- Apple’s Jony Ive gave an interview to Hodinkee, a watch magazine, about the Apple Watch, aesthetics, and design.
- He talks about his first real watch and his favourite watch design.
- He also discusses legendary designer Marc Newson, who he calls his “best friend,” and the watch experts which Apple consulted to help design the device.
Apple’s Jony Ive, the company’s chief design officer and one of its most critical executives, recently discussed the “early 2012” origins of the Apple Watch and the possibilities of where Apple is “headed” in a new interview in Hodinkee magazine.
In the interview, Ive addresses several topics for the first time or in more depth than before, including his relationship with famous designer Marc Newson, who he calls his “best friend,” the watch experts that Apple consults with, and the fact that late Apple founder Steve Jobs didn’t usually wear a watch and didn’t really talk about timepieces.
“The first discussion took place in early 2012, a few months after Steve’s passing. It caused us to take time, pausing to think about where we wanted to go, what trajectory we were on as a company, and what motivated us,” Ive said in the interview with Hodinkee founder Benjamin Clymer.
“At that point in the journey, we were all routinely carrying around incredibly powerful products, in terms of their technical ability, in our pockets. And it seemed, I think, that an obvious continuation of this path that we’ve been on for so many years was to make technology more personal and more accessible,” Ive continued.
Ive and his legendary industrial design group was the driving force behind the Apple Watch. Last fall, Apple launched the Series 3 Apple Watch, which added cellular connectivity for the first time, but still sported the same overall design that was first revealed in 2014. Estimates say Apple outsold the entire Swiss watch industry last year.
One interesting detail revealed in the Hodinkee interview was that Ive actually reached out to experts to help inform the design of the Apple Watch, including horologists, curators at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, U.K., and an astrophysicist. A full list is published in Hodinkee.
“You know, we call this (pointing at my MacBook Pro), a MacBook, but you won’t learn more about this by understanding the nature of a physical book – so we didn’t talk to librarians. With the watch, we did,” Ive said.
Those experts may have given Ive the idea for a metaphor for watches and computers that he detailed for the first time in the Hodinkee interview:
“What’s interesting is that I think there is a strong analogue to timekeeping technology here for our own products and computational devices. Think about clock towers, and how monumental but singular they are. They are mainframes. From there, clocks moved into homebound objects, but you wouldn’t have one in every room; you might have one for the whole house, just like PCs in the 1980s. Then maybe more than one. Then, time-telling migrated to the pocket. Ultimately, a clock ended up on the wrist, so there is such a curious connection with what we wanted to do, and that was a connection we were really very aware of.”
One of the outside experts Apple brought on for the project was Marc Newson, a legendary industrial designer who Apple hired in 2014, and whom Ive called his “best friend” in the interview. “You know that’s been this way for years and years, and he’s somebody who became part of our group with a very particular expertise and set of experiences,” Ive said.
Ive also talks about his first watch, an Omega Speedmaster, and the watch he admires the most, the Patek Phillippe Nautilus.
It shouldn’t be surprising that Ive gave an interview to Hodinkee. Although it’s not a household name, for fanatics who love mechanical watches and discuss the new complications in Rolexes and Omegas, its website is a must-read. Ive also likes to give interviews to aesthetically-focused, beautiful design magazines, like Wallpaper.
Last fall, Clymer, the Ive interviewer, was one of only a few authors to review the Apple Watch Series 3 Edition, the high-end model made out of ceramic. He notably tried to pair the cellular-enabled watch with a single Apple AirPod headphone.
The interview will be published in Hodinkee’s second issue of its print magazine. Other stories in the magazine include an essay from former Wired editor Scott Dadich, a city guide to Los Angeles from actor James Marsden, and a deep dive into Universal Genève chronographs. After all, it’s a magazine about watches. You can also read the interview here.
The best way to pick up the magazine is from the Hodinkee store.
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