Creating the Apple Watch, Apple’s first new category device since Steve Jobs’s passing in late 2011, posed more challenges than iPhone development due to social expectations around wearing a pocket computer on one’s wrist, Apple’s design tzar Jony Ive told The Wall Street Journal on Friday.
Ive and his team are largely responsible for the look and feel of Apple’s hardware over the past two decades, and since 2011 have been tasked with stewardship of the software and all design across the company.
Here are a few soundbites from the interview.
“Even though Apple Watch does so many things, there are cultural, historical implications and expectations,” Ive said. “That’s why it’s been such a difficult and humbling program.”
The British industrial designer, who is now 47 years old, believes with “every bone in his body” that the Apple Watch will help establish a new category of computing device because the wrist is an ideal place for “lightweight interactions” and “casual glancing”.
“As soon as something is worn, we have expectations of choice,” said Ive, adding that only “in prison” do people all wear the same thing.
According to Walter Isaacson’s bio book on Steve Jobs, Apple’s late co-founder ensured that no one could touch Ive at the company. Tim Cook, the new CEO, has given Ive more responsibilities than ever after appointing him senior vice president of all design across the company, a role that includes the look and feel of both hardware and software.
Following the major iOS 7 revamp last year and the redesign of OS X in the form of Yosemite, Cook put faith in Ive and his team to create the Apple smartwatch, the company’s first truly new product since the iPad.
In the past year or so, the Apple CEO expressed his confidence and trust in Ive on several occasions, most recently during the Apple Watch unveiling in September 2014 when he credited Ive and his team with an “incredible” work on the project.
The Apple Watch starts at $349 and goes on sale in early 2015.