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Jonathan Ive talks Apple design process, calls iPhone rivals 'theft'

updated 12:52 pm EDT, Mon March 17, 2014

Core design team up to 15 people

In an interview published in London's Sunday Times, Apple's lead designer, Jonathan Ive, reveals some details of the company's design process, and his opinions on the state of his craft. He explains that he currently heads a team of "about 15" designers from the US, the UK, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Most of these people are said to have worked together for 15 to 20 years.

Ive notes that he starts with function over form, and can work on details for months. He also suggests that customers often care more about quality than price. "We're surrounded by anonymous, poorly made objects," he remarks. "It's tempting to think it's because the people who use them don't care - just like the people who make them. But what we've shown is that people do care. It's not just about aesthetics. They care about things that are thoughtfully conceived and well made. We make and sell a very, very large number of (hopefully) beautiful, well-made things. Our success is a victory for purity, integrity - for giving a damn."

The designer dodges talk about the iWatch, but is aggressive about rivals to the iPhone, calling their designs "theft." Their makers are appropriating "thousands and thousands of hours of struggle," Ive claims.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Jeff75

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 09-15-00

    "Our success is a victory for purity, integrity - for giving a damn."

    Exactly. That is why I love Apple.

  1. pairof9s

    Senior User

    Joined: 01-03-08

    I'd say it's time for Apple to give up on the patents strategy. Regardless of the victories, the courts are reluctant and/or slow to enforce meaningful punishment, including product bans, on infringing companies. Even now, any bans will be on items long in the tooth and past their sales peaks, while the fines are a spit in the bucket to the amount of money Samsung has made on sales of these devices.

    Apple would be better joining in the fray and blatantly ripping off Samsung's ideas...and promoting it as such. Better to spit in the eye of both Samsung and the judicial system than spend millions and years of litigation. A nice ad would be "We'll just take it off your tab, Samsung!"

  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 08-15-02

    ...and yet the less is more security slots are left off almost new designs prompting expensive highly visible & inflexible 3rd party solutions - how is that giving a damn ?

    W7 support for bootcamp has just been nixed on the pro tower - Apple is asking users to jump through hoops over and over and over at some pretty fundamental levels...

  1. msuper69

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 01-16-00

    So what. Run Windows in a VM and no rebooting necessary. And you can run Windows 7 or whatever the Windows flavor of the month is.

  1. Sebastien

    Registered User

    Joined: 04-29-00

    ...and I call iOS 7 "a total fustercluck"

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Dear Apostle,

    You're not helping your cause. You may disagree, but bobolicious has a point.

    Sebastian is a troll, and stooping to abuse in your response does not speak highly of your ability to deal with idiots. ;)



  1. besson3c

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 03-03-01

    I still to this day find it interesting how these sorts of tech conversations bring out such emotions and passion with consumers. Seriously, why is that?

  1. mac_in_tosh

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 12-14-11

    "Ive notes that he starts with function over form"...Is that why there isn't a simple door on the back of the iMac so one could easily get to the hard drive without having to go through the display?

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    The answer to that is simple, seeing the direction we're headed:

    What hard drive? ;)

  1. mac_in_tosh

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 12-14-11

    Spheric Harlot - That may be the answer for the direction we're headed, but doesn't explain or excuse decisions made during the past few years.

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