Jonathan Ive says Jobs was closest friend, and Apple “imperfect”

Apple design chief Jonathan Ive opens up in TIME interview. The big question, however, remains: in lieu of a commandeering, uncompromising Steve Jobs can Apple produce another hit?

Jonathan Ive gave a relaxed, even humble interview to TIME. But is ego what fueled the early success of Apple under Steve Jobs?
Jonathan Ive gave a relaxed, even humble interview to TIME. But is ego what fueled the early success of Apple under Steve Jobs?
Jonathan Ive gave a relaxed, even humble interview to TIME. But is ego what fueled the early success of Apple under Steve Jobs?

Apple design chief Jonathan Ive gave a rare interview. TIME was able to spend some… time with one of the tech’s world’s most enigmatic and esteemed visionaries. It was he and co-founder Steve Jobs who would go on to become the Simon/Garfunkel, John/Taupin, Page/Plant, Jagger/Richards, Lennon/McCartnet, Bono/The Edge (at least in my book) of the design world.

Since Jobs’ death in 2011, the soft-spoken Brit has slowly shed some of his mysterious ways, adorning the covers of several magazines and finally offering if even a tiny glimpse into the thought process that goes into making some of the most lustworthy, iconic consumer products in history–iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad. His PR team must be ratcheting into high gear. Yesterday, an in-depth interview also ran in the Sunday Times (UK). All required reading if you enjoy following not only the trials and tribulations of the tech industry, but also the (perhaps far more interesting) many variables that drive the penultimate in product design.

One of the most interesting aspects of the piece is Ive’s obviously differing modus operanti from that of Jobs. If the latter was combative, heels-in-the-Palo-Alto grass stubborn, then it’s Ive who was likely the one playing peace keeper–a role previously assumed by long-departed engineering wizard Steve Wozniak (Stark Insider interview with Woz). Who could imagine Jobs ever calling Apple “imperfect”?! Well, unless, of course, it was being run by Gil Amelio or John Sculley.

“Steve and I spent months and months working on a part of a product that, often, nobody would ever see, nor realize was there. It didn’t make any difference functionally. We did it because we cared, because when you realize how well you can make something, falling short, whether seen or not, feels like failure.”

The big question now, however, remains: in lieu of a commandeering, uncompromising Steve Jobs can Apple produce another hit? Can it bust open a new market that no other company has been able to see coming?

If pundits are right that big thing in 2014 could be wearables.

It’s not too bold a prospect to suggest that Apple will be the one–if wearables is even a crackable market–to make smartwatches, glasses, and other wearable devices cool. If anyone were to design something highly desirable, forward thinking to wear–not carry–it could very well be Jonathan Ive. After all, according to TIME, Jonathan Ive Designs Tomorrow.

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