Charlie Rose has re-interviewed a senior Apple executive. This time, it’s the turn of Apple’s chief designer, Jony Ive, almost three months after Tim Cook did it on 60 Minutes. In this interesting interview , a wide variety of topics are covered that offer us more detail about the innovation and design process at Apple.
These phrases spoken at the beginning of the interview hold great meaning for Jony Ive and Apple. To show that his company puts the product ahead of profit, Ive goes back to when Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy :
Ive continues to talk about how Jobs’ return was the one that reoriented the company to its origins. Dealing with problems with a different attitude from the way they had been handled until then, led to one of the most spectacular corporate returns in US corporate history.
“The day Steve came back, we started working on the iMac”
It’s well known how close Steve Jobs and Jony Ive were. But thanks to this interview we have been able to learn more details. Ive didn’t know Jobs before he joined Apple , as he was hired by one of the CEOs who ran Apple in the 80s and 90s. Ive does recognise that he had always been impressed by the care with which Apple products were made.
The design department was full of product models that never left that phase
Once back in the CEO position, Jobs went to the design studio. What he saw there were a lot of products that never left the modeling phase to become products to be marketed. He was interested but also told Jony Ive that he had been tremendously ineffective in not getting past the modeling phase.
That same day, they retired to a room and began work on the original iMac . The product that would get Apple out of the way to the drain it had gone down and give them enough room to think about their next success: the iPod.
“You’re afraid to tell the truth”
“Our duty is to the product and the end user, not to ourselves.
Jony Ive also commented on an episode where they were reviewing a design with Steve Jobs and his team. At one point, Jobs gave one of his “surgical precision reviews” to what the chief designer asked him if there wasn’t a softer way of saying things . Ive claims that Apple’s CEO replied:
For the design process at Apple there is no room for the personal feelings of team members. A constant critique of the work is needed, in which the product and its ways of solving problems are questioned . For Apple, the priority is the product and there is no room for personal feelings.
Reason is an obstacle to innovation
Tim Cook y Jony Ive hablan sobre el eterno romance entre Apple y el mundo de la moda.
In a clear reference to Apple’s latest controversial decisions on new products such as the 2015 MacBook, Jony Ive defended how during the design process they have ignored the opinion of their own experts . If they had followed the advice of people outside of product design, they would not have been able to break down the barriers that restrict what a computer can become.
If Apple had listened to the experts, we wouldn’t have seen products like the iPod, iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch
It’s a philosophy we also see in the iPad Pro, a device with a mobile operating system and components typical of a smartphone, but which is able to redefine how we work with a computer.
If Apple’s engineers and designers had listened to reason, the iPad would never have seen the light of day . “Does not run Flash”, “Does not have a file system”, “Does not have a mouse or keyboard”. The same would have happened with the iPhone (“it doesn’t have a keyboard like my BlackBerry”) or the iPod (“where are the folders with my songs?”).
This is certainly one of those interviews that you have to save and watch again in a few years.