updated 06:20 pm EDT, Mon April 16, 2012
Has not explained discrepancy in quotes
French designer Philippe Starck has finally confirmed that his initial quotes about a "revolutionary" Apple product that will come out "in eight months" were in fact about his long involvement in designing a yacht for the Jobs family, the Wall Street Journal reports. The yacht, which began life as a project for Steve Jobs during a brief break in his illness almost a decade ago, will be completed by his widow Laurene, Starck said.
The designer created a lot of internet buzz over his original remarks, given in an interview on a French radio station. He described the "Apple project" he was working on as "revolutionary" but couldn't say more about it because of "Apple's almost religious cult of secrecy." Shortly after the news was picked up, Apple made the rare move of publicly denying it was working with Starck on anything.
Starck has had wide success with a number of designs and re-designs, from a toothbrush to entire buildings. He has designed several tech items, including Bluetooth headphones, a speaker stand and external hard drives for LaCie.
In his biography, Jobs mentions meeting with Starck on the yacht project, and Starck says those meetings continued around once a month, and are ongoing now with Laurene Powell Jobs. He has now clarified that he was referring to the yacht with his "revolutionary" remarks, inferring that the design will be a unique collaboration between Starck and Jobs. The yacht has been a problematic project for the family, having been redesigned several times over by Steve Jobs before his death.
The suggestion by Starck that the project will be completed by the end of the year suggests that the shipmaking process was too far along for the project to be scrapped after Jobs' death, and thus it has been turned over to Jobs' widow to complete. Reports have suggested that that ship will feature an extensive amount of glass, a design element that Jobs was particularly fascinated with in his final years. Many of Apple's latest non-computer projects -- from retail stores to its new headquarters -- have emphasized customized glass as a prominent feature.
Starck has thus far not offered an explanation on how his original remarks were either misspoken or misinterpreted, or why he waited to clarify the remarks once the story went viral. Starck is now said to be bringing his miminalist design sense to the interior of the yacht. [via Wall Street Journal]