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Apple designers Ive, Newson talk Apple Watch at Conde Nast International Luxury Conference

Apple designers Jony Ive and Marc Newson helped inaugurate the first annual Conde Nast International Luxury Conference on Wednesday, speaking with Vogue editor Suzy Menkes about the Apple Watch and their work philosophies.




The Watch is the first Apple product designed explicitly for the luxury market, and when asked to define the company's approach to luxury, Ive commented that Apple doesn't "look at the world through predetermined market opportunities," according to Vogue. Instead, the designer said he tries to invest care in developing products.

"It's not so much about things being touched personally —there are many ways to craft something," Ive said. "It's easy to assume that just because you make something in small volumes, not using many tools, that there is integrity and care —that is a false assumption."

Newson also defended the company's design and mass manufacturing process, comparing its machines to a craftsman's tools. "We all use something —you can't drill holes with your fingers," he remarked.

On comparing Apple's version of luxury with the old, Ive insisted that Apple doesn't think in those terms, but instead focuses only on creating a useful product.

"When we started on the iPhone it was because we all couldn't bear our phones. The watch was different," he said. "We all loved our watches, but saw that the wrist was a fabulous place for technology, so there were different motivations. I don't know how we can compare the old watches we know, with the functionality and the capability of the Apple Watch."

Ive further observed that through the iPhone, Apple learned that there are "fundamental things" people use all of the time, but for different reasons. The Watch is the first product Apple can assume is "intimiately connected" with a person most of the day, opening up new avenues of communication.

Newson attemted to bolster his and Ive's credentials by bringing up their backgrounds in silversmithing. "We're not just designing in our heads and then on a computer. We both have the ability to understand certain materials; we come from a standpoint of being taught manually," he said.

Asked if traditional luxury companies should be worried about Apple and the Watch, Ive lastly claimed that since the 1970s Apple has been working to make technology "relevant and personal," and that he's not sure of the potential consequences.

"Sadly so much of our manufactured environment testifies to carelessness —something that was built to a price point or a schedule. The products that we have developed describe who made them. I hope that people will like the watch and find it a beautiful item," he concluded.

The Watch ships on April 24. Apple has been using interviews with executives as one of its main marketing tools, alongside things like magazine spreads and celebrity product placements.