Is Apple designing a car? Maybe that’s the real reason it picked up designer Mark Newsom, who created this concept car for Ford in 1999. Credit: Mark Newsom/Ford
Apple has set up a top-secret automobile R&D lab and is recruiting experts to possibly build a car, the Financial Times reports.
The lab is in a secret location away from Apple’s HQ. Apple recently hired the head of Mercedes-Benz’s Silicon Valley R&D unit, and has staffed the new lab with “experienced managers from its iPhone unit,” the Times says.
“Three months ago I would have said it was CarPlay,” said one of FT‘s sources. “Today I think it’s a car.”
One of the designers in Apple’s Industrial Design Group helped create this shape-shifting fabric-covered car for BMW. Photo: BMW
As rumors that Apple is making a self-driving car rev up, a peek under the hood of the company’s famed Industrial Design studio reveals a crew of talented automobile designers.
An interest in futuristic cars is embedded deep within the DNA of Apple’s vaunted design team. Working under Jony Ive, Apple employs designers who worked on several fantastic concept cars, including a fabric-covered BMW that shifts shape depending on speed.
Ive has long been obsessed by cars. (He has quite a stable.) As a teenager, Ive wanted to be a car designer. He visited a U.K. design school that specialized in automotives with a view to studying there, but he found the other students too weird. They were making “vroom vroom” noises as they sketched. Instead, he went to Newcastle Polytechnic (which has since been renamed Northumbria University).
A look at other key members of Apple’s design team, and at a super-secret research-and-development facility planned for the company’s new campus, offers a few clues about how Cupertino might go about producing innovative and unconventional cars.
A $3,000 Octovo surfboard is just one creation of design firm Ammunition. Photo: Fast Company
San Francisco design firm Ammunition beat out Apple and others to be named Fast Company’s top “Innovative Company in Design.”
Co-founded by Robert Brunner, the former head of Apple’s industrial design studio who hired Jony Ive, Ammunition is most famous for designing the Beats Electronics headphones. Ammunition was named most innovative not just for the string of hit products it’s helped bring to market but for taking an equity stake in the companies with which it works.
But while the South Korea-based tech giant isn’t going to be able to steal away any of the design brains behind Apple’s must-have devices any time soon, it’s trying to do the next best thing: hiring a former boss from the company Jony Ive helped start before he set sale for Apple in the 1990s.
Luxury Swiss watch makers were originally dismissive of Apple Watch, but now that its launch is inching closer, their tone is changing. TAG Heur’s chief squirmed in front of the press today and announced that his brand is working on something that might be totally amazing. They’re just still looking for partners to make it happen.
Jony Ive prophesied in September that Swiss watchmakers were in “trouble” thanks to his new creations, and it’s looking like he was right. TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver said his company is creating a product to take on Apple Watch, but only if it “can be first, different and unique.”
Biver told reporters that TAG has already struck several partnerships for the watch, and they’re also considering acquiring a few companies to speed up the process.
All the Apple news and views we can fit, right here. Cover Design: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Another week, another full docket of great stories at Cult of Mac, so we’ve put together yet another special Newsstand issue just for you, with all of the best news stories and features compiled in one place to easily read on your iPad or iPhone. This week we’ve got some great stuff: Jony Ive’s design secrets, some sexy slim cases for your iPhone 6, quick tips for OS X Yosemite, the best Black Friday deals (so far), and a hot tutorial on making GIFS on your Mac. All that and more, like we do, in this week’s Cult of Mac Magazine.
The world’s most famous designer, Jony Ive. Photo: Apple
Jony Ive made a rare public appearance at the Design Museum in London yesterday, where he discussed a range of topics with museum director Deyan Sudjic. Everything from the future of design, to Jony’s work at Apple popped up in the conversation, but the most intriguing parts where the insights into Jony’s design process.
Sir Jonathan told hopeful designers that great design requires you to reject reason and comes with an enormous amount of failure, but he also shared some insights on how he’s become so successful as Apple’s Senior VP of Design.
Here are 12 secrets for designers Jony spilled last night:
Jony Ive has designed someone of the worlds most iconic tech devices, but when it came time to revolutionizing the wrist watch, Ive says it was even more challenging to make than the iPhone.
Speaking to an audience at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Thursday night, Ive said that societal expectations for a wristwatch posed some serious challenges when creating the Apple Watch, but he believes with “every bone in his body” that Apple will usher in an entirely new computing device category.