In an interview with London’s Evening Standard, Ive – Apple’s senior vice president of industrial design – said that he loved coming back to London even though he left the city for the Californian sunshine 20 years ago.
The 45-year-old from Chingford said he was “absolutely thrilled and at the same time completely humbled” to receive his Knighthood recently, after having previously been awarded the CBE back in 2006.
On the topic of designing products for Apple, Ive said: “Our goals are very simple – to design and make better products. If we can’t make something that is better, we won’t do it.”
Ive designed the first iMac back in 1998 and has since overseen the design of products such as the PowerBook G4, PowerMac G4, PowerMac G5, G4 Cube, iBook, Mac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iPod, iPod touch, iPhone and iPad.
“There are different approaches – sometimes things can irritate you so you become aware of a problem, which is a very pragmatic approach and the least challenging. What is more difficult is when you are intrigued by an opportunity. That, I think, really exercises the skills of a designer,” Ive told the Standard.
“It’s not a problem you’re aware of, nobody has articulated a need. But you start asking questions: what if we do this, combine it with that, would that be useful? This creates opportunities that could replace entire categories of device rather than tactically responding to an individual problem. That’s the real challenge and very exciting.”
The key to good design, he says, is to put the user in a position where they are immersed in their task without stopping to realise that they are using something that has been designed.
“Our goal is to create simple objects, objects that you can’t imagine any other way. Get it right and you become closer and more focused on the object. For instance, the iPhoto app we created for the new iPad completely consumes you and you forget you are using an iPad.”
Apple’s competitors, Ive says, are getting it wrong by trying to be too different. “Most of our competitors are interested in doing something different or want to appear new – I think those are completely the wrong goals. A product has to be genuinely better. This requires real discipline and that’s what drives us – a sincere, genuine appetite to do something that is better.”