While some may see Xiaomi, Samsung, and other players in the smartphone race as iPhone copycats, Jony Ive sees it as downright “theft.” That was the clear takeaway from Ive’s interview at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit today.
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Apple’s new design guru Marc Newson has barely been at Apple for nearly a month now, but that’s not going to stop him from also working on his own designs – like a fabulous new way to pour yourself a draft beer at home.
Marc unveiled his revolutionary new beer machine today in partnership with Heineken, but in an interview with Deezer, the famed designer also talked publicly for the first time about his new role at Apple, stating the position will only be part-time and he’ll still be based out of the U.K.
What Marc’s actually doing at Apple though is still a mystery. Apple’s PR handler wouldn’t let him comment on whether he had a hand in the Apple Watch’s design, and speculation on what he’s working on with Jony was quickly shot down. Whatever Apple does throw at him though, Marc said he can handle it, because “there isn’t really a big difference between designing a watch or a car or even a machine that pours beer.”
Check out the full interview transcript below:
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Apple’s reveal on Tuesday of their first smartwatch was that it was square.
Many of us were expecting something that was at least curved, if not round: a more traditional watch form factor that represented an evolutionary step away from the square displays Apple has embraced since the original Apple I.
Of course, as we all know, the Apple Watch is boxy, at least for now. But as these renders show, the Apple Watch design and UI would work just as well, if not more so, in a round casing, with a round display.
The Apple Watch looks far more elegant than the rectangular smartwatches we’ve already seen from competing companies, but we couldn’t help noticing that some of its straps look a little… familiar.
In fact, several of Apple’s new strap designs look almost identical to straps from luxury watchmaker Ikepod, which not so coincidentally used to be run by Marc Newson, an Australian industrial designer who recently became a part of Apple’s design team.
Who, exactly, is Marc Newson, the rock-star designer just hired by Apple?
We know he pals around with Apple design chief Jony Ive and that he's created some pretty amazing watches (and hourglasses) for Ikepod. And that the design world is buzzing about what he might do with the iWatch and other futuristic Apple devices.
Born in Sydney, Australia, in 1963, Newson spent much of his time abroad in Europe and Asia. As a child, he said he was "entranced by the space-age utopia of The Jetsons, the early 1960s television cartoon about a family who zipped around in personal aerocars."
Want to know more? Of course you do. Here's a telling look at some of the most impressive designs in Newson's stunning portfolio.
While studying sculpture and jewelry at the Sydney College of the Arts, Newson used a grant from the Australian Crafts Council to fashion the Lockheed Lounge, which rocketed him to worldwide attention in 1986.
This "fluid metallic form, like a giant blob of mercury" was based "loosely, very loosely" on the 18th-century chaise longues he had seen in French paintings. To build it, he spent "several miserable months" hammering hundreds of aluminum panels onto a handmade fiberglass mold. The riveted recliner has set three consecutive world records at auction, last changing hands for $1.6 million.
Pod of Drawers
After Newson moved to London, he dug into a proto-steampunk aesthetic with Pod of Drawers, allegedly fashioning this iconic piece from materials pilfered from his day job at an industrial workshop. It features hand-beaten and cut aluminum panels riveted to a fiberglass structure that's fitted with five drawers and sports painted wood feet.
This scrappy work fetched more than $1 million the last time it went on the auction block.
Further exploring the idea of the chair, Newson went all soft with this groundbreaking Embryo design for Italian design house Cappellini in 1988. He has said this was the first piece where he felt he had developed a discernible style. The fluid lines and innovative take (the original was covered in wetsuit material) would become signatures of his work.
A lot of things from the '80s have fallen out of fashion (leg warmers, anyone?) but you can still snap up one of these in five colors for $5,462.
Photo: Sheila Thompson/Flickr
Shiseido perfume bottle
The peripatetic designer departed for Paris next, where he scrambled for commissions until he almost starved. The $20,000 he got for designing this Shiseido perfume bottle went to indulge a passion he shares with Jony Ive: He bought an Aston Martin DB4 and roared around town to drown out the hunger pangs.
The elegant perfume bottle was Newson's first foray into mass consumer products, but he went on to craft eyeglasses, bicycles, cars, watches, doorstops, private and commercial aircraft and even yachts.
"The thing that has always driven me as a designer," Newson once said, "is feeling pissed off by the shitty stuff around me and wanting to make it better." He turned his hand to designing watches with these sleek "pod watches" in the late '80s and later co-founded watchmaker Ikepod in 1994 with Swiss entrepreneur Oliver Ike.
Photo: Marc Newson.com
021C concept car
Newson spent almost a year in Italy's car capital, Turin, designing the 021C concept car for Ford Ghia. When it launched, he said he "wanted it to possess the simplicity and directness and freshness of a child’s drawing of a car." The original was a dark, rusty orange and the seats swivel — much like his chairs.
Photo: London Design Museum
Newson launched his career in the airline biz with Qantas in 2002, designing the revolutionary SkyBed and winning praise in the form of the Australian Design Award and The Chicago Athenaeum Good Design Award.
His collaboration with Qantas helped him snag both those awards again in 2009, along with the Conde Nast Traveller Innovation & Design Award for the interiors of the Airbus 380.
Photo: MN Aerospace
Kelvin40 Concept Jet
The friendly skies were the backdrop for Newson's work once again with the concept jet Kelvin40, commissioned by Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain in 2004. "If I hadn't quit college, I would have become an aeronautics engineer," Newson said.
That same year, he was the subject of a survey exhibit at London's Design Museum. His work has been featured in design museums around the world, from the Vitra to the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Photo: Marc Newson.com
In 2012, Newson was awarded the CBE for services to design in the United Kingdom and worldwide. When asked what objects bugged him the most, he replied: “Ninety-nine percent of all cars. Ninety-nine percent of all sneakers. Ninety-nine percent of all cellphones. Ninety-nine percent of all door handles."
Above is his luxe bathtub, part of a 22-piece line for Caroma, which earned him the 2014 Good Design Award.
Apple just lured one of the top designers in the world onto the mothership, and it just so happens that he’s a genius at designing timepieces.
Marc Newson created the luxury watch company Ikepod in the mid-’90s, pushing out gorgeous timepieces with unique, simplified form factors and made from unconventional materials. It took other watchmakers years to catch up with his work. Newson hasn’t been involved with the company for more than two years, but he’s also dabbled in jewelry design, with a necklace based on fractal theory, as well as Atmos clocks bigger than a Mac Pro.
In a rare interview with Dezeen, Newson offers insight into his career of building time pieces, from sketching concepts in the ’80s to setting trends that watchmakers are still emulating today. This is the future of Apple design.
Check out the full interview below:
Designed in collaboration with Steve Jobs by Norman Foster, the new Infinite Loop has Apple fans excited… but not architects. Informally polling a group of 6,000 architects around the world gathered for a South African conference, Fortune’s Philip Elmer DeWitt discovered that, by and large, the professionals he encountered hated Apple’s new Spaceship Campus.
But DeWitt reminds us all that Steve Jobs is no newcomer to architecture. He designed Pixar’s headquarters personally, and it’s a design that has resulted in some of the most creative cinema to come out of Hollywood in the last generation.
Who are you calling trashy?
The Apple logo was left visible, for inspiration.
Ashtray or paperclip holder?
All photos: Takara Maru, used with permission.
Fitting right in
All photos: Takara Maru, used with permission.
All photos: Takara Maru, used with permission.
The new Mac Pro, with its sleek cylinder design, has gotten a bad rap. While it’s light-years from the bulky, ugly first-generation Mac Pro and “built for creativity on an epic scale,” this ingenious machine, which Apple sells for between $2,999 and $3,999, looks like a common waste receptacle.
The much-trashed design recently got some love from architect Takara Maru, who carved out a spot on this sleek walnut desk for it. Some might joke that it’s to shield users from the Mac Pro’s looks, but really the aim is to reduce clutter on the desk surface so Maru can focus on home design.
Japanese toilet purveyors Toto have sold 33 million of these unmentionables since 1980. It’s a maximalist minimalist dream: no toilet paper, no toilet brush but a heated seat and cleansing jets. What could Apple improve? Imagine an iPod-like controller to give your user presets for a wash-n-dry. Because Apple could make even dropping trou insanely great.
Apple could pop out some nice designs to make us look chic, yet smart but not too bookish, a la’ Warby Parker above, as we squint into our iPhones or hunch over our MacBook Airs.
Toshiba showed this smart home mirror CES this year, but Apple’s take might advise you to ditch those ratty conference tees for black turtlenecks — or remind you to don the green shirt that brings out your eyes in your preset minimum rotation of three weeks.[
Behold Top Brewer, the sleekest interface between you and your caffeine. It already integrates with your iPhone or iPad, so you can order yourself a shot of courage for that endless meeting. If Apple designed it? Siri would make your favorite low-foam capp.
Gordon Murray, Formula One race car designer and the man behind wheel of McLaren in the 90s, designed this car for the rest of us. The three-seater iStream has stalled on the drawing board for years, but still gets design circles excited.
You may have an old Mac doubling as your pet bed, but it’s time to upgrade to this simple, sleek version by Glenn Ross at Vurv Design Studio. Apple’s take would definitely include a pet tracker and maybe a sonic “mute” button for the barkers in your abode.
How about taking a dip in this Bauhaus-inspired pool? We’re in! This lap of luxury comes to us via Pitsou Kedem Architects. There’s nothing superfluous. Jony would approve.
Thanks to its amazing products, Apple already runs your social life, your work life and your downtime. But what if the Cupertino company designed products for the rest of your world? Over the years, there’s been much speculation about the company branching out – especially the Jetsons-like iWatch that will sync all our data and make sure the burrito is at the perfect temp when we get home.
Here are a few items we wish Sir Jony Ive would turn his hand to — because we’d like to take a dip, drop trou, drink and drive with that sweet Apple logo. Maybe just not in that order.
What would you like to see Apple’s design team dream up? Let us know in the comments below.
It is often said that what separates Apple from companies like Samsung and Sony is that at Apple, design is law. Other companies put engineering first.
But that’s not true, according to former Apple senior designer and user experience evangelist Mark Kawano. Speaking to Fast Company’s design site, Co.Design, Kawano says that Apple is still an engineering first company.
The difference? Every engineer at Apple knows how to think like a designer.