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Jony Ive's publicity tour continues as he discusses Apple Watch design in new interview

Continuing his evolution from behind-the-scenes design czar to company-fronting rock star, Apple's Jony Ive granted an interview to one of his hometown newspapers this week and revealed his reasons for joining Apple, touched on his friendship with Steve Jobs, and discussed the design of the Apple Watch.


Jobs and Ive, with former iPod executive Jon Rubinstein in the background.


"I see design as a way you look at the world and as a thought process," Ive told Nick Foulkes of British broadsheet The Financial Times. After initially viewing computers through a cynical lens, Ive was drawn to Apple after using a Mac and finding himself "shocked" at the ease with which he "became aware of the people who had designed, developed and made it."

"So in a way I wasn't actually that interested in the Mac itself, but did have a clear sense of the humanity within it," he said. "For example, there was the fact that you could change the sounds it made. I think you start to develop a relationship with the product, in that you feel it's the result of the great care taken by the people who worked together to develop it. And you respond to that."

That sense of identity left with Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, Ive believes, and "didn't really come back until Jobs himself returned to the company."
"I quite like this sense of almost being careless and just glancing. I think for certain things the wrist is the perfect place for this technology."
Jobs and Ive were famously close, and the designer reiterated that the two were more than colleagues —they were, he says, "very close friends."

On the subject of the Apple Watch, Ive is more concerned with "how we can make [the Apple Watch] as good as possible than how many we'll sell," saying that even as the Watch "is incredibly mature and has gone through thousands and thousands of hours of evaluation and testing, we're still working and improving."

"The best products are those where you have optimised each attribute while being very conscious of other parts of the product's performance," he added, recalling that designing the Watch was difficult because he and his team found little fault with classic wristwatches.

"It was different with the phone - all of us working on the first iPhone were driven by an absolute disdain for the cellphones we were using at the time," Ive said. "That's not the case here. We're a group of people who love our watches. So we're working on something, yet have a high regard for what currently exists."
"This is difficult to describe and it could be misinterpreted very easily, but there is a sense of almost serving your fellow humans."
Still, Ive believes the Watch fits well within Apple's wheelhouse. The company is at its best, he thinks, when making products that are designed to be deeply personal.

"I think of what preoccupied Steve in the 1970s: it was making the unobtainable power of the computer personal. And when he came back to Apple in 1996, the first thing we worked on together was the iMac, which was a personal consumer computer. So I think Apple's contribution has always been at its most significant when it's trying to make personal products. And this watch is clearly the most personal product we've made."

Of his legendary regard for the experience of product packaging, Ive said that he has "always liked the idea that if we are heavy in our thinking, we can be much lighter in the implementation."

"So there's huge virtue, I think, in keeping the packaging small: at least, it is the right choice environmentally, it's easier to move things around and you don't end up with your wardrobes full of large watch boxes that you don't use."