Jony Ive Details Apple Design Process, iPhone 6 Design Choices in New Interview

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Apple's head of design Jony Ive today gave a live interview at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco. In the interview, which BusinessInsider attended, Ive gave some rare insight into the design process at Apple and some of the design choices the team made with the iPhone 6.

According to Ive, he has a great design team that's quite small, numbering 16 or 17 employees. During a typical day, Ive says that designers gather around tables like those in the Apple Store to draw. The team meets three or four times a week.

One of the major advantages of being part of a design team that's been together so long is that it's given them time to develop a design process. Ideas, Ive says, don't really come along until the design team has created a physical object from their drawings. "It really galvanizes and focuses our team," said Ive.

When asked whether or not he had experienced a "eureka moment" in a design meeting, Ive pointed towards the iPhone 6 and the 6 Plus, saying that there's a "special moment" when there's an object you can touch. He says he's surprised and thrilled every time he gets to see a new first model.

On the iPhone 6's rounded edges, Ive says that Apple opted to go back to rounded edges because they were necessary to make the device feel less wide. Apple made bigger-screened prototypes years before, but they were "clunky."

Ive also shared details on Steve Jobs, saying that Jobs was "the most remarkably focused person" he'd ever met in his life. "You can achieve so much when you truly focus," Ive said. "What focus means is saying no to something that with every bone in your body you think is a phenomenal idea. And you wake up thinking about it, but you say no to it because you're focusing on something else."

During audience questions, Ive gave some interesting thoughts on Xiaomi, the Chinese manufacturer that closely copies Apple's designs. Ive says what Xiaomi is doing is theft, not flattery.
There is a danger...I don't see it as flattery. I see it as theft. (Talking about copying designs in general). When you're doing something for the first time and you don't know it's going to work. I have to be honest the last thing I think is "Oh, that is flattering. All those weekends I could've been home with my family...I think it's theft and lazy. I don't think it's OK at all."
The full paraphrased text of Ive's interview, where he also shares why he chose to be an industrial designer, what he thought was well designed as a kid, how he came to work at Apple, and his thoughts on Steve Jobs, can be found over at BusinessInsider. Both TechCrunch and The Verge have shared details on the interview as well.

Article Link: Jony Ive Details Apple Design Process, iPhone 6 Design Choices in New Interview
 

jayducharme

macrumors 68040
Jun 22, 2006
3,571
3,297
The thick of it
Ive seems to be acquiring "talking points," pat responses that he gives to almost every interviewer (such as the story of the watch moving to the wrist).

What I found most interesting is Jobs' response to Ive asking if Jobs could go easier on his team. Clearly, Jobs took no prisoners, even if it was his head designer.
 

PowerBook-G5

macrumors 65816
Jul 30, 2013
1,241
1,142
The United States of America
I was hoping that we would have gotten another Jony video, they are always fun (Make sure that you read this in you Jony voice):

"And the iPhone 6 has an unapologetically ugly rear antenna band system. It took years of work from all of our best designers, our-our most critical thinkers to create this complex and amazing antenna system."
 

Dilster3k

macrumors 6502a
Jul 20, 2014
790
3,205
Bragging about design with a protruding lens, hideous antenna lines and the bending factor? Mhm.
 

malexandria

Suspended
Mar 25, 2009
971
427
iPhone 6

I think Johnny Ive is a pompous ass, but I will give the devil credit, just got my iPhone 6 (an hour ago) and I have to say it's the first iPhone that I actually really like. I still think Android Hardware is miles better - but all I wanted was a Samsung Galaxy S5 or HTC One, only with iOS on it - because I generally hate android. The iPhone 6 is a positive step in the right direction. But I think the rest of their hardware line up is going backwards - charging more and more for less functionality. I hope it eventually backfires on them. I was disappointed Beats audio wasn't included - probably a new audio chip in the S series.
 

benkirton

macrumors newbie
Oct 11, 2011
11
4
Bragging about design with a protruding lens, hideous antenna lines and the bending factor? Mhm.
Do you know what the trade-offs were for those? What would an attractive (to you) antenna design have meant for signal strength, device width, battery life etc?

What about the 2000 other design decisions that were made that you do like or don't notice?

It's a bit like the old "Messages doesn't order my message correctly on my iPhone so I'm moving to Android" argument. One compromised design piece does not a bad complete product make.
 

DoctorKrabs

macrumors 6502a
Jul 12, 2013
676
832
Bragging about design with a protruding lens, hideous antenna lines and the bending factor? Mhm.
Enough.

The iPhone 6 is 6.9mm thin, and the thinnest smartphone camera module ever made, without a lens, is 5.5mm thin.
 

vigorblade

macrumors member
Jul 6, 2008
75
8
New York, NY
He still works weekends ??

That one comment where he mentions missing weekends with his family to help produce these products really made me stop for a second. When we see super successful people and people who make enormous amounts of money, we tend to not consider their ongoing sacrifices. We see someone like Ives and we often just assume that at his level, there is no longer a need for continuous late nights and weekends working.

You just figure that they work a few hours a day and then go home to take a dip in vault of money or whatever really rich people do (Think Uncle Scrooge of Duck Tales). You know for sure they don't work weekends. The fact is when you get to the top, sometimes you have to work harder than ever before to maintain that status. I actually really admire those who continue to be driven, even at the top and don't just become totally dependent on the hard work of the young talent around them to get things done, then show up for the award ceremonies.
 

aarontsuru

macrumors regular
Jul 21, 2014
142
119
Brooklyn, NY
I like Apple, got and have had a lot of their things... but can they honestly say they haven’t "copied" other people’s designs?
 

Traverse

macrumors 604
Mar 11, 2013
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Here
Must admit, Jonny does have a good sense of design.

When the iPhone 6 was first announced I thought "Ugh, all those ugly rumors were true." However, the moment I picked one up my attitude changed. The lines aren't that bad (I like them personally), the design feels so solid and smooth, and the protruding lens, while somewhat irksome, isn't a huge deal.
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,697
4,304
That one comment where he mentions missing weekends with his family to help produce these products really made me stop for a second. When we see super successful people and people who make enormous amounts of money, we tend to not consider their ongoing sacrifices. We see someone like Ives and we often just assume that at his level, there is no longer a need for continuous late nights and weekends working.

You just figure that they work a few hours a day and then go home to take a dip in vault of money or whatever really rich people do (Think Uncle Scrooge of Duck Tales). You know for sure they don't work weekends. The fact is when you get to the top, sometimes you have to work harder than ever before to maintain that status. I actually really admire those who continue to be driven, even at the top and don't just become totally dependent on the hard work of the young talent around them to get things done, then show up for the award ceremonies.
I was just today wondering if it's worth it at all to work weekends. Looks like it might be in some cases. But it seems to cause a lot of stress.
 

d4rkc4sm

macrumors 6502
Apr 23, 2011
437
131
someone should ask him directly if he likes the protruding lens.

if he says yes, then he is a liar and a poser
 

tentales

macrumors 6502a
Dec 6, 2010
771
1,184
Do you know what the trade-offs were for those? What would an attractive (to you) antenna design have meant for signal strength, device width, battery life etc?

What about the 2000 other design decisions that were made that you do like or don't notice?

It's a bit like the old "Messages doesn't order my message correctly on my iPhone so I'm moving to Android" argument. One compromised design piece does not a bad complete product make.
No it's not, Applelogetic!
Apple had it right with the iPhone 4 thru 5S design. Sometimes is best to leave well enough alone.
How bloody thin is thin enough ? 7.6mm was fantastic! The camera wouldn't protrude, battery life would be longer and the stiffness with 90degree edges would also be better.
 

SSDGUY

macrumors 6502a
Jul 27, 2009
568
663
someone should ask him directly if he likes the protruding lens.

if he says yes, then he is a liar and a poser
Sheesh … it looks fine. My guess is he would say it was necessary, and every consideration was made to avoid it, but a lens system needs some depth to have good optics. I'd rather have a protruding lens than a thicker device overall. Slap a nice case on it and it's all good-n-flush.
 

Lennholm

macrumors 6502a
Sep 4, 2010
999
209
When asked whether or not he had experienced a "eureka moment" in a design meeting, Ive pointed towards the iPhone 6 and the 6 Plus
Reading between the lines: "That's when I realized that all the Android people were right all along".

Gotta say, I find Ive's uncharacteristic public enthusiasm for the iPhone 6(+) and Apple Watch designs, some of his least impressive designs imo, a bit troubling.

Sheesh … it looks fine. My guess is he would say it was necessary, and every consideration was made to avoid it, but a lens system needs some depth to have good optics. I'd rather have a protruding lens than a thicker device overall. Slap a nice case on it and it's all good-n-flush.
I'd rather have a thicker, non-wobbly device with a bigger battery. Are you really saying the iPhone 5S wasn't thin enough?
 

vixster1901

macrumors regular
Apr 25, 2009
180
164
I think he's a jerk.. my favorite quote of his… "The 5c is unapologetic plastic"… That's hilarious.

and I totally agree with above lennholm.
 

lk400

macrumors 6502a
Aug 26, 2012
747
215
Must admit, Jonny does have a good sense of design.

When the iPhone 6 was first announced I thought "Ugh, all those ugly rumors were true." However, the moment I picked one up my attitude changed. The lines aren't that bad (I like them personally), the design feels so solid and smooth, and the protruding lens, while somewhat irksome, isn't a huge deal.
The vast, vast majority of people wouldnt notice the "lines". Criticizing this one feature spreads through this particular website because people read it, notice it, and generally parrot it without much thought. This website is a small microcosm that is not reflective of normal people's thoughts, reactions etc.
 

Sasparilla

macrumors 65816
Jul 6, 2012
1,431
2,220
No it's not, Applelogetic!
Apple had it right with the iPhone 4 thru 5S design. Sometimes is best to leave well enough alone.
How bloody thin is thin enough ? 7.6mm was fantastic! The camera wouldn't protrude, battery life would be longer and the stiffness with 90degree edges would also be better.
Oh would you be quiet with that common sense garbage.... /s

Everything can be taken too far and often when something (like thin-ness) becomes institutionalized as a "feature" of the brand - it can become a "required" feature without doing a reality check on the need for that "feature". Doing that can give you phone's so thin you have the camera protruding even though it didn't have to be that way and would have still been a thin phone. I hope they push back on this drive for thin-ness in the future. I could see them bringing back Titanium for strength though.
 
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