Jony Ive was ‘tormented’ with jealousy over Yahoo’s beautiful weather app


Photo: AddictiveTips
Jony Ive's jealousy over Yahoo weather app yielded a startling imitation. Photo: AddictiveTips

One of the first projects Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer oversaw as CEO was the Yahoo Weather app. The app was so well received that it even ended up receiving a coveted Apple Design Award in 2013.

Apple also redesigned its stock Weather app to look just like it in iOS 7.

It turns out that it wasn’t a coincidence the two apps looked so similar. Jony Ive was “tormented” with jealously of Yahoo Weather’s design.

Here’s an excerpt from Nicholas Carlson’s new book, Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo:

On May 1, 2013, Marissa Mayer ran into Jony Ive, the famous Apple designer, at an industry event.

Ive sidled up to Mayer and, in a confiding tone, told her, “I’m tormented by the Weather app, Marissa.”

Yahoo had just released an app called Yahoo Weather. It drew from Yahoo’s photo-sharing site, Flickr, to show users photos of their approximate location in weather conditions similar to the day ahead. So a snowy day in New York would feature a picture of Central Park covered in white.

“I’m so jealous,” said Ive, in his British accent. “I don’t get jealous.”

Mayer replied, “Jony, if the Weather app made you jealous, we’ve got something up our sleeve on Flickr that’s going to make you want to die.”

“Oh, go to hell.”

A complete redesign of Flickr’s website was unveiled later that month.

Yahoo Weather was given an Apple Design Award at WWDC one month later. WWDC 2013 was also where iOS 7 debuted with a strikingly similar weather app design.

Apple Weather in iOS 7 vs. Yahoo Weather circa 2013. Screenshots: Business Insider


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18 responses to “Jony Ive was ‘tormented’ with jealousy over Yahoo’s beautiful weather app”

  1. DigitalBeach says:

    Yahoo! weather app is filled with ads now… not so pretty anymore.

  2. PK070205 says:

    I guess Mayer thought the gigantic ads would enhance the apps beauty.

  3. says:

    Sounds like BS to me.

  4. RedHotFuzz says:

    When is Apple going to buy Yahoo already? They need their own search service to kick Google (a competitor) to the curb.

    • djr12 says:

      Doesn’t Yahoo! Just reskin Microsoft’s Bing search anyway? Not sure that would do a lot of good.

      That Yahoo Weather app really is gorgeous though.

  5. rogifan says:

    Who knows if this is true or not. It’s possible as IVe and Mayer do attend the same social events in SF. What I’m more curious about is if Apple just went ahead and ripped it off or if they told Yahoo they loved it so much they’re going model the official weather app off of it.

  6. thomg875 says:

    I thought Jony Ive was tormented when stealing designs was done. Or did that just work one way? Yes, I have an iMac, iPhone and iPad and like them but you can’t blame someone else for copying if you do it yourself. That is, if the article is true.

  7. CelestialTerrestrial says:

    They both look like a generic Weather App. Most apps look like that. 5 day forecast, some photo of the current weather/time conditions, simple design. And? I don’t know why people get all hot and bothered over something as simple as a weather app. I just wished they would have thicker fonts to make it easier to read. I hate thin fonts. It’s bad enough i have to wear prescription glasses and I wonder why that is. FREAKING THIN FONTS!!!!!!! Yeah, Yahoo! has nice photos. And? I would like it if the photos were animated a little. You know, rain that looks more like it’s raining. Clouds moving slow or fast depending on the wind conditions, etc. you know, juice it up a little.

  8. Lynn says:

    Jony care too much about design asthetics and too little about design functionality.

    • Grunt_at_the_Point says:

      Design aesthetics are what most people care about.

      • Lynn says:

        I agree. That’s why so many of my pretty apps aren’t as useful as similar ones I had on my Nokia E71 in 2007. I wish apple would get serious about productivity or let me change my defsilt apps to a company that will.

  9. Steve P says:

    It’s filled with ads now, not so beautiful anymore!!!

  10. simosim says:

    What is a British accent? There are hundreds of distinguishable accents in the UK.

  11. thorh says:

    But Jony; it is “-1°”, not “—1°”!

  12. robogobo says:

    When a Brit says “I’m tormented”, it means “I’m slightly annoyed”. Overstatement is their thing.

  13. Mark Izen says:

    Flickr’s new interface makes me want to die, but not for the reasons Mayer wants. The thing is really poor from an end-user perspective. I see what they WANT to do, but they’re sacrificing too much to do it. Jony Ive can rest easy.

  14. Mark_42 says:

    I like Dark Skies the best for aesthetics, immediacy and accuracy and My-Cast for density of information. Too bad My-Cast is abandonware. When it comes to software design, Jony Ive is the worst thing that ever happened to Apple.

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