“Sir Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer of Apple, Inc., is sitting across from me at a seamless white oak table. We’ve met a few times before, and I know he cares about watches. He must, right? But I’ve never actually asked him. So I do. And thank God, he does – he recounts a tale of buying an Omega Speedmaster Professional in the early ’90s. I exhale, because the hypothesis of this interview, at least in my mind (likely not in Apple’s), is that the watch industry and its all-too-vocal supporters have got it all wrong,” Benjamin Clymer writes for Hodinkee. “Jony, the creator of what is, by at least one definition, the number one watch on Earth, is a friend, not a foe. But, like any great question of power and influence, it’s not so simple.”
Some snippets for the interview:
BC: Did you and Steve discuss watches, and did he have an interest in them?
JI: No, we didn’t talk about watches, or us making a watch. I don’t remember him wearing one either.
“Jony’s answer here was more curt than others, and it shook me. It was clear that mentioning Steve is not something often done by him, or by Apple. Further, I couldn’t believe that Steve Jobs, the man that I, and so many, look up to as an exemplar of taste and understanding, had no interest in the objects that we love so much. What’s more, and I didn’t share this with Jony, is that in February 2016, I spent the better part of a Saturday morning on the telephone with an auctioneer in Texas trying to buy Jobs’s Seiko – a simple quartz watch that he famously wore while sitting crossed-legged on the floor with a Macintosh in his lap for a Norman Seeff photograph,” Clymer writes. “I was ultimately unsuccessful, ending as the underbidder to a winning bid of $42,500. It is one of my biggest regrets in watch buying, and if given the chance to do it again, I would’ve moved mountains to bid even higher. Ever since, I’ve imagined it was Jony on the other end of the phone who placed the winning bid – at this point, though, I doubt it.”
BC: Steve really didn’t wear a watch?
BC: So then what exactly was the genesis of the watch project? In my mind, it felt like the last project with his fingerprints on it. But I guess that isn’t the case.
JI: The first discussion took place in early 2012, a few months after Steve’s passing. It caused us to take time, pausing to think about where we wanted to go, what trajectory we were on as a company, and what motivated us. Also, what concisely was our contribution to our users. And I think, incontrovertibly, that Apple since the 1970s has made difficult-to-comprehend and inaccessible technology easy to understand and accessible.
Read more in the full interview – recommended – here.
MacDailyNews Take: Interestingly, Steve Jobs personally tried to recruit Kevin Lynch from Adobe to Apple. (Lynch was Adobe’s CTO at the time and had just butted heads with Apple CEO Steve Jobs over Adobe’s Flash and iOS.) Lynch, of course, was later hired by Apple in 2013 and became the head of the Apple Watch project.
Our favorite quote quote from Ive’s Hodinkee interview:
If we can help make some people realize that it’s cool to wear something on your wrist again, that’s a win for us and for every watch lover. — Jony Ive
Steve Jobs tried to recruit Kevin Lynch to Apple after Flash kerfuffle – December 29, 2015
iWatch? Apple’s Kevin Lynch heading former team of iPod engineers on new projects – April 12, 2013
Why the heck did Apple hire Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch? – March 20, 2013
Apple hires Adobe technology chief Kevin Lynch as vice president – March 20, 2013
iPhone Killer: The secret history of the Apple Watch – December 11, 2015
Adobe CTO tries defending the indefensible Flash pig – November 9, 2010
Adobe CTO likens Apple to 19th-century railroad – May 5, 2010