Apple Only Started iOS 7 Work Last Nov, Plus Other Startling Quotes From a Rare Jony Ive Interview

By Gary Cutlack on at

Apple's design boss (Sir) Jony Ive has been let off the leash to help promote iOS 7 and the refreshed iPhone range, giving a super-rare long-form interview to USA Today. He speaks. He answers questions. He even laughs a bit, but that might just be the coffee.

In terms of the iOS 7 redesign that's now live and out of beta, Ive says the move away from the "Skeumorphic" look came about because we now sort of instinctively understand how phones work, so we don't need a lined paper design clue to tell our brains that something's a notebook:

"When we sat down last November (to work on iOS 7), we understood that people had already become comfortable with touching glass, they didn't need physical buttons, they understood the benefits. So there was an incredible liberty in not having to reference the physical world so literally. We were trying to create an environment that was less specific. It got design out of the way."

Pretty shocking that iOS 7 design work only began last November. You'd think it would take longer than that to apply gradients to all those pastel shades. Turning to iPhone 5S enhancements, Ive is happiest and most animated when talking about the Touch ID system, saying:

"This right here is what I love about Apple, this incredibly sophisticated powerful technology that you're almost not aware of, it absolutely blows me away."

Ive's also convinced that the company's focus on minute design detail both inside and outside their hardware comes across to users, who pick up on the small stuff almost subconsciously:

"...you've got a sense about perhaps not what we are building, but the way we approach problems as a group. About how we go back again and again until something is just right. I do sense that people can tell we really care. We make products that we think are right, that maybe you can't easily justify or evaluate, but they feel right."

And as for the post-Jobs era Apple now inhabits, Ive suggests not a lot has changed in the way the tech teams work on products:

"I've been here for years, and the way we're working is the same. Nothing's changed in terms of that. We're trying to solve problems in terms of future products that are incredibly complex, whose resolutions have no precedent."

Finally, Ive hints at where his future might lie should the world ever fall out of love with Apple and his hardware design services be no longer required, saying:

"I'd like to design cups"

We're sure Ikea would be able to find you an empty desk any time, Jony. [USA Today]