Jonathan Ive Calls Apple’s Current Project the “Most Important”

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Sir Jon Ive

Sir Jonathan Ive

Sir Jonathan Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of industrial design, said on Wednesday that the product his company is working on developing now is the “most important” product yet, and the one he’d like to be remembered for. While he didn’t name that product, by definition, it means that he thinks it’s more important than the original iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, or even the iPad.

Sir Jon made the comments in an interview with London’s The Telegraph in response to being asked which of Apple’s products he’d like to be remembered for.

After a long pause, the designer said, “It’s a really tough one. A lot does seem to come back to the fact that what we’re working on now feels like the most important and the best work we’ve done, and so it would be what we’re working on right now, which of course I can’t tell you about.”

While rumors about Apple are many and varied, currently the two most prominent rumors are that the company is developing a smaller iPad and a television set. If one were willing to make some wild speculation, one might conclude that the television set is the most likely candidate for Sir Jon’s fancy.

For one thing, it’s hard to look at a new product that will serve as an extension for an existing line (i.e. a smaller iPad) as being somehow more important than the original. More importantly, however, the late Steve Jobs talked to biographer Walter Isaacson extensively about an Apple television, waxing poetic about “finally cracking” the code for how to make an Internet-connected TV with an interface that actually works.

Of course, it could be something entirely unrelated to either rumor and be some other cool product that Sir Jon and Apple’s design team is working on.

Design Stuff

The interview is an excellent one, and one that we recommend you read in full (part one, part two) if you are interested in design, and Apple design in particular. Sir Jon, who was officially knighted on Wednesday morning, spoke about such things as “designing the back of the drawer” and other philosophical elements that are a part of the Apple process.

For instance, he said, “I think it’s a wonderful view that care was important – but I think you can make a one-off and not care and you can make a million of something and care. Whether you really care or not is not driven by how many of the products you’re going to make.”

He added, “We’re keenly aware that when we develop and make something and bring it to market that it really does speak to a set of values. And what preoccupies us is that sense of care, and what our products will not speak to is a schedule, what our products will not speak to is trying to respond to some corporate or competitive agenda. We’re very genuinely designing the best products that we can for people.”

He also dismissed concerns that Apple would go downhill without the guiding vision of Steve Jobs, the company’s late cofounder, noting, “We’re developing products in exactly the same way that we were two years ago, five years ago, ten years ago. It’s not that there are a few of us working in the same way: there is a large group of us working in the same way.”

That team has been a big part of his experience at Apple, and he said, “We have become rather addicted to learning as a group of people and trying to solve very difficult problems as a team. And we get enormous satisfaction from doing that. Particularly when you’re sat on a plane and it appears that the majority of people are using something that you’ve collectively agonized over. It’s a wonderful reward.”

There’s much more, and it is a very interesting read.

[Via The L.A. Times]

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Lee Dronick

Considering the vintage TV in the graphic shouldn’t that photo of Jon be in B/W? smile


Surely it’s something else. I find it very hard to believe Sir Jony wants to be remembered for designing a TV.

Bryan Chaffin

Funny enough, Lee, I usually do make those images black and white. I got lazy on this one. smile

D Lamont

My tuppence worth and bet for months has been on a glass sheet tv with a hpbrid epaper and oled display, providing dense blacks when on but transparent when off. Apple already have a patent for a hybrid display though submitted the patent with an iphone like picture.
(sorry to post without logging in, can’t remember my account login)


I wouldn’t read too much into this. Any artist or craftsman that is enjoying what they do feels they are getting better and better. The next thing is always the “most important” because it will be better than that which came before.

Picasso was always on to the next thing. Frank Lloyd Wright was always pushing the boundaries right up to his last designs. Leonardo was continually dropping a project just before it was done to go work on something he thought more interesting or exciting. It’s why some think he had OCD.

On a vastly lower level (and I’m not comparing myself to the former in any way) I know that my first book was my “most important” work when I was writing it. Once it was done I knew my next one was going to be even better. The one I’m gathering notes for now should be even better so it’s currently my “most important work. If I get hit by a bus just after it’s done I’d want to be remembered by my most important work, that is the last, most skilled thing I’d done.

So I wouldn’t read too much into this off the cuff remark. I’d be more worried if he’d said that the original iPhone or the Bondai iMac was “most important”. That would indicate that he was tiring and losing his touch. No sign of that though.


Too vague to read much into it. Most important for who, first off…Apple? consumers? humanity?

It might be the most important product for Apple because it’s the first big post-Steve “new” thing. Getting it right is paramount to the company and how people perceive it will fare in the future, perhaps.

It might be the most important product for consumers because it changes some aspect of their daily lives significantly. Or it could be a space elevator, transforming humanity’s ability to leave this planet.


It’s augmented reality glasses - super stylish - will originally come in 3 styles for males, 3 styles for females, and 3 uni-sex styles.

It’s going way past Google’s Project Glass, and will include hand gestures by the user to interface with the augmented reality interface - all customizable.

It’s basically going to do away with the need for the iPhone, iPod, and iPad.  Eventually, the next generation will do away with the need for a desktop or laptop computer.

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