When Jony Ive sees designs from other companies that closely mimic Apple's, he isn't flattered. Apple's head of design told the audience at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit today that copying makes him angry. In response to a question about Xiaomi's highly Apple-like designs, Ive said his feelings were "a bit harsh." "I don't see it as flattery," he says, noting that he was speaking about the issue generally and not about Xiaomi specifically. "I actually see it as theft." Xiaomi, for its part, has denied being an Apple copycat. But the perception has stuck.
Ive said seeing knockoff designs made him think of the lengthy development cycle that went into producing the originals. "When you're doing something for the first time, for example with the phone, and you don't know it's going to work, and you spend seven or eight years working on something, and then it's copied — I have to be honest, the first thing I think isn't 'ooh, that was flattering.'" He concluded on a sarcastic note. "All those weekends I could have had at home with my lovely family but didn't, but the flattery made up for it."