After 27 years With Apples, Sir Johnny Ive decided to start something new. Codesigner, the legend of products like iPod, iMac, iPhone, MacBook and iPad, seems to have found himself in a kind of split vision recently. Keeping an eye on the past, he also looks sharply at the future, trying to gather how the former can inform the latter. Of course, as one of the most famous designers in the world working in an industry that studies his every move, his finger may be a bit on the scale.
This year RE: Wired conference, I spoke for myself with another legend, the chief content officer of Condé Nast and worldwide editorial director. Enjoy, Anna Wintur. Conversations ranged from wearable futures to calm energy and the cultivated curiosity of Steve Jobs.
It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 20 years The first iPod Was unveiled. In today’s world of 5G phones streaming music on our wireless earbuds, it’s easy to forget how disturbing that little device was for both the wider world and Apple as a company. “By that time Apple had made common computing devices,” Ive recalled in Tuesday’s discussion. “And one of the most unique things about computers was the ability to have a common purpose. And I think that’s what the iPod really started to create a lot more specific products and devices.”
From laser-aided metal to gloss-filling plastics and even the color of earbuds, much thought was given to making the iPod. There was shock and resistance to the idea of white headphones at the time, with people wondering why you might want to focus on an accessory. But that was part of Apple’s vision. It’s the only part of the device that people see when using the iPod, and those flashy white wires effectively turned every user into a walking ad for the new Apple Apple mobile sales.
Together with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Ive achieved a lofty goal: creating a design that doesn’t require a company name or logo on the front. Releasing a consumer technology product without this kind of branding was virtually unheard of at the time, but that gamble paid off. Millions of iPods were sold, and with the addition of the iTunes Music Store, the device changed the way people buy, listen and experience music.
Ive noted that the iPod was, in a very real sense, the first part of Apple’s wearable technology. Where wearables are taken, Ive thinks technology will only continue to be more personal. “There’s no doubt … that some of these products will disappear under our skin,” he told Wintur. “I can’t think of anything more personal, more specific, more distinct and more intimate than the things inside us.” He did not indicate that he was, personally, working on such a device, but one has to wonder what he might have thought.
This fall marked another big, but much more ruthless, anniversary for Ivy. Marked 5 October 10 years Since the death of his friend and close associate Steve Jobs. When Ive thought about all her time with Jobs, she remembered him less for his accomplishments and more for his values and priorities in the way he worked. “It was a taste, a celebration of surprise,” recalls Ive Jobs. “It simply came to our notice then. He was more interested in learning than in being right. “
I have come to realize over the last decade that while many people think of curiosity as something you can be born with, it is actually something that must be cultivated and requires a lot of intention. Some memories of his most productive time with Steve Jobs are when they walked together and didn’t say much, but thought close to each other. “Almost always, in my experience, the strongest ideas happen quietly and they are fragile. And they need to be cared for – with respect and dignity – so that they can be strong.”
Just two years ago, I left Apple It was asked to start an independent design firm as its Chief Design Officer From loveIncluding art designer Mark Newson. The firm is made up of a diverse group of designers, architects, mathematicians and more, and the group works with companies including Apple, Airbnb, Amazon Collective, Montclair and Ferrari. LoveFrom’s focus is not only on design for the future, but also in trying to find solutions to smarter designs. Climate change crisis.
Interestingly, the first product that Lovefrom released has its roots in the distant past. It’s a typeface called Lovefrom Serif, and it’s based on some of the work of typographer John Baskerville, who is over 200 years old. LoveForm managed to track the original steel punches used by Baskerville to return its typefaces in the 1700s. The team then scanned and recreated all the characters and now has over 7,000 different character forms and symbols in a range of different styles that it can use in modern design. I think this is a good example of his philosophy of respecting the past by looking to the future. This is an aspect that has been underscored by the differences between the steel tools, which are as physical as the design and the digital world of a screen size that is ethereal and manipulative.