Late last year, Tim Cook put Jony Ive in the position of heading up Apple’s Human Interface (HI) design across the company’s products. Known for his work on Apple hardware, the British designer has worked his way up the ranks at Apple. He was highly regarded by Steve Jobs, who called him his “spiritual partner at Apple” in Walter Isaacson’s biography of the Apple co-founder. While his hardware products speak for themselves, a spate of recent interviews gives us some insight into the design philosophy that drives this Apple executive.
We know that Ive, like Tim Cook, is focused on making products the best they can be. In a May 2012 interview with the Telegraph, Ive said, “We’re keenly aware that when we develop and make something and bring it to market that it really does speak to a set of values. And what preoccupies us is that sense of care, and what our products will not speak to is a schedule, what our products will not speak to is trying to respond to some corporate or competitive agenda. We’re very genuinely designing the best products that we can for people.”
Ive also looks at products in their own right, and doesn’t design a new model as a copycat or a clone. In this iPad mini video, he explains that “there is inherent loss in just reducing a product in size” and notes that Apple looked at the mini and “took the time to go back to the beginning and design a product that was a concentration of, not a reduction of, the original.”
Ive also spoke recently on Blue Peter about how Apple names its products and suggested that Apple is as careful with names as it is with outward design. Ive spoke about the term lunchbox and noted that Apple wouldn’t use that name as it conjures up the image of a cube. He said “we’re quite careful with the words we use, because those can determine the path that you go down.”
So what Ive influences will we see in the next version of iOS and OS X now that he is in charge of HI design? I honestly don’t know, but I will say this — if Ive puts his mark on it, it will be outstanding.