Jony Ive, Apple’s boss of all design across the company, and hardware engineering boss Dan Riccio sat down with TIME on Thursday to defend the controversial decision to ditch the familiar Home button in favor of touchscreen gestures on iPhone X.
On ditching the Home button:
There were these extraordinarily complex problems that needed to be solved. It’s not necessarily the most comfortable place to be in when you believe there’s a better way. Because that means moving on from something that has felt successful.
On iPhone X design:
There are certain things that you’re very conscious of as a user and other things that you’re aware of but subconsciously. Perhaps the subconscious example is just the nature of the way the display is integrated into the stainless steel and glass body.
“This phone really sets us up well for the next 10 years,” Riccio added.
Ive and Riccio say there’s a “clear vision” for what’s next from Apple. Or as Ive puts it, “This is just in some sense a completion of a chapter.”
On how Apple approaches solving a given problem:
Paying attention to what’s happened historically actually helps give you some faith that you are going to find a solution. Faith isn’t a surrogate for engineering competence, but it can certainly help fuel the belief that you’re going to find a solution. And that’s important.
On nixing the 3.5mm headphone jack:
I actually think the path of holding onto features that have been effective, the path of holding onto those whatever the cost, is a path that leads to failure. And in the short term, it’s the path the feels less risky and it’s the path that feels more secure.
Commenting on the iPhone X price, Ive said, “As you would expect, there’s a financial consequence to integrating the sheer amount of processing power into such a small device.”
“Our goal is always to provide what we think is the best product possible, not always the lowest cost,” Riccio added.
He’s now more in charge of blue sky thinking and less of day to day management of the design team, a task he happily entrusts to Apple’s Vice President of Industrial Design Richard Howarth and Vice President of User Interface Design Alan Dye.
It was speculated that Ive is no longer directly involved with iPhone and Mac product design, but he’s still in charge of the look and feel of everything Apple produces, gadgets included.
Last week, Ive told Japanese design magazine Casa Brutus that it took Apple more than two years to develop iPhone X. Features like Face ID and the new TrueDepth camera system have made iPhone X the most difficult project the company has undertaken, Ive revealed.
TIME today published its annual unranked list of the top 25 inventions of the year and iPhone X has made the list, as did other products like the Halo Top low-calorie ice cream, the Jibo robot, 3D-printed Adidas shoes, a heated mug that keeps coffee warm, a multi-directional elevator, Tesla’s Model 3, DJI’s Spark drone and fidget spinners.