Apple's Jony Ive and Craig Federighi Discuss Their Design and Engineering Partnership

federighi_iveWhile Apple design guru Jony Ive and software engineering chief Craig Federighi were included in a Bloomberg Businessweek cover story published today, much of the focus of that piece was on CEO Tim Cook and his thoughts about Apple and the competition.

Ive and Federighi now get some attention for themselves in an interview with USA Today in which the two discuss their partnership that led to the development of iOS 7.

"When we sat down last November (to work on iOS 7), we understood that people had already become comfortable with touching glass, they didn't need physical buttons, they understood the benefits," says Ive. "So there was an incredible liberty in not having to reference the physical world so literally. We were trying to create an environment that was less specific. It got design out of the way."

Federighi goes on to note that the technological advances over the past few years have finally reached the point where Apple is able to tackle something like iOS 7.

"This is the first post-Retina (Display) UI (user interface), with amazing graphics processing thanks to tremendous GPU (graphics processing unit) power growth, so we had a different set of tools to bring to bear on the problem as compared to seven years ago (when the iPhone first launched)," he says. "Before, the shadowing effect we used was a great way to distract from the limitations of the display. But with a display that's this precise, there's nowhere to hide. So we wanted a clear typography."

Ive jumps in. "Yes, we wanted to defer to the content, and just get out of the way."

The piece also includes a bit of a biography on Ive, discussing how he came to join Apple and the freedom and power he holds at the company. It also reflects on his focus on simplicity, with Ive pointing to the new Touch ID fingerprint scanning system on the iPhone 5s as an example of a feature that is useful but almost invisible in how it functions.

Teasing future products from Apple, Ive notes that he would "love, love, love" to reveal what he and his design team have been working on, but that he would lose his job if he did.

Finally, Ive addresses the topic of competition, noting that his work is driven by Apple's own tastes and those of its customers. He says that he keeps a close eye on what competitors are doing with their designs, but that their work does not influence his designs "at all".

Top Rated Comments

ThunderSkunk Avatar
139 months ago
Well I look forward to seeing this UI completed.

Mobile Safari's toolbar looks like a 3 year old drew it with a pencil.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Treq Avatar
139 months ago
A design that's less specific!? Really? I'd rather know specifically where the button is. I'd rather have borders to differentiate between elements. I just don't like "Flat" I guess.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
psingh01 Avatar
139 months ago
Funny how they've spent all summer talking about how bad skeumorphism is. When I first saw the iOS 7 preview the first thing that came to my mind was if it's so bad why did they add etched glass looking panels all over iOS 7? I don't think it is an improvement over what we already had, just different and in some cases worse because it is harder to see.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FSMBP Avatar
139 months ago
Craig is solely responsible for my renewed faith in Apple. The direction iOS 7/Mavericks has gone is both targeted towards simplicity AND giving more features to "power-users".

Even the little things that changed in iOS 7, like new ringtones/sounds & wallpapers, seem like they would have never changed much under older management.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vmachiel Avatar
139 months ago
Rubbing it in Forstall's face :D
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
xVeinx Avatar
139 months ago
Rubbing it in Forstall's face :D

Actually, I think they're pointing to the fact that Forstall's work was needed. It was necessary in the beginning. Now however, it isn't as much. It's possible Forstall couldn't adapt to a new vision for the interface, or that he simply couldn't work with the current management. Either way, I don't think it's meant as a slight against Forstall at all.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

iOS 17.5 Bug May Also Resurface Deleted Photos on Wiped, Sold Devices [Updated]

Friday May 17, 2024 12:24 pm PDT by
A bug in iOS 17.5 is apparently causing photos that have been deleted to reappear, and the issue seems to impact even iPhones and iPads that have been erased and sold off to other people. A Reddit user wiped an iPad following Apple's guidelines in September of 2023 before selling it off to a friend. That friend updated the iPad to iPadOS 17.5 this week, and began seeing the Reddit user's old ...
iphone se 4 modified flag edges

When to Expect the Next iPhone SE to Launch

Friday May 17, 2024 2:03 pm PDT by
It has been over two years since Apple released the third-generation iPhone SE, and rumors continue to surface about a new model. The latest word comes from The Information, which today reported that Apple plans to release a new iPhone SE with a design similar to the standard iPhone 14 in the spring of 2025. If this rumor is accurate, the iPhone SE would finally gain Face ID and a notch...
oled m4 ipad pro grainy display reports

OLED iPad Pro Users Report 'Grainy' Displays, But It May Not Be a Defect

Friday May 17, 2024 5:57 am PDT by
Some new M4 iPad Pro models are exhibiting a visible static grain pattern across the OLED display, according to several user reports on Reddit (1, 2, 3) and the MacRumors Forums. Image credit: MacRumors user bk215 Users who see the grain generally report that it is most noticeable in dark environments with the display set at a low to medium brightness while viewing content with gray or muted...
iOS 17

Troubling iOS 17.5 Bug Reportedly Resurfacing Old Deleted Photos

Wednesday May 15, 2024 5:29 am PDT by
There are concerning reports on Reddit that Apple's latest iOS 17.5 update has introduced a bug that causes old photos that were deleted – in some cases years ago – to reappear in users' photo libraries. After updating their iPhone, one user said they were shocked to find old NSFW photos that they deleted in 2021 suddenly showing up in photos marked as recently uploaded to iCloud. Other...
Delta Hands On Feature

iPhone Emulators on the App Store: Game Boy, N64, PS1, PSP, and More

Thursday May 16, 2024 12:45 pm PDT by
In April, Apple updated its guidelines to allow retro game emulators on the App Store, and several popular emulators have already been released. The emulators released so far allow iPhone users to play games released for older consoles from Nintendo, Sony, SEGA, Atari, and others. A list of some popular emulators available on the App Store so far follows. Released Delta Delta is...
iphone 15 pro max vs iphone 16 pro max

iPhone 16 Pro Max Looks This Much Bigger Beside iPhone 15 Pro Max

Thursday May 16, 2024 4:51 am PDT by
This year's upcoming iPhone 16 Pro Max is expected to get a boost in overall size from 6.7-inches to 6.9-inches, and a new image gives us a good idea of how the current iPhone 15 Pro Max compares to what could be Apple's largest ever iPhone. The image above, posted on X by ZONEofTECH, shows a dummy model representing the ‌iPhone 16 Pro‌ Max alongside an actual iPhone 15 Pro Max. Dummy...