Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
54,592
16,706



Apple's senior vice president of design Jonathan Ive and industrial designer Marc Newson have collaborated on more than 40 objects, such as the one-of-a-kind Leica Rangefinder camera and the solid gold Apple EarPods, that will be auctioned at Sotheby's in New York later this year to benefit Product (RED), Bono's charity that has a long running partnership with Apple.

The duo interviewed with Vanity Fair to talk about the collaborative design process and the exceptional amount of work that went into many of the products that will be up for auction.

leica5.jpg
Despite differences in aesthetic taste, Ive and Newson work well together due to an uncompromising obsession with detail and a shared belief that design involves more than surface appearance, a point that Jony Ive has spoken about in prior interviews.
"We are both fanatical in terms of care and attention to things people don't see immediately," Ive said. "It's like finishing the back of a drawer. Nobody's going to see it, but you do it anyway. Products are a form of communication--they demonstrate your value system, what you care about."

"You discover that very few people have the level of perfection we do. It is actually very sick," Newson said. "It is neurotic."

Later, waving his hand around the Claridge's suite, Ive said, "All of us in this room see the same things, the same objects, but Marc and I see what's behind them."
Coming up with a theme and deciding what to produce took the two men more than a year and a half, with months spent contemplating what to include, tracking down rare objects, and contacting manufacturers and factories. An extensive amount of time went into each object, especially the two handmade items - a desk and the Leica camera.
"I found it a very odd and unusual thing to put this amount of love and energy into one thing, where you are only going to make one," Ive said. "But isn't it beautiful?" The camera's dollar worth is hard to estimate, since it is an art piece as much as a functioning object, but the value of the time Ive, Newson, and Leica's own engineers put into it probably totals well into six figures, and possibly seven.
The camera that Ive designed involved 947 prototype parts and 561 models. 55 Apple engineers assisted in the process, spending a collective 2,149 hours. Final assembly of the finished camera took 50 hours and more than six days.

During the interview, Ive also had a few words to say about the care and the precision involved in designing the iPhone, a set of qualities that distinguish Apple and its products from other smartphone manufacturers.
"The most important thing is that you actually care, that you do something to the very best of your ability," Ive told me. "We can't explain it in a fiscal sense, but the care that goes into the iPhone is equivalent to what goes into watches and other things that are significantly more expensive. I love the idea that the phone will be so broadly accessible."
The full Vanity Fair article, which includes further tidbits on the design histories of both Ive and Newson along with detailed information on several other products that will be up for auction, is well worth a read. The Sotheby's auction for Product (RED) will take place on November 23.

Article Link: Jony Ive and Marc Newson Discuss Design, Obsession With Perfection in New Interview
 

rhett7660

macrumors G5
Jan 9, 2008
12,745
2,719
Sunny, Southern California
The camera that Ive designed involved 947 prototype parts and 561 models. 55 Apple engineers assisted in the process, spending a collective 2,149 hours. Final assembly of the finished camera took 50 hours and more than six days.

Holy cow that is a lot of time and effort into one camera. :eek:
 

musika

macrumors 65816
Sep 2, 2010
1,285
458
New York
I still don't think it looks too great, especially compared to other Leicas. But hey, that could just be me.
 

Tankmaze

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2012
1,692
328
We are both fanatical in terms of care and attention to things people don't see immediately," Ive said. "It's like finishing the back of a drawer. Nobody's going to see it, but you do it anyway. Products are a form of communication—they demonstrate your value system, what you care about."

"You discover that very few people have the level of perfection we do. It is actually very sick," Newson said. "It is neurotic."

Later, waving his hand around the Claridge's suite, Ive said, “All of us in this room see the same things, the same objects, but Marc and I see what's behind them.

Oo man, to be in the room with these two men and just picking up their brain, and seeing the process that would be priceless.

would give my left nut for this :D

55 Apple engineers assisted in the process, spending a collective 2,149 hours.

this is like a good exercise to take their mind off from apple product and challenges them to do something different. good stuff!
 

pickaxe

macrumors 6502a
Nov 29, 2012
760
284
The person who delegated the iOS 7 icons to the print and web design department talks about perfectionism :rolleyes:
 

macUser2007

macrumors 65832
May 30, 2007
1,504
201
"All of us in this room see the same things, the same objects, but Marc and I see what's behind them."

Wow!

Methinks that Ive is starting to believe the legend of Ive, which is never a good thing.

He is obviously a good designer, but really...?
 

bretm

macrumors 68000
Apr 12, 2002
1,951
27
Damn. Very expensive. Only one. I'd put a big rubber case around that fast before you drop it.
 

nwcs

macrumors 68020
Sep 21, 2009
2,249
3,533
Tennessee
In general they are right, and I definitely respect the difficult job designers face. The problem is that they sometimes work in a vacuum. The Leica camera is pretty but it is terrible from a photographer's point of view. I would love to see them, for example, really learn what good photography is all about and come up with a truly inspired design, especially one with great ergonomics.

Phones, though, are ubiquitous and it doesn't take much to understand their function.
 

6836838

Suspended
Jul 18, 2011
1,536
1,325
That's a lot of work for something that ultimately looks like a toy! But I really hope it fetches a massive sum, which I'm sure it will.

Personally, I love iOS7! I'm really proud the British Ives has done so well!
 

The Barron

Contributor
Mar 5, 2009
707
728
Central California Coast
Ok, so....

What does Apple get out of all this time & energy from their employees?

Am I missing something here other than Bono's charity gets a huge funding boost?

Yes, this is great that we Apple products' lovers have such a dedicated twosome working to create awesome products & hopefully raise the share price back to awesome levels, but....
 

giantfan1224

macrumors 6502a
Mar 9, 2012
870
1,115
What does Apple get out of all this time & energy from their employees?

Am I missing something here other than Bono's charity gets a huge funding boost?

Yes, this is great that we Apple products' lovers have such a dedicated twosome working to create awesome products & hopefully raise the share price back to awesome levels, but....

It is very good PR for a company to be involved in charitable endeavors.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
22,833
28,904
Wow!

Methinks that Ive is starting to believe the legend of Ive, which is never a good thing.

He is obviously a good designer, but really...?

I assume he means that designers by nature look at things differently than most people do because they're probably constantly designing and re-designing things in their mind.
 

monkeybear0145

macrumors member
Sep 10, 2013
37
4
What does Apple get out of all this time & energy from their employees?

Am I missing something here other than Bono's charity gets a huge funding boost?

Yes, this is great that we Apple products' lovers have such a dedicated twosome working to create awesome products & hopefully raise the share price back to awesome levels, but....

Apple gets the knowledge that their employees are helping a good cause:D
 

Millah

macrumors 6502a
Aug 6, 2008
846
460
What does Apple get out of all this time & energy from their employees?

Am I missing something here other than Bono's charity gets a huge funding boost?

Yes, this is great that we Apple products' lovers have such a dedicated twosome working to create awesome products & hopefully raise the share price back to awesome levels, but....

If you don't let people as talented and brilliant as Ive (and Apples design team) sort of just go in the playground and let their minds wander, they tend to get bored and might want to pursue other pastures. These guys are brilliant designers, and brilliant designers dream of designing all kinds of things. Look at the range of work Marc Newson has done. Compare that to Ive, who's been dedicated entirely to consumer electronics design. I'm sure Ive looks at Newson with a little bit of envy.

So this "design exercise" is a very good way to let Ive play in the playground and stimulate his design chops a little bit, without losing him.
 

Kissaragi

macrumors 68020
Nov 16, 2006
2,340
370
I presume the tiny mesh pattern must be made on a cnc with a tiny bit and hours and hours of machine time? Or is there another simpler way to do it?
 

Ryth

macrumors 68000
Apr 21, 2011
1,591
156
The camera that Ive designed involved 947 prototype parts and 561 models. 55 Apple engineers assisted in the process, spending a collective 2,149 hours. Final assembly of the finished camera took 50 hours and more than six days.

I want people to read that statement and think...if they did this much for a one off camera for charity, imagine the prototypes, models, engineers and hours involved for an actual Apple product.

Then people can shut up about Apple charging a premium after the cost of the product.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.