Jony Ive: Just Doing Something Different Or New Is Wrong

By Sam Gibbs on at

No one can argue Apple doesn’t make cracking-looking products; whether you love it or loathe it, Apple devices have become iconic. According to Apple’s British-born Senior VP of industrial design, Sir Jonathan Ive, it’s because of a “fanatical attention to detail” and “a sincere, genuine appetite to do something that is better” not just new.

In a rare interview with the Evening Standard, Jony Ive as he’s better known, mused over why Apple’s products are, in his opinion, so well designed; the reason Apple is different from its competitors, and how a new product comes into being at Apple.

Q: What are your goals when setting out to build a new product?

A: Our goals are very simple — to design and make better products. If we can’t make something that is better, we won’t do it.

Surely that’s what every company sets out to do when trying to design the next hot ticket? I would have thought it would be foolish to not attempt that, unless you’re making something cut-price of course, but apparently not:

Q: Why has Apple’s competition struggled to do that?

A: Most of our competitors are interested in doing something different, or want to appear new — I think those are completely the wrong goals. A product has to be genuinely better. This requires real discipline, and that’s what drives us — a sincere, genuine appetite to do something that is better.

When you think about it, for most manufacturers the priority is to differentiate their devices from the competition, rather than genuinely setting out to make something just plain better from the off. I’m not sure Apple’s design is always better however; the antenna gate was a clear example of design sacrificing function.

At any rate, it’s very rare for any senior Apple employee to give any sort of interview like this, let alone London-born Sir Ive, so the rest of the interview is well worth a read. [Evening Standard]

Image credit: markopako from flickr