Over the weekend, The New York Times published an in-depth profile of Apple’s CEO Tim Cook. The profile included quite a few quotes from current employees, including Jony Ive. Now NYT has published an excerpt of the interview with Apple’s legendary designer.
One of the takeaways from the interview was how Ive candidly spoke about future products. While stopping short of naming a product, he talked about how his team was working on devices with new form factors and built with materials the company has never used before.
“I’ve worked for the last 15 or 20 years on the most challenging, creative parts of what we do. I would love to talk about future stuff — they’re materials we haven’t worked in before. I’ve been working on this stuff for a few years now. Tim is fundamentally involved in pushing into these new areas and into these materials.”
While the words ‘new devices’ and ‘new materials’ are vague at best, it is consistent with reports about Apple developing the iWatch as well as using new materials like sapphire crystals, graphene and Liquidmetal alloys on the forthcoming devices including the iPhone 6.
Ive also touches upon his work relationship with Tim Cook post Steve Jobs and recalls the time he, Jobs and Cook decided to ditch plastic for sturdier and premium materials. His quote about Cook’s hands-off approach was included in the CEO’s profile. Ive says,
“We meet on average three times a week. Sometimes those meetings are over in his space, sometimes here in the design studio. We all see the same physical object. Something happens between what we objectively see and what we perceive it to be.”
The ditching plastic-for-better-materials saga is clearly about the Powerbook laptops. The Powerbook G3 was built using plastics, but on the Powerbook G4 there was an enormous shift in design and the company experimented with the use of titanium for the first time.
“I remember clearly a time when we made plastic portable computers, and Steve and Tim and I sat down and said we wanted to build an incredibly thin and light portable computer,” Ive explains. “There was a whole range of challenges from an engineering point of view: How it worked in a new material, titanium. That meant we had to completely redesign and discover new partners to work with, hire a whole new organization.”