge them that?
    Anyone who has experience with large construction projects knows it’s not as simple as your take.

    1. Construction is hell. You fight so many competing interests. Everyone wants the space that has been allocated to you. You have to watch those weekly blueprints like a hawk. The computer room will start to get smaller, so some idiot’s office can be enlarged. You specify 4 data and 4 power to every office and cubicle so you don’t wind up with 50 cent switches and cheap power strips piled up into every cubicle but they won’t listen. Ridiculous amounts of money get spent on conference room tables carved out of exotic material to look like the company logo. Someone comes around and says, “Are we going to have WiFi in the gym?” And you ask, “What gym?” and they show you on the plans, and you notice the computer room is now gone…

  2. Hey, here is a novel iDeA……HOW ABOUT GETTING SIRI UPGRADED…….right now given the “Siri is a moron” factor there is no way in hell i would let Siri do anything more than driving directions…

  3. “Jonny.” I bet that son-of-a-&^&^ was hell for architects and construction people to work with. Prototypes indeed. Wonder what happened to the failed prototypes?
    Bob the janitor gets home from work early this morning. Normally his shift at Apple goes from 7:00pm to 5:00am the next day, but he made it home a bit early this morning so he could stare at his greatest Apple discard.

    The giant White Marble Apple Tree with dangling red Apples, each with a byte taken out of it, looks incredible in his foyer. (Apple stock has been very very good to Bob.)

  4. In addition to the edifice, designing architecture involves infrastructure consisting of electricity, plumbing, temperature control, surface preparation, interior design, people movement, environmental science, botany, solar panel technology, durability, utility, aesthetics, landscape design; site planning; stormwater management, masonry, environmental restoration, parks and recreation planning.

    Having left behind its Apple Computer monicker long ago, no one but the minds at Apple Corporation know what other different technologies and fields Apple will go into as a result of what it has learned designing and building the Apple Campus architecture which is an extension, in part, of what it has learned building its fabulous and envied Apple Stores.

  5. So is the next big thing going to be the whole helmet with a Siri Jarvis heads up interface on the lenses with an AR overlay, giant beats surround sound, iphone built in?

    Your head will be your password!

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