updated 03:39 pm EDT, Thu October 10, 2013
Ive comments on level of effort involved in iPhone
Designers Jonathan Ive and Marc Newson talk about their trade in a new issue of Vanity Fair. The pair were recently involved in selecting or designing over 40 objects -- such as a custom Leica M camera -- for an upcoming auction benefiting Bono's Product (RED) charity. "We are both fanatical in terms of care and attention to things people don't see immediately," says Ive, better known as Apple's senior VP of design. "It's like finishing the back of a drawer. Nobody's going to see it, but you do it anyway. Products are a form of communication -- they demonstrate your value system, what you care about."
"You discover that very few people have the level of perfection we do. It is actually very sick. It is neurotic," Newson comments.
Speaking about the specially-designed objects for the (RED) auction, Ive says he found it "a very odd and unusual thing to put this amount of love and energy into one thing, where you are only going to make one." The Leica required 947 prototype parts and 561 models, as well as the help of 55 Apple engineers, who collectively spent 2,149 hours on the project. Just assembling the finished camera demanded 50 hours spread out over six days. VF estimates that the dollar value of the time spent could rank at six or seven figures.
Ive also addresses his day job at Apple, and what distinguishes Apple design from what competitors do. "The most important thing is that you actually care, that you do something to the very best of your ability," he says. "We can't explain it in a fiscal sense, but the care that goes into the iPhone is equivalent to what goes into watches and other things that are significantly more expensive. I love the idea that the phone will be so broadly accessible."