Ian Parker

New Yorker profile of Jony Ive

The Shape of Things to Come

Ian Parker of The New Yorker profiles Jony Ive, Apple’s lead designer.

Back in the main room, Ive noted that he’d been watching “Moon Machines,” an old Discovery Channel series about the Apollo program. “There was the realization we needed to develop a spacesuit, but it was hard to even know what the goals should be,” he said. And then he linked the studio’s work to NASA’s: like the Apollo program, the creation of Apple products required “invention after invention after invention that you would never be conscious of, but that was necessary to do something that was new.” It was a tic that I came to recognize: self-promotion driven by fear that one’s self-effacement might be taken too literally. Even as Apple objects strive for effortlessness, there’s clearly a hope that the effort required—the “huge degree of care,” the years of investigations into new materials, the months spent enforcing cutting paths in Asian factories—will be acknowledged.

This is brilliant: that tension between wanting to show off the depth of your design process and caring vs. burying that stuff under a beautifully-simple surface appearance.

I’m again reminded of Robert Pirsig’s epic rant about fixing loose handlebars… Apple needs to slow down: surface appearance vs. underlying form.

[via 9to5 Mac]