This is the device they’ll remember Jony Ive for. Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac
If there’s one thing today’s New Yorker profile of Jony Ive hammers home, it’s how important the Apple Watch is to Apple’s design guru. The 16,000-word story reveals how Ive pushed the Apple Watch as a project, shortly after Steve Jobs’ death, when Apple was under pressure to come up with its next insanely great idea.
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.
It’s no coincidence—your love for Apple and their pretty little gadgets was Steve Jobs’ master plan, and on our newest CultCast, we’ll tell you how did it. Plus: Bendgate might be overblown, but where there’s smoke, there’s fire; we love our iPhone 6 Pluses, but dear lord, they’re huge… And finally, Jony Ive gains a counterpart in Apple’s newest Industrial Designer.
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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.”
Vogue’s new profile of Apple’s head of design is a great read, especially because of the details it includes about Jony Ive’s work and personal life. For instance, Ive is in love with the “k-chit” noise the Apple Watch band makes it when it clasps.
The interview took place in a white room on Apple’s campus, which is fitting considering that Ive is always shrouded in white during his product design videos. Touching on the company’s secretive design studio, Vogue notes, “Ive’s wife, Heather Pegg, has never been—he doesn’t even tell her what he’s working on—and his twin sons, like all but a few Apple employees, are not allowed in either.”