Apple SVP Of Industrial Design Jony Ive Talks Apple Design And Competition

In a very rare move by Sir Jony Ive, a recent interview with the London Evening Standard, he talks about Apple’s design process and of the course the competition.

When asked what makes design different at Apple he responded with:

We struggle with the right words to describe the design process at  Apple, but it is very much about designing and prototyping and making. When you separate those, I think the final result suffers. If something is going to be better, it is new, and if it’s new you are confronting problems and challenges you don’t have references for. To solve and address those requires a remarkable focus. There’s a sense of being inquisitive and optimistic, and you don’t see those in combination very often.

In an attempt to dig deeper, when asked how does a new product come about at Apple, Jony replied:

What I love about the creative process, and this may sound naive, but it is this idea that one day there is no idea, and no solution, but then the next day there is an idea. I find that incredibly exciting and conceptually actually remarkable.

The nature of having ideas and creativity is incredibly inspiring. There is an idea which is solitary, fragile and tentative and doesn’t have form.

What we’ve found here is that it then becomes a conversation, although remains very fragile.

When you see the most dramatic shift is when you transition from an abstract idea to a slightly more material conversation. But when you made a 3D model, however crude, you bring form to a nebulous idea, and everything changes – the entire process shifts. It galvanises and brings focus from a broad group of people. It’s a remarkable process.

And finally, when asked why Apple’s competition has struggled to build a truly ‘new’ product he kindly answered:

That’s quite unusual, most of our competitors are interesting in doing something different, or want to appear new – I think those are completely the wrong goals. A product has to be genuinely better. This requires real discipline, and that’s what drives us – a sincere, genuine appetite to do something that is better. Committees just don’t work, and it’s not about price, schedule or a bizarre marketing goal to appear different – they are corporate goals with scant regard for people who use the product.

While it is clear that Apple’s clear and concise design of all of their products are one of the reasons they are such adoring customers, it is clearly just one of many reasons. If you want to read the full interview, just click here.

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