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Jony Ive talks design in rare interview

The esteemed British design visionary Jony Ive has spoken with the Financial Times about his defining design principles, his relationship with the late Steve Jobs and of course what to expect from the upcoming Apple Watch.

Ive, Senior Vice President of Design at Apple, has spearheaded the design of all major Apple products since first collaborating with Steve Jobs on the renowned multi-colored iMacs in the mid-nineties. He is generally considered one of the most influential designers in the world today and is responsible for Apple’s trademark slick output and slavish attention to detail. So when he talks, people listen.

In a compelling interview, Jony – or Sir Jonathan Ive, if you’re feeling formal – explains his lifelong fascination with the design process and how his team are ‘brutally self-critical’ in the pursuit of design perfection. He claims to be more concerned with the quality of each product than its commercial success, and talks candidly about his friendship with Jobs and the ideals – and lunches – they shared.

Ive also goes into considerable detail about how Apple approached making a watch, how the interface is based around a sense of ‘almost being careless and just glancing’, and how there was ‘a certain inevitability’ to product’s creation. This insight into the thought processes behind the design will surely fuel the fires of expectation ahead of Monday’s ‘Spring Forward’ keynote event.

One last interesting tidbit is Ive’s stance on the oft-condemned iPhone battery life. He argues that people use their iPhones so much – and therefore deplete the battery quicker – because they are so light and thin, and that ‘with a bigger battery it would be heavier, more cumbersome, ‘less compelling’. Wonder how many iPhone users would agree?

If you’re interested in design, or Apple, or both, the full interview is well worth your time.

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