"We are at the beginning of a remarkable
time" says Apple's Jonathan Ive


Jonathan Ive portrait_dezeen

News: Apple's reclusive head designer Jonathan Ive says the technological age in still in its infancy in his first in-depth interview in almost 20 years.

"We are at the beginning of a remarkable time, when a remarkable number of products will be developed," said Ive in an interview with John Arlidge of The Sunday Times.

"When you think about technology and what it has enabled us to do so far, and what it will enable us to do in future, we're not even close to any kind of limit," he said. "It's still so, so new."

During the interview, Ive revealed more details about the design process at the core of the Apple operation.

A team of 15 to 20 designers work on new projects in an all-white open-plan studio behind opaque glass. A large wooden bench hosts new products and one end is taken up with CNC machines used to create prototypes.

"Objects and their manufacture are inseparable," he said. "You understand a product if you understand how it's made."

"I want to know what things are for, how they work, what they can or should be made of, before I even begin to think what they should look like. More and more people do. There is a resurgence of the idea of craft."

Apple devices provoke such a strong response because they represent something rare, according to Ive who describes them as not just products but "a demonstration against thoughtlessness and carelessness".

And he described the widespread referencing and copying of Apple designs as straight "theft".

"What's copied isn't just a design, it's thousands and thousands of hours of struggle," he told the paper. "It's only when you’ve achieved what you set out to do that you can say, 'This was worth pursuing.' It takes years of investment, years of pain."

Ive also spoke publicly about his relationship with Apple’s visionary leader Steve Jobs for the first time since his death.

"So much has been written about Steve, and I don't recognise my friend in much of it," said Ive.

"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!"

Read a version of the full interview on Time Magazine's website

  • Rakim

    “Theft” is a strong accusation, especially coming from someone who has “borrowed” an aesthetic language so heavily “influenced” by Dieter Rams.

  • Trent

    Dear Dezeen,

    Please get a new photo of Jonathan Ive. This one is getting old.

    • Z-dog

      I love it! He’s gazing through your soul to discover what makes you tick.

  • Romain_M

    I don’t understand his complaints on “theft”.

    Apple’s ideas were so bold they effectively changed the landscape of portable devices, it just seems natural that other companies would want to adapt to the new paradigm.

    J.Ive and Jobs changed the rules and they don’t want others to play the game ?

  • sluntchop

    Umm, that quote is essentially always true. I wonder if Braun was saying it back in the day too. The only thing I’ve ever seen Ive design himself were disgusting gradients.

  • Trent

    Much better, we even get a smile! Thanks Dezeen :)

  • NP

    Jony Ive in charge of software has set Apple back a good four years in terms of design and functionally. I know they will still make billions, but it seems OSX and iCloud are following his “flat” look which is a bad sign of things to come.

    It was change for change sake with no substance or point, unless they fire Tim Cook it will be a long time until Apple realises they made a mistake and will have to redo the entire look and feel of their products. I’m sorry but balloons, lime green buttons, blinding white backgrounds and tiny pink fonts are ridiculous. Not to mention how bad iOS7 looks on the iPad. It looks like confetti.

    People wanted split screen, a better file system and more options. Instead we got crayons to play with.