New Yorker Magazine Profiles Jony Ive with Unprecedented Access from Apple

Sir Jony Ive

An extensive piece about Jony Ive has been published in the New Yorker. While the Apple watch is mentioned, the bulk of the piece is a profile of Apple's Senior VP of Design. It includes multiple interviews with Mr. Ive himself, and quotes about him from CEO Tim Cook and and Laurene Powell Jobs.

Interviewer Ian Parker was given unprecedented access, even getting multiple visits to the Apple Design Studio, a place most Apple employees can't even enter. Some of the interviews were done in the days before the Apple Watch event on September 9, 2014. There are a number of interesting things noted in the article, including why we see Jony in videos:

The day’s event included a ten-minute film. Ive’s reluctance to speak onstage has been offset by a willingness to appear in scripted videos. These productions—Ive speaking in earnest cadences, his head cocked forward like Pixar’s Anglepoise lamp—have become so well known that IKEA recently parodied them, in an ad for its catalogue (“a device so simple and intuitive, using it feels almost familiar”). Such videos used to punctuate Jobs’s onstage message. In the absence of Jobs, they carry the message.

A casual mention is made of Jony's purchase of Steve Jobs' Gulfstream jet, and later we learn just what sort of reach Jony Ive actually has: He might have changed the design of lightsabers in the new Star Wars films:

And Ive once sat next to J. J. Abrams at a boozy dinner party in New York, and made what Abrams recalled as “very specific” suggestions about the design of lightsabres. Abrams told me that Star Wars: The Force Awakens would reflect those thoughts, but he wouldn’t say how… “It was just a conversation,” [Ive] said, then explained that, although he’d said nothing about cross guards, he had made a case for unevenness: “I thought it would be interesting if it were less precise, and just a little bit more spitty.” A redesigned weapon could be “more analog and more primitive, and I think, in that way, somehow more ominous.”

It's a fascinating read, but lengthy, so sit down with it when you have the time to dedicate to it, you'll learn a lot about the man in charge of the most public parts of Apple: its hardware and software.