Apple’s Industrial Design team is spotted after the Apple Watch unveiling. Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac
CUPERTINO, Calif. — This is the first group photo of Apple’s new Industrial Design team — the men and women behind the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and a long string of other hit products.
The group is super-secretive and rarely appears in public together. In fact, they’ve only been pictured once before. This picture was taken at the end of Tuesday’s launch event, when many of the journalists had been ushered out. In the middle is Jony Ive and the team’s latest and highest-profile hire, star designer Marc Newson.
The Industrial Design team is Apple’s idea factory. This is where Apple’s innovation comes from. They design and develop all of Apple’s products, and many of them were working at Apple before Steve Jobs returned in 1997.
Jony Ive shared a bit of insight into the design process behind the Apple Watch during his interview with ABC News, following Tuesday’s keynote.
With Tim Cook looking on, Ive described how his team “worked extremely hard to make an object that, one, would be extremely desirable, but would also be personal because we don’t all want to wear the same watch.”
When asked how many Apple Watch variations will be available, Ive claimed that there are “millions and millions” of different configurations available, taking into account the different combinations that are possible.
“There are different materials for the actual case, there’s two different sizes, you can choose one of six different straps or bands,” he says, in addition to noting the different watch faces that can be chosen within the UI.
We’re in a frenzy of anticipation about Apple’s September 9 event. Just like you, we’re expecting big and bigger iPhones, the iWatch and something to take the stage of that immense box Apple has constructed outside the Flint Center auditorium.
As we tweet, liveblog and take you hands-on with new products from what may be the most important Apple event in years, you can play along with this awesome set of free bingo cards, courtesy mobile PR firm Appency.
Four years ago, Apple debuted the iPad with the first of what would soon become a widely parodied style of video, in which Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design Jony Ive said of Apple’s first tablet: “It’s true that when something exceeds your ability to understand how it works, it sort of becomes magical, and that’s exactly what the iPad is. It’s hard to see how something so simple, so thin, and so light, could possibly be so capable.”
As Apple knew it would, the video made a huge impact on people… so big an impact that it soon became a well-worn format for parody. Now, even Swedish furniture retailer Ikea is getting in on the game with their latest ad, which uses all the same beats and breathless rapture of Jony Ive talking about the iPad, but to promote the 2015 Ikea catalog instead. Well done.
See Apple’s original iPad introduction video below.
In his latest column for The New York Times, Nick Bilton drops an interesting tidbit about Jony Ive and the iWatch.
The mythical wearable, which is expected to finally see the light of day at next week’s Apple event, is something Ive has been bragging about around Apple HQ. He thinks it will be so good that even Swiss watchmakers won’t know what hit them.
There aren't many consumer electronics companies that win kudos for their excellence in other realms.
Apple did just that recently when it earned an Emmy in the Creative Arts category for its commercial "Misunderstood." Apple has been named the most admired, most innovative company and the best brand too many times to count. Its leaders, designers and products have been feted more than a prize calf at the state fair.
Here are some of the other high honors and quirky tributes Apple has racked up over the years — plus one title that no one at Apple seems to merit.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were crowned National Medal of Technology and Innovation laureates by Ronald Reagan in 1985 for "their development and introduction of the personal computer which has sparked the birth of a new industry extending the power of the computer to individual users."
It was the first year of the award; other winners included IBM and AT&T Bell Laboratories. Not bad for a pair of college dropouts.
Apple first got its hands around the winged statuette in 2001 with a Primetime Engineering Award earned for FireWire.
"Transferring data at up to 400Mbps, FireWire delivers more than 30 times the bandwidth of the popular USB peripheral standard," Apple's press release boasted at the time. "With its high data-transfer speed and 'hot plug-and-play' capability, FireWire is the interface of choice for today’s digital audio and video devices, as well as external hard drives and other high-speed peripherals."
While the fuzzy, wacky, colorful Muppets might seem aesthetically at odds with, well, everything Apple does, there's been a mutual appreciation dating back to the "Think Different" campaign, which featured Muppet maestro Jim Henson.
The Jim Henson Honors go to folks who make the world a better place by inspiring people to celebrate life.
"Steve Jobs has been a leader in the ongoing efforts to develop technologies that allow users to effortlessly express themselves," said Lisa Henson when the award was handed to Jobs in 2010.
Sir Jonathan Ive has won armfuls of honors, including the knighthood, for his groundbreaking designs. But not everyone can get a Blue Peter badge from the beloved BBC children's program of the same name.
“Ive is an inspiration to children around the world and we were ecstatic to hear his comments and design advice to our viewers who will remember such feedback for a lifetime,” said Ewan Vinnicombe, acting editor of Blue Peter.
In 2002, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences gave Apple a technical Grammy, the first ever awarded to a computer maker.
“We love music and are thrilled to play a part in how music is created and enjoyed,” said Steve Jobs. “We are honored to be receiving our industry’s first Technical Grammy and we look forward to making many more contributions in the years ahead.”
Steve Wozniak was awarded the Isaac Asimov Science Award in 2011.
"While most people would know Wozniak from his days at Apple, he continues to exhibit his ingenuity and generosity in other settings. A noted philanthropist, Wozniak is a committed advocate for science and computer education," organizers said, citing his funding of science schools in Los Gatos, California, and a summer camp for tech-minded kids.
He shares the title with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Robert Sapolsky and Eugenie Scott.
This is one of those honors you'd expect Apple to win. But alas, no. According to Walter Isaacson's biography, Steve Jobs thought he was up for consideration the year the magazine's editors decided to go with the personal computer instead of a person. Jobs gave access to the reporters for what he thought was a cover story and found the profile they wrote about him "so awful that I actually cried."
In 2012, Tim Cook was in the running, but had to settle for third runner-up status. "Like an Apple product, Cook runs smooth and fast," the magazine wrote. Just not enough to compete with Barack Obama, who edged him out for the title.
Want to improve your Monday by seeing how design guru Jony Ive lives? Over the weekend, Business Insider ran a gallery, showcasing Apple’s acclaimed design guru’s home on San Francisco’s “Gold Coast,” also known as “Billionaire’s Row.”
Facing the end of his long, dominant NBA career, Kobe Bryant is branching out into the business world with Kobe Inc., and while he’s picked the brains of people like Oprah, Hillary Swank and Arianna Huffington, it was a meeting with Jony Ive at Apple Campus earlier this summer that caught the web’s attention.
What could one of the greatest basketball players of all-time learn from the world’s most famous designer? According to an interview with Bloomberg, the Black Mamba simply wanted to know how Ive approaches design and how he manages to see the world differently than everyone that makes hardware.
An NBA superstar reaching out to the world’s tech designer for help sounds like an odd fit, but Bryant says building an iPhone isn’t too different from developing a world-class basketball game because like building products, you approach both sequentially, piece by piece, to make it unstoppable.
Jawbone’s new UP Coffee app can put your caffeine consumption into context. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Apple relies heavily on caffeine. A recent company job listing advertised a role for an iCup technician, with the important task of providing “a fresh brew coffee to all Apple employees within their department.”
Jony Ive’s design team is especially obsessed with the black stuff: For years they kept a $3,000-plus Italian Grimac espresso machine, despite the fact that it leaked all the time. For a while in the 1990s, the design team was even mockingly dubbed “Espresso” for their unabashed love of caffeine culture.
Apple’s not alone in its coffee snob behavior. The rise of coffee shops — with seemingly hundreds of variations on the old coffee standards — have infiltrated every city across the United States: Americans spend $18 billion per year on specialty coffee alone.