Jony Ive Says Holding Onto Features When There’s a ‘Better Way’ is ‘Path That Leads to Failure’

After naming the iPhone X as one of the 25 Best Inventions of the Year, TIME sat down for an interview about the smartphone with Apple's design chief Jony Ive and hardware engineering chief Dan Riccio.


Riccio believes the iPhone X paves the way for the next 10 years of smartphones, given its radical redesign with a nearly edge to edge display, no home button, and advanced cameras for facial recognition and augmented reality.

"There were these extraordinarily complex problems that needed to be solved," said Ive. "Paying attention to what's happened historically actually helps give you some faith that you are going to find a solution."

That history includes, in part, Apple removing the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 last year, parting ways with the built-in disc drive on the MacBook Pro after 2012, and ditching the floppy drive on the iMac G3 in 1998.

"I actually think the path of holding onto features that have been effective, the path of holding onto those whatever the cost, is a path that leads to failure," said Ive. "And in the short term, it's the path that feels less risky and it's the path that feels more secure."

Ive acknowledged that it's not always easy for Apple to move past a feature or technology when it believes there's a "better way," and it's easy to see his point given the controversy that each change has generated.

Apple was criticized by a fair number of customers for removing the headphone jack on the iPhone last year, for example, and even competitors like Google and Samsung used it as an opportunity to poke fun at Apple.

After time, however, many customers usually learn to adapt. Google even removed the headphone jack on the Pixel 2 this year.

iPhone X is the most expensive iPhone ever, with a starting price of $999 in the United States, which Ive said is the "financial consequence" of "integrating the sheer amount of processing power into such a small device."

"Our goal is always to provide what we think is the best product possible, not always the lowest cost," added Riccio.

Despite being expensive, the iPhone X appears to be off to a successful start given sales estimates, and Apple's forecast for an all-time revenue record this quarter. Orders placed today are still backlogged by 2-3 weeks.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

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Apple Design Chief Jony Ive: iPhone X Will ‘Change and Evolve’ Over Time

Apple design chief Jony Ive recently sat down for an interview with design, architecture, and fashion magazine Wallpaper* to discuss Apple Park, Apple's newest campus in Cupertino, California which he had a hand in designing, and the iPhone X, Apple's newest device.

The iPhone X, Ive says, was designed to serve as a vessel for software, with a design that melds into the background. Apple's design team has always aimed to "get design out of the way." "We try to define a solution that seems so inevitable that it does recede," he said. In the future, Ive believes the iPhone X will offer capabilities it doesn't have now because software is always evolving, something he finds intriguing and fascinating.

What I think is remarkable about the iPhone X is that its functionality is so determined by software. And because of the fluid nature of software, this product is going to change and evolve. In 12 months' time, this object will be able to do things that it can't now. I think that is extraordinary. I think we will look back on it and see it as a very significant point in terms of the products we have been developing.
Ive declined to comment on Apple's future product plans, but he said his design group is "absurdly curious and constantly looking for alternatives." Some ideas are "beyond the technology" at the moment, but exist to "galvanise the development of technology." Reflecting on the past, Ive says that looking back on the past 25 years, what Apple has learned is more important and precious than what's been designed.
I always think that there are two products at the end of a programme; there is the physical product or the service, the thing that you have managed to make, and then there is all that you have learned. The power of what you have learned enables you to do the next thing and it enables you to do the next thing better.
Ive is described as "giddily excited" about the new campus and its enormous ring-shaped main building and the potential it has to change the way Apple employees work by bringing them together. Design studios that are currently physically disconnected will be able to come together, so industrial designers can work with font designers, sound designers, motion graphics experts, and so on.

Ive says Apple Park has been designed to be inherently flexible and reconfigurable, with Apple able to "very quickly" create large open spaces or lots of smaller private offices. "The building will change and evolve," says Ive. "I'm sure in 20 years' time we will be designing and developing very different products, and just that alone will drive the campus to evolve and change."

Wallpaper*'s latest cover, designed by Ive

There were rumors suggesting some Apple Park employees were dissatisfied with the open office design at Apple Park, so much so that Apple vice president of hardware technologies Johny Srouji insisted his team work at a different location, but the Wallpaper* piece mentions several times that office space within the main building is configurable, with teams able to choose individual offices or open spaces.

Apple will, however, maintain its culture of secrecy. "The way that we work is quietly," said Ive. "We are conspicuously different in that and it is an important part of who we are."

Ive's full interview with Wallpaper* is well worth reading and offers further discussion about the Apple Park campus and the attention to detail that went into its design. It also looks further at the various elements of Apple Park, including the Steve Jobs theater, the landscaping, and the configuration of the building.


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Jony Ive: Debut of iPhone X Technology on 10th Anniversary of iPhone is a ‘Wonderful Coincidence’

Finishing the iPhone X in time for the tenth anniversary of the iPhone in 2017 was a "wonderful coincidence", according to Jony Ive.

The Apple design chief made the comments at last month's iPhone X event during a brief chat with Japanese design magazine Casa Brutus, which published the interview on Tuesday.


Ive told the magazine that the iPhone X project had an incubation period of more than two years, and with features like Face ID and the TrueDepth camera, is one of the most difficult projects Apple has undertaken.

But the company isn't resting on its laurels – Ive revealed that Apple is already working on next-generation designs that improve upon the iPhone X's integrated assembly, with its contiguous chassis and display.

Ive went on to say the replacement of Touch ID fingerprint recognition, which has featured in all iPhone models since iPhone 5s, equates to a heightened user experience, with Face ID being the culmination of years of work towards a non-contact user interface.

Ive concluded by saying he doesn't think of the iPhone X as the ultimate expression of "iPhone", rather it represents a new chapter in the platform's history.

Pre-orders for iPhone X begin on Friday, October 27, with the official launch the following Friday, November 3.

(Via AppleInsider. Source: Mac Otakara.)

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Jony Ive Talks Design, Steve Jobs, Future Tech and More on Stage at TechFest 2017

Apple design chief Jony Ive spoke this afternoon at TechFest 2017, an event held in New York City. Ive sat down for an interview with The New Yorker editor David Remnick to answer some questions about his design philosophies, his time at Apple, and what it was like working with Steve Jobs, who served as a "wonderful teacher" for Ive.

Ive's TechFest talk wasn't streamed live, but Business Insider was on hand at the interview and shared a live blog with some of Ive's responses and discussion points, and The New Yorker also shared several quotes on its Twitter account.

Image via The New Yorker

Perhaps the most interesting part of the conversation centered on upcoming technology Apple is exploring. Ive said that there are "certain ideas" Apple has in mind, and that the company is "waiting for the technology to catch up with the idea." In response to a question about whether he was still hungry for new designs and new products, Ive answered "Absolutely."

He went on to say that there are "many opportunities" around displays, and as silicon becomes smaller and more efficient, "the opportunities are extraordinary." Ive also says he's excited about AI and the kind of "good tools" it can lead to.
"The phone we just announced a few weeks ago. That technology is something we'd been working on for five years. We had prototypes. This is an interesting one, theres's a tendency, and I understand it, with the benefit of hindsight, it all seems inevitable."

"For 99 percent of the time, it didn't work for us. For 99% of the development cycle all we had were things that failed."
Developing new products, says Ive, requires a mix of curiosity and focus, to ask the right questions while staying focused on getting a product into development. "There are 55 reasons it hasn't been done before," he said. "So you have to be so focused, determined." Ive says maintaining that level of focus is "exhausting."

Ive touched on his relationship with Steve and the ideals that Jobs instilled in the company. Money was never the focus for Steve Jobs, even when he returned to the company and started making major cuts to the product lineup at the time. "The focus was 'the products aren't every good, are they. Let's focus on making some good products,'" said Ive.

Sometimes design inspiration at Apple comes from poorly designed products, and that was the case with the iPhone. According to Ive, a loathing for the current phones at the time motivated Apple to come up with something new. "You think there has to be a better way of doing it," said Ive.

Apple executives have said several times that Apple's products are designed for people and not for profit, a sentiment that Ive echoed in his interview. "Most things are built in an opportunistic way, to a cost, or to a schedule, they're not built to people," he said.

On the topic of design overall, Ive says that he remembers the process most fondly, not the product. He says he's been fortunate to work with extraordinary people. "If I get to sit down for 2 hours with one of the world's best silicon chip designers, I could not be happier," said Ive.


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Apple Design Chief Jony Ive to Speak at TechFest 2017 in October

Apple design chief Jony Ive is one of the planned speakers at TechFest 2017, hosted by The New Yorker. Set to take place on October 6 from 8:45 a.m. to 6:30 p.m, the event will be held in New York City.

Ive will talk about "designing the future," according to The New Yorker. No additional information has been provided on what topics Ive will cover, but with the launch of the iPhone X approaching, it could come up during the discussion.


Other speakers at TechFest include Hyperloop One co-founder Josh Giegel, author Van Jones, Human Rights Foundation chairman Garry Kasparov, Snap chairman Michael Lynton, and M.I.T. computer science and AI lab director Daniela Rus, among others.

Tickets for The New Yorker's TechFest are priced at $1,500.

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Jony Ive Talks Apple Park, Scoffs at Claim of New Campus Contributing to Local Tree Shortage

The Wall Street Journal has shared a lengthy interview with Apple design chief Jony Ive about Apple Park, the company's new headquarters in Cupertino, California, revealing a few new anecdotes about the all-new campus and the exhaustive architectural process that has went into constructing it.


Ive, for instance, reportedly scoffed at a recent article claiming Apple Park has contributed to a tree shortage in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Ive takes offense at the idea that he hasn’t already thought of every detail during the years of planning Apple Park. He scoffs at an article claiming that Apple contributed to a tree shortage in the Bay Area by buying up so many plants for the campus, “as if we’d got to the end of our project and we thought, Oh, we’d better plant some trees.” Apple began working with an arborist years ago to source trees, including varieties that once made up the bountiful orchards of Silicon Valley; more than 9,000, many of them drought-resistant, will have been planted by the time the campus is finished.
The report also mentions that Ive's design team will be among the last to move into the new headquarters this fall. Employees began moving over from Apple's existing Infinite Loop campus in April, and when the transition is completed, the spaceship-like campus will reportedly house some 12,000 workers.

Apple Park's fourth floor is where the company's executives will be situated, including Ive's design studio, along with the Apple Watch team and part of the group working on Siri, according to the report. Apple's Mac and iPad divisions will be interspersed with software teams on the middle levels, it adds.

Apple Park has open workspaces with desks that can be raised to standing level at the push of a button (Image: WSJ)

Apple Park's main cafeteria, which will reportedly serve some 14,000 lunches a day, is a four-level atrium with massive 440,000-pound glass doors. Apple employees have to pay for food, but at a somewhat subsidized rate, the report said. For perspective, some tech companies like Google offer entirely free meals.

Outside, the green space within Apple Park's inner circle will play host to Apple's iconic "beer bashes" on Friday afternoons, which often include featured performances. Here, more than 9,000 trees, many of them drought-resistant, will supposedly have been planted by the time the campus is finished.

Some of the trees will be regularly harvested to provide fruit for the campus kitchen, according to the report.

The Wall Street Journal's complete interview is a worthwhile read for those interested in learning more about Apple Park. A handful of drone operators have also been filming monthly videos that provide a closer look at the new headquarters and its surrounding facilities throughout the construction phase.


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Apple Design Chief Jony Ive Appointed Chancellor of London’s Royal College of Art

Chief Apple designer Jony Ive has been appointed chancellor of London's Royal College of Art (RCA), it was announced on Thursday. Ive is set to take up the role in July and will replace British engineer Sir James Dyson, who has been provost of RCA since 2011.

"I am thrilled to formalise my relationship with the RCA, given the profound influence the college has had on so many of the artists and designers that I admire," Ive said in a statement.

"Our design team includes many RCA alumni, who embody the fundamental values of the college. I look forward to advising both the college and students, hoping that my experience proves useful in their work."
In his unpaid five-year term as head of the college, Ive will preside over meetings and help to govern RCA, which in 2017 was ranked the world's best institution for art and design for the third year in a row by QS University World Rankings.

"We are delighted to welcome Sir Jony Ive as our new chancellor," said Paul Thompson, RCA's rector. "It is a great honor to be joined by the world's leading designer of his generation, who has produced consistently innovative and commercially successful technology and design."

The designer of the iMac, iPod, and iPhone received an honorary doctorate from the RCA in 2009. Ive also holds honorary doctorates from Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and has received several other accolades from leading British institutions.

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Jony Ive Said to Be ‘As Connected to Product Design as Ever’ Following Speculation About His Role

jony_iveOver the last few days, speculation has begun brewing over the potential winding down of Jony Ive's career at Apple, where he works as the company's chief design officer.

During an episode of "The Talk Show" podcast posted last Friday, John Gruber mentioned that he had recently heard Ive has been "checked out or not as directly involved with product design" at Apple, and instead focused on architecture projects for its campuses and retail locations.

Earlier this week, a couple of websites began sharing Gruber's words in stories angled with Ive's lessening involvement at Apple, backed up by the recent release of "Designed by Apple in California," which many look at as the designer's swan song within the company.

Rumors of Ive being "on his way out" of Apple have existed for a while, however, going back to his promotion to chief design officer last year. The position was described as allowing Ive to focus less on management and more on design, or as Gruber said, "the skeptic’s take is that this new arrangement allows Ive to be less involved, period."

Following all of this, Gruber yesterday posted a new blog to clear up his original statement. He reiterated on the second and third-hand sources speaking of Ive's status in the company, stating that no one has directly mentioned Ive has stopped overseeing Apple's day-to-day product design, but what he's heard is from sources who "think" he has. After addressing the nuance he meant to convey during his podcast, Gruber admitted that he's in fact heard from "well-placed sources within Apple" that Ive is as devoted and involved as ever.
Importantly, I’ve also heard from well-placed sources within Apple that there is nothing to this — that while Ive is devoting much of his time and attention to architecture recently (both for the new campus and Apple retail), every aspect of every new product remains as much under his watchful eye as ever. That his chief design officer title isn’t the least bit ceremonial, and instead is an accurate representation of his increased authority.

When I first started seeing these “Gruber thinks Jony Ive is on his way out” stories, I was appalled. It felt like a punch to the gut, because it wasn’t what I meant to convey, and I realize how influential my word is in such regards. But perhaps it was worth it. It shook a few well-placed little birdies out of the tree, all of whom emphasized that Jony Ive is as connected to product design as ever.
Gruber ultimately bet that Ive is "not going anywhere," because the arguments that state the designer is leaving Apple must also argue that he is giving up being a designer altogether, and "that doesn't sound right" to him. Addressing the recently released design book -- which covers all of Ive's history with Apple -- Gruber also mentioned that while it could be construed as a goodbye to Apple, "it feels to me like Ive's heartfelt goodbye to his best friend and colleague, five years gone. I don't think Jony Ive is going anywhere."

Check out the full blog post on Daring Fireball.

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