Are You An Old Git? And Other Questions For Apple’s Jony Ive

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The UK’s Sunday Times has a long interview with Apple’s head designer Jony Ive in its Sunday Magazine (warning: paywall).

It claims to be the first in-depth interview Ive has given in twenty years at Apple, but breaks absolutely no ground whatsoever. Irritatingly, I can see the fingerprints of my Jony Ive biography all over the piece, but there’s no mention of the book.

The strangest thing is that Ive recycles the same quotes he’s used in the past. Believe me, I’ve read them all. He says that Steve Jobs’ ideas sometimes sucked the air from the room (previously uttered in his tribute to Jobs) and that he wanted to be a car designer, but other students made weird “vroom vroom” noises while they worked (from an Observer interview). There’s absolutely nothing new in the entire piece including the obligatory hint of an amazing new product, which of course, he can’t talk about.

The best part is 10 random-ish questions lobbed at him, which are:

Does anyone call you Sir Jonathan?
No

What do you feel when people say you are the “greatest living Englishman?”
That’s absurd.

You’re 47. In such a youthful industry, do you worry you are an old git?
Perhaps I should.

You’ve been called a minimalist. Are you?
It doesn’t describe what we do or our design goals and it’s certainly not minimalistic to get to where we are. It takes a ridiculously long time to create something pure, simple and intuitive, with which you have an emotional connection.

What have you made you’re most proud of?
Always the last thing we’ve made.

What’s so great about the color white?
There’s an odd paradox with white. It’s seen as sort of a non-color, as entirely neutral, insipid even. But three’s real gravity, significance and purity to it. Plus, to actually make products and objects in white is a very hard thing to do. It’s an extraordinarily unforgiving finish.

What would you like to make that you’ve not made yet?
What we’re working on right now, which I can’t tell you about.

Thanks to you, do we spend too much time looking at screens?
I do. You can choose not to.

If you could step away from Apple for a year and do anything you want, what would you do?
Make things for me and my friends. My father was a fantastic craftsman, a great silversmith. So I’d like to make some things in silver.

What are you really bad at?
Mathematics.

Here’s the whole piece. Click the images to see them full size. Thanks Alex!

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  • Dan kamp

    Really… Photographs of a magazine for us to read. Sometimes I think you have a bunch of idiots running Cultofmac.

  • Jack Holland

    When someone else writes about a person, place or subject that you have researched and written about, it often feels like their writing has ‘your fingerprints all over it’. It’s a common sensation: when you’ve given the subject a lot of thought you become very proprietorial about your ideas. Chances are the journo in question has never read your book, but that you both came to the same conclusions – especial if, as you say, Ive is spouting the same comments.

    The ‘10 random-ish questions’ section is known as a Proust Questionnaire in the biz.

    I’m no expert on copyright laws, but I don’t think you can simply snap and print other people’s writing and post it on your website. This goes beyond ‘fair use’, and if someone did this with your book, then your fingerprints really *would* be all over it – and I don’t think you’d be happy – especially if, as here, the author doesn’t even get a credit.

    • Dan kamp

      You can’t just take a photo, it is most definitely a violation of the copyright laws. They are ripping off the writer and the publisher. The folks at Cultofmac are too use to just linking to others work and think this is OK too. They probably copied all of their papers in college if they even went.

      • jΔy

        STFU!!! You don’t have to read anything they post if you feel that way. I’d love to read your sh#tty tech blog but you’re probably much worse than the ones you complain about. Save us with all your f#cking complaining you piece of sh#t!

      • Dan kamp

        My how articulate you are. Do you steal people’s work too? I would guess that you had teachers that spanked you for copying peoples work. I guess you also don’t have to read comments.

      • jΔy

        Oh Dan you’re such a riot!

    • http://www.cultofmac.com Leander Kahney

      Jack Holland

      It wasn’t just me.

      Ars Technica’s John Siracusa just tweeted this:

      @drwave That article reads to me like someone read the @lkahney:disqus book and also talked to Ive for 5 mins and didn’t ask anything interesting.

      https://twitter.com/siracusa/status/445649510245871617

      • Jack Holland

        I haven’t read your book yet Leander, but did you interview Ive ? How forthcoming was he ? Is the ST author repeating your material verbatim ?

        For the rest, I agree with Grant Bunyan below. I really don’t think CoM should post other writer’s material without permission and payment. Maybe this has been done, but since you don’t give the author a plug I’m dubious. At best it’s unprofessional and discourteous; at worst it’s going to cost CoM a lot of money in legal fees.

        As a journalist you’ll realise that writers have to make money from their work and that’s why there are copyright rules to protect intellectual content.

        I’m a great fan of CoM and visit daily, but reprinting other writer’s work without credit and (as far as we know) without payment is really shoddy. Pull this piece before News International’s lawyers wake up.

  • Grant Bunyan

    Guys this is really wrong. You can’t just post photos of some else’s article. It’s just the same as walking in to a cinema with a camcorder and sharing the recording. Whether you think there’s plagiarism or not… you’ve responded in a totally unethical and illegal manner. I’d had thought an established pack like you guys would have appreciated this by now.

  • Grant Bunyan

    Also,why the hell are you knocking Jony Ive, he can’t help it if he’s been asked the same set of questions. Why should the answers be any different? I’m pretty surprised that someone who’s had 4 books published could make such statements, especially when the guy’s work probably makes you fair $$$s in ad revenue from all your visitors.

About the author

Leander KahneyLeander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney and Facebook.

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