The Sunday Times has scored a rare interview with Apple’s design guru, Jonathan Ive, managing to pick the Brit’s brain on topics like perfecting a product’s design, his late friend Steve Jobs, and the possibility of him leaving if Apple stops innovating.
Much like Jobs, Ive is known for being fanatical about perfecting a product. A good example of just how obsessed he is about a product is the iMac’s aluminum stand.
Per the interview, “[Ive] spent ‘months and months and months’ working out the exact shape of the stand of the desktop iMac computer because ‘it's very hard to design something that you almost do not see because it just seems so obvious, natural, and inevitable’,” he said.
“When he has finished a product, even one as fresh and iconic as the white headphones that came with the first iPod, he is haunted by the idea: could I have done it better? ‘It's an affliction designers are cursed with,’ Ive frowns,” reads the interview.
Ive has never been particularly fond of the press surrounding Steve Jobs, the late visionary genius who co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak in the 70s and sold the very first personal computers.
“So much has been written about Steve, and I don't recognize my friend in much of it,” Ive laments. “Yes, he had a surgically precise opinion. Yes, it could sting. Yes, he constantly questioned. ‘Is this good enough? Is this right?’ But he was so clever. His ideas were bold and magnificent. They could suck the air from the room. And when the ideas didn't come, he decided to believe we would eventually make something great. And oh, the joy of getting there!”
Also considered a genius of design and technology, Jony Ive says he wouldn’t like to work at a company that doesn’t create something truly amazing and enriching all the time. As such, he admits he’d be forced to leave Apple if innovation ever stopped at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA. But he doesn’t see it happening.
“Yes. I'd stop. I'd make things for myself, for my friends at home instead. The bar needs to be high,” he says.
He then adds, “I don't think that will happen. We are at the beginning of a remarkable time, when a remarkable number of products will be developed. When you think about technology and what it has enabled us to do so far, and what it will enable us to do in the future, we're not even close to any kind of limit. It's still so, so new.”