Jonathan Ive speaks on the brilliance of Apple design [Video]

Mon, Nov 9, 2009

Featured, News

Objectified is a 2009 documentary about Industrial Design, and Apple design guru Jonathan Ive was naturally a perfect choice to be interviewed for the film.  Ive, of course, has behind some of Apple’s most memorable designs, such as the iPod, the first iMac and its subsequent updates, and the iPhone as well.  Below, check out Ive’s contribution to Objectified where he discusses the impetus behind what he feels signifies good design.

Solid stuff, and one of the more telling quotes, we feel, is when Ive discusses the design of the iPhone:

a lot of what we seem to be doing in a product like that is actually getting design out of the way, and I think when forms develop with that sort of reason, and they’re not just arbitrary shapes, it feels almost inevitable, it feels almost un-designed, it feels almost like “of course it’s that way, I mean, why wouldn’t it be any other way?”

Indeed, when you look at an iPhone, the design seems so blatantly obvious that it’s sometimes hard to appreciate Apple’s design prowess until you hold and use devices from other manufacturers.  There’s a quote from the under-appreciated TV Show Futurama that aptly describes Apple design – “When you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.”

And lastly, make sure to get a good look at the Apple design facility wherein Ive is interviewed – it’s probably the most extensive ‘tour’ of the place you’ll ever see.


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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Jared Says:

    Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

    If Apple weren’t building and selling amazingly useful and usable devices, I’d almost accuse their design team of being too philosophical, but instead they deserve credit for being the world’s best at putting their philosophy into practice, sweating the details, and working their tails off and iterating to make the design so careful and considered as to feel inevitable and obvious. Which is a great place to be, because manufacturing the parts for such a device may be totally non-obvious (as Ive points out with the fixtures that hold the part as it is machined). This is not something the user (or competitors) will ever see directly. There is so much depth to the design of their products that other companies just completely miss and thus cannot copy because they do not see that richness in the final product (e.g. the process to create the lightest, most sturdy designs). As Ive says, the goal of the final product is for it feel “undesigned” but that’s just empty words until you actually attempt to build the thing. Other hardware makers (laptop makers for example) don’t understand just how many years and top notch designers it takes to get to where Apple is, even just in enclosure design. Then once you are there, how do you get the motherboards into that thin enclosure? How do you get the fit and finish so tight but still manufacture it in by the millions of units? How do you deal with heat and battery life issues? Apple hits home runs in every category.

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