Jony Ive: “I would love to show you what we’re working on now, but I’d lose my job”

ive craig federighi

The USA Today has also published an interview with Apple’s design chief Jony Ive and software chief Craig Federighi. The two, along with CEO Tim Cook had earlier given an interview to Bloomberg Businessweek.

The interview between the two highlights the high-degree of collaboration Apple’s engineering and design teams have achieved after the company’s executive shakeup that involved the firing of former head of iOS Scott Forstall.

Some excerpts from the interview:

On the thought process behind the radical-new design of iOS 7:

“When we sat down last November (to work on iOS 7), we understood that people had already become comfortable with touching glass, they didn’t need physical buttons, they understood the benefits,” says Ive. “So there was an incredible liberty in not having to reference the physical world so literally. We were trying to create an environment that was less specific. It got design out of the way.”

The two add that iOS 7 was the first “post-Retina UI” with a lot of horsepower that could enable computationally expensive effects like transparency and blur. The excessive use of shadows, Federighi says, was to cover up for the limitations of the (non-Retina) displays.

On the topic of the specifications race between phone manufacturers:

“Look at the camera space, companies are chasing megapixels but the pictures often look horrible because of their tiny sensors,” says Federighi. “My family cares about taking a good picture, not a megapixel count. We carry that through to all the decisions we make about our phone. What experience is it going to deliver? Not what number will it allow us to put on a spec sheet.”

“That is exactly it,” Ive says emphatically. “It’s just easier to talk about product attributes that you can measure with a number. Focus on price, screen size, that’s easy. But there’s a more difficult path, and that’s to make better products, ones where maybe you can’t measure their value empirically.

“This is terribly important and at the heart of what we do. We care about how to design the inside of something you’ll never see, because we think it’s the right thing to do.”

Ive also conveys his excitement about Apple’s product roadmap:

Ive says this first extended exposure to Apple’s engineering side has left him with not just an appreciation for the problem-solving minds available to tackle his design visions, but also bullish on the kinds of future inventions that are possible with truly integrated and aligned hardware and software teams.

“I would love, love, love to show you what we are working on now, but I’d lose my job,” Ive says with an impish grin.

For the whole interview, head over to this USAToday link.

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