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Ive: 'Nothing has changed' under Cook, 'new products' on the way

updated 07:07 pm EDT, Mon June 16, 2014

Company still operating by core principles laid down by Jobs, designer says

In a fuller version of an interview given to The New York Times by Apple senior VP of Design Sir Jonathan Ive, the head of Apple's hardware and software creative design team has revealed that the team has been working "for years" with "new materials" not previously seen (at least, not on a large scale) in previous Apple products, and that new products are in active development. He also dismissed the notion that the engine of innovation at Apple has changed without Steve Jobs at the helm.

Some quotes from the original interview were used in a generally Cook-bashing editorial co-written by a man involved in the iPhone 4 prototype scandal, but the full inteview actually reveals Ive to have a high opinion of his boss (and of course great regard for his late friend and collaborator, Jobs). "Steve established a set of values, and he established preoccupations and tones that are completely enduring - and he established those principles with a small team of people. I've been ridiculously lucky to be part of it. But Tim was very much part of that team - for that last 15 or 20 years."

Although Cook has adopted changes and strategies for managing Apple as it is now -- a huge multinational corporation and the most profitable company on Earth -- rather than the struggling niche player that Jobs inherited when he returned in 1997, the current CEO has continued the collaboration, shifting more creative responsibilities to Ive and his team while continuing to offer operational expertise and engineering guidance from his executive team, just as was done in the past.

"I remember clearly a time when we made plastic portable computers, and Steve and Tim and I sat down and said we wanted to build an incredibly thin and light portable computer," Ive said, recalling the process that led to the Titanium G4 Powerbooks. "There was a whole range of challenges from an engineering point of view: How it worked in a new material, titanium. That meant we had to completely redesign and discover new partners to work with, hire a whole new organization."

When asked directly about working with Cook, Ive noted that the two meeting "on average three times a week," sometimes in Cook's office and sometimes in Ive's studio. He said that part of his job as a designer is taking a physical object and differentiating between the objective reality of a thing and how users perceive it to be. "Heading on for two decades working with Tim, one of the things I have always admired is the quiet consideration he gives to trying to understand how he perceives something. He will take the time. I think that testifies to the fact that he knows it's important."

Ive also revealed that some of the "future stuff" his team are working on are made with "materials we haven't worked in before," referring to the Jobs era of production. "I've been working on this stuff for a few years now. Tim is fundamentally involved in pushing into these new areas and into these materials," likely a reference to both the sapphire glass Apple has heavily invested in through a partnership with GT Advanced, as well as its ongoing relationship with Liquidmetal -- perhaps hinting that users will see a greater leveraging of the latter material in future products. Liquidmetal is the brand name of a specific alloy that offers the rigidity of strong metals while being able to be shaped more precisely than ordinary alloys allow.

When asked if it was hard to maintain focus on product development when the company is under constant and ever-increasing pressure to produce "the next iThing," Ive was philosophical about the conundrum of always being judged by the old axiom "what have you done for me lately?" He said simply that it is "hard for us all to be patient. It was hard for Steve. It is hard for Tim."

"Honestly, I don't think anything's changed. People felt exactly the same way when we were working on iPhone. The iPhone was broadly dismissed. The iPod was broadly dismissed. The iPad was probably more copiously written off as a large iPod. When I look back over the last 20 years, you have this sense that, you're working on something that's incredibly hard, when you're working on it, you don't know whether it's going to work out or not. The benefit of hindsight is we only really talk about those things that did work out."

"When that's your day to day, you're so consumed by the products and the problems and the challenges, that it's actually quite easy to be impatient."




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. climacs

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 09-06-01

    thank you, now will all the idiots who keep saying that Apple died with Jobs please sit down and STFU?

  1. msuper69

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 01-16-00

    @climacs Amen!

  1. mojkarma

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-13-11

    @climacs
    Your tone is quite silly. People are entitled to their opinion. Just because you think they are wrong, doesn't mean they are idiots. You know, even if Apple would loose its innovation since Jobs died, Ive would under no circumstance admit that this is the truth because it would hurt the business. Or do you really think that Ive would say "yes, of course, since Jobs died, we lost all our innovations and visions about new products". It's clear, a lack of intelligence is obvious on your side. Saying all that, I don't think that Apple lost its innovative moment.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    People are entitled to their opinions.

    That does not make those opinions equally valid.

    Giving equal consideration to all viewpoints isn't necessary when some of those viewpoints are just ignorant footnotes (see: creationism, climate change, anti-vaccers. There is no "debate" just because people who are wrong have learned how to shout on the internet.)

  1. Grendelmon

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 12-26-07

    Well, all I can say is that Apple isn't the company that it used to be 10 years ago. Being at the top has spawned an arrogance towards product features and user support. I loved Apple when they were the underdog. Now... not so much. For Ive to say that "nothing" has changed since Cook took over only denigrates Jobs' innovation and legacy at Apple. But that's just my opinion.

  1. Foxypaco

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-26-10

    People can't seem to get it through their heads that Steve Jobs left a very specific roadmap for Apple and Tim Cook to follow. It's not like he died and left Cook to fend for his own. For all we know Jobs had planned out the next 10 years or products already, maybe even more.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by GrendelmonView Post

    Well, all I can say is that Apple isn't the company that it used to be 10 years ago. Being at the top has spawned an arrogance towards product features and user support. I loved Apple when they were the underdog. Now... not so much.



    You mean twenty years ago.

    They completely axed their attitude towards product features sixteen years ago, and killed 90% of their products overnight, and THAT is what allowed them to become great at all. They call it "focus", and it's been their mantra since the iMac, 1998.

    User support…I see no difference to ten years ago. I'm still a happy camper (always had AppleCare, though, so YMMV).

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by FoxypacoView Post

    People can't seem to get it through their heads that Steve Jobs left a very specific roadmap for Apple and Tim Cook to follow.



    He most certainly did not do ANYTHING of the sort.

    He left a very clear and specific MINDSET, but made sure to emphasise that people NOT do or ask "what Steve would have done". Repeatedly.

    He left a culture that would do the right thing, but he most certainly didn't leave a roadmap how to handle things.

    The WWDC was a spectacular display of "wouldn't have happened under Steve", but all of these things were absolutely the right thing for them to do in 2014.

  1. Grendelmon

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 12-26-07

    Originally Posted by Spheric HarlotView Post

    You mean twenty years ago.

    They completely axed their attitude towards product features sixteen years ago, and killed 90% of their products overnight, and THAT is what allowed them to become great at all. They call it "focus", and it's been their mantra since the iMac, 1998.

    User support…I see no difference to ten years ago. I'm still a happy camper (always had AppleCare, though, so YMMV).



    Okay, perhaps more than 10 years ago, but when they consolidated their product line to the 4 product matrix, it was a fresh start, at Jobs' discretion. Where are we today?

    [LIST=1]

  2. Apple TV
  3. iPad Air
  4. iPad Retina Display
  5. iPad Mini
  6. iPad Mini Retina Display
  7. iPod Shuffle
  8. iPod Nano
  9. iPod Classic
  10. iPod Touch
  11. iPhone 5c
  12. iPhone 5s
  13. MacBook Air
  14. MacBook Pro
  15. Mac Mini
  16. iMac
  17. Mac Pro


    Is that focus?

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    You forgot to split up the different capacities for the iDevices and the speed options for the Macs as separate product lines. You also forgot to list the trackpad and mouse, and the two keyboard variations. Those would have made your argument look really impressive. :rolleyes:

    Basically, the Mac lineup is exactly as it was in 1998, except for the addition of the Mac mini a decade ago.

    Now that you've listed all those iDevices, realize that iPods cost them nothing in R&D or focus because they haven't been updated in years, and that the iPad comes in only two versions: big and small. As with the iPhone, simply keeping last year's model in the lineup costs them NOTHING in focus or attention, and makes them tons of money by allowing lower entry prices.

    The ONLY device that falls out of the raster somewhat is the iPhone 5c, as that meant Apple released TWO phones in one year, rather than just the one.

    Now, take a look at the numbers of each of those products sold (not just the iPhone) compared to ten years ago, and claim again, with a straight face, that they've lost focus.

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