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Jony Ive on design, copying, and Apple's future

Jony Ive on design, copying, and Apple's future

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Apple's senior vice president of design Jony Ive has given an extensive interview to the UK paper The Sunday Times. The interview, which is available online to Times subscribers, covers his design philosophies, his close relationship with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, and his expectations for the future of the company.

"We’re surrounded by anonymous, poorly made objects."

"We’re surrounded by anonymous, poorly made objects," says Ive. "It’s tempting to think it’s because the people who use them don’t care — just like the people who make them. But what we’ve shown is that people do care. It’s not just about aesthetics. They care about things that are thoughtfully conceived and well made." Ive believes Apple's success proves his theory. "We make and sell a very, very large number of (hopefully) beautiful, well-made things. Our success is a victory for purity, integrity — for giving a damn."

Asked about how he feels about companies copying Apple's — and by association his — designs, Ive sharply replied "It’s theft ... what’s copied isn’t just a design, it’s thousands and thousands of hours of struggle. It’s only when you’ve achieved what you set out to do that you can say, ‘This was worth pursuing.’ It takes years of investment, years of pain."

Ive, who has worked at Apple for over two decades, recounts memories of Steve Jobs, including one about traveling with Jobs that he shared during a touching eulogy in 2011. "We’d get to the hotel where we were going, we’d check in and I’d go up to my room. I’d leave my bags by the door. I wouldn’t unpack. I’d go and sit on the bed and wait for the inevitable call from Steve: ‘Hey Jony, this hotel sucks. Let’s go.'"

"A remarkable number of products will be developed."

When asked if Apple has lost its ability to redefine product industries with products like the iPhone and iPad, Ive disagrees, but remains typically cryptic about what the company has in the pipeline. "We are at the beginning of a remarkable time, when a remarkable number of products will be developed. When you think about technology and what it has enabled us to do so far, and what it will enable us to do in future, we’re not even close to any kind of limit. It’s still so, so new."

Update: A version of the article is also available free-of-charge at Time.