Jony Ive Details Apple Design Process, iPhone 6 Design Choices in New Interview
Apple's head of design Jony Ive today gave a live interview at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco. In the interview, which BusinessInsider attended, Ive gave some rare insight into the design process at Apple and some of the design choices the team made with the iPhone 6.
According to Ive, he has a great design team that's quite small, numbering 16 or 17 employees. During a typical day, Ive says that designers gather around tables like those in the Apple Store to draw. The team meets three or four times a week.
One of the major advantages of being part of a design team that's been together so long is that it's given them time to develop a design process. Ideas, Ive says, don't really come along until the design team has created a physical object from their drawings. "It really galvanizes and focuses our team," said Ive.
When asked whether or not he had experienced a "eureka moment" in a design meeting, Ive pointed towards the iPhone 6 and the 6 Plus, saying that there's a "special moment" when there's an object you can touch. He says he's surprised and thrilled every time he gets to see a new first model.
On the iPhone 6's rounded edges, Ive says that Apple opted to go back to rounded edges because they were necessary to make the device feel less wide. Apple made bigger-screened prototypes years before, but they were "clunky."
Ive also shared details on Steve Jobs, saying that Jobs was "the most remarkably focused person" he'd ever met in his life. "You can achieve so much when you truly focus," Ive said. "What focus means is saying no to something that with every bone in your body you think is a phenomenal idea. And you wake up thinking about it, but you say no to it because you're focusing on something else."
During audience questions, Ive gave some interesting thoughts on Xiaomi, the Chinese manufacturer that closely copies Apple's designs. Ive says what Xiaomi is doing is theft, not flattery.
There is a danger...I don't see it as flattery. I see it as theft. (Talking about copying designs in general). When you're doing something for the first time and you don't know it's going to work. I have to be honest the last thing I think is "Oh, that is flattering. All those weekends I could've been home with my family...I think it's theft and lazy. I don't think it's OK at all."
The full paraphrased text of Ive's interview, where he also shares why he chose to be an industrial designer, what he thought was well designed as a kid, how he came to work at Apple, and his thoughts on Steve Jobs, can be found over at BusinessInsider. Both TechCrunch and The Verge have shared details on the interview as well.