Apple's Marc Newson Believes Automotive Design is Lacking Progress

The Wall Street Journal has published an in-depth profile of industrial designer Marc Newson, a longtime friend of Apple design chief Jonathan Ive who joined the Cupertino-based company in September 2014. The interview touches upon a number of topics, ranging from Newson's creative process and design philosophies to his favorite artists and fashion designers.

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Apple designers Marc Newson (left) and Jonathan Ive (right) via Vanity Fair

Just months after reports claimed Apple is actively researching and developing an electric and possibly self-driving vehicle, Newson added fuel to those rumors by referring to the automotive industry as one of his design pet-peeves. The designer said that while cars used to encapsulate "everything that was good about progress," the industry is now "at the bottom of a trough."
My design pet-peeve is: the automotive industry. There were moments when cars somehow encapsulated everything that was good about progress. But right now we’re at the bottom of a trough.
Newson's comments certainly do not imply that Apple is working on a vehicle, but it is clear that multiple executives at the Cupertino-based company are car enthusiasts. Apple's SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue joined Ferrari's Board of Directors in November 2012, while Ive has owned several luxury vehicles ranging from Aston Martins and Fiats to Bentleys and Land Rovers.

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Jonathan Ive's previous Aston Martin DB9 supercar

The New Yorker also reflected on how Newson and Ive are "car guys" in February:
He and Newson are car guys, and they feel disappointed with most modern cars; each summer, they attend the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where vintage sports cars are exhibited and raced in the South of England. “There are some shocking cars on the road,” Ive said. “One person’s car is another person’s scenery.” To his right was a silver sedan with a jutting lower lip. Ive said, quietly, “For example.” As the disgraced car fell behind, I asked Ive to critique its design: “It is baffling, isn’t it? It’s just nothing, isn’t it? It’s just insipid.” He declined to name the model, muttering, “I don’t know, I don’t want to offend.” (Toyota Echo.)
It was reported in February that Apple has hundreds of employees, including former Tesla, Ford and GM engineers, working on an electric vehicle at a top-secret research lab possibly located in the Sunnyvale area. The much-rumored initiative, known internally as "Project Titan," likely remains in the early stages of research and development, with Bloomberg reporting that Apple hopes to begin production in 2020.

Related Roundup: Apple Car

Top Rated Comments

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58 months ago

Well hopefully our cars don't bend more easily


You hope they do bend more easily. That's called crumple zones and the "bending" saves a lot of lives and reduces a lot of injuries.

/Just trying to put a damper on yet another "bendgate" comment. :)
Rating: 21 Votes
58 months ago

Well hopefully our cars don't bend more easily

Stop it. It's not funny anymore.

Every freaking thread:
"Herp derp, but does it bend?"
"Hurr Durr, you're bending it wrong!"
"Hopefully it doesn't bend! Amirite guys? You know, like the iPhone 6 did? Are you getting my extremely subtle reference? ...Guys?"
Rating: 17 Votes
58 months ago
I also think car designers are lazy. I picked up a 2016 Mazda6 a month ago and I do enjoy it. However, look at the rear ends of some cars and SUVs. They all look very similar. Just lazy. I don't know what's wrong with Toyota to add a big plastic open mouth at the bottom of their Corolla and Camry.



Rating: 16 Votes
58 months ago

Show me a better looking lap top then Apples new MacBook.

Show me a laptop with more than one USB slot. Oh wait...

Going by this philosophy the Apple Car will only have one door, but it will be conveniently mounted underneath the car not to ruin the beautiful, beautiful curves.
Rating: 16 Votes
58 months ago
"I don't understand why cars aren't getting thinner every year..." - Ive
Rating: 14 Votes
58 months ago
Wow, talk about irony! Where's the Progress with Apple? a watch? Apple hasn't seen anything innovative since Steve Jobs left.
Rating: 13 Votes
58 months ago
Johnny, you have been in costumer electronics for most of your career. Automotive design is "the big leagues" compared to the work you have done.

While your reputation gives clout for your opinion, let's see some product design to back it up. If not, this is just anyones opinion over pints at the local pub.

Designing a single consumer item is child's play compare to developing an entire moving environment where you have a very tough job mixing aesthetics and functionality.
Rating: 12 Votes
58 months ago



Boom. Beauty and brawn. Every nanometer is accounted for in this remarkable work of man-made design. The materials and the way they are carefully crafted and sculpted into sensuous yet masculine lines suggests a profound level of power and boldness. Which also allows me to experience great works of art like Diablo, Mass Effect, GTA V.

Nope. Try again.

What makes that hideous: Off centered track pad, stickers!, more room for the logo than the the camera, gratuitous lighting (keyboard, fine, but under and askew the track pad???), and finally, it's obviously too thick.
Rating: 12 Votes
58 months ago

My design pet-peeve is: the automotive industry. There were moments when cars somehow encapsulated everything that was good about progress. But right now we're at the bottom of a trough.

I could say the exact same thing about the computer and electronics industry. Apple's designs have hit a trough too.
Rating: 12 Votes
58 months ago
To his right was a silver phone with ugly plastic bands. "It is baffling, isn’t it? It’s just nothing, isn’t it? It’s just insipid.” He declined to name the model, muttering, “I don’t know, I don’t want to offend.” (iPhone 6.)
Rating: 11 Votes

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