Jonathan Ive has made quite a name for himself over the past few years. And for good reason too. Apple’s SVP of industrial design is largely responsible for creating the look and feel of several popular products, including the iPod and the iPhone.

The London-born designer has a reputation for being fairly quiet, and rarely does media interviews. So you can imagine our surprise when we found out that Mr. Ive recently opened up to the London Evening Standard about a broad range of topics…

Ive talks about everything from his reaction to receiving a Knighthood from the Queen of England, to what makes design so different at Apple. Here are a few of the questions and answers we found most interesting:

“Q: What makes a great designer? A: It is so important to be light on your feet, inquisitive and interested in being wrong. You have that wonderful fascination with the what if questions, but you also need absolute focus and a keen insight in the the context and what is important – that is really terribly important. It’s about contradictions you have to navigate.”

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.

Q: What are the biggest challenges in constantly innovating? A: For as long as we’ve been doing this, I am still surprised how difficult it is to do this, but you know exactly when you’re there – it can be the smallest shift, and suddenly transforms the object, without any contrivance. Some of the problem solving in the iPad is really quite remarkable, there is this danger you want to communicate this to people. I think that is a fantastic irony, how oblivious people are to the acrobatics we’ve performed to solve a problem – but that’s our job, and I think people know there is tremendous care behind the finished product.”

Perhaps even more interesting is how Jony Ive explains the differences between Apple and its competition. He says that while other manufacturers strive to create something different or new — something marketable, Apple strives to make something that they love. So they know that other people will love it too.

Ive also reiterates a point Steve Jobs made a few years back that Apple doesn’t use focus groups for its products. “It’s unfair to ask people who don’t have a sense of the opportunities of tomorrow from the context of today to design.”

The entire interview is really worth a read if you have the time. It proves how intelligent Ive is and how masterful he has become at his craft. It also helps shine some light on why Apple’s products look and feel the way they do.


  • Absolutely love Jonathan Ive, I completed an analysis of him during my University Major, Brilliant asset to Apple.

  • Anonymous

    The thing I love about Android is that when you have a phone running it you actually feel like it’s yours, you can change almost anything without having to root it or in the iPhone’s case, jailbreak and install a dozen tweaks, BUT, the reason I love Apple’s products is the design. I’m one of the few people that is less concerned with the power and quad core bullshlacker and more concerned with how nice it is to look at. It isn’t about what other people think, I couldn’t care less about anyone else but I need to love the way my phone looks and feels to me otherwise I won’t be happy, no matter what specs it has under the hood.

    Hopefully the next iPhone doesn’t have glass on both sides and is in the mould of the iPod Touch or 1 of the concepts we have seen by that Jean something guy lol but whatever it turns out to look like I am pretty sure it will be very pleasing on the eyes !!

    • Anonymous

      Jan Michael Kart? 😛

      No, his concepts would be useful in a perfect world, where Apple gives a damn about consumer’s demands, and where they give such talented people a goddamn chance to shine.

      • Anonymous

        Might be him ye, sounds familiar lol .. I know it would be nice but either way they don’t do such a bad job of designing themselves, whether that is on their own or by “borrowing” other people’s concepts, who knows.

    • Dan

      I agree. It’s one of the reasons I like Apple. There’s a feel to it that you simply don’t get with other products, they way they are designed. It really sets em apart.

  • Anonymous

    I would like to see myself one year ago, when I thought the iPhone was all I needed, unlike now. I feel like I’m getting tired of Apple (iPhones), and I didn’t think I would (at least not for a long time). It’s just that Apple’s getting more and more stuck-up with time, and I fukin hate it. Maybe I’m just rambling, but seriously, whatever happened to the Apple that tried to actually PLEASE it’s customers?

    • He passed away a few months ago, that’s what happened to the Apple that tried to please it’s customers. Steve was a person from what I’ve read and learned about him on the internet and news that wanted to please the masses with something new and innovative. Tim Cook just doesn’t strike me like that type of person. He sells 20k+ shares of his stock the other day for an 11 million dollar payout, days after he announces the “New iPad”. I’ve been very disappointed with Apple’s last two offerings…iPhone 4S and “The New iPad”. Come on?

      I really IMHO think that they should have out done everyone like they used to…put an A6 chip in, put in 2 gigs of RAM, bump the storage to 128gb, make the “New iPad” way ahead of all the other tablets out there. I personally feel that the only thing they did was give it a marginal speed bump and a huge leap in the screen resolution. Nothing from that presentation made me say WOAH!! Screen will be amazing yes but the guts are just marginal increases so they can stay just ahead of the tablet market. Which they will do.

      Just was kinda BLAH. I compared what I do on my current iPad 2 with what I will do on my iPad 3 and frankly it will look better on the iPad 3 and run a bit faster as well. But really nothing that’s going to make me at this time right now go out and drop $600 – $800 dollars.

      I hope the new iPhone really blows everyone out of the water cause if it’s another one of these marginal tiny bumps I’ll be disappointed.

      • Anonymous

        I tend to express my thoughts that Apple died along with Steve Jobs, but some fanboys seem to get offended by that.

  • Shouldn’t you say Sir Jonathan Ives?