Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive believes the Apple Watch is more than a timepiece and is "truly proud" of the wearable device, according to a recent interview covering the design team's move into Apple Park, and the responsibility the company has to examine how its products impact the world.
Despite initial slow sales of the Apple Watch, the wearable device has become the most popular smartwatch brand in the world, and is still a project dear to Ive. Noting the continued move for Apple to market the Apple Watch's health credentials, Ive suggests there "will be a more marked tipping point in understanding and adoption" of the product with the latest incarnation, a previously mentioned phrase by the design chief.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Ive was questioned if the Apple Watch is really a watch, but responded suggesting it is more than a timepiece. "I think that this is a very powerful computer, with a range of very sophisticated sensors, that is strapped to my wrist," said Ive, adding "That's neither very descriptive nor very helpful."
Citing its similar challenge in describing the iPhone at its launch, Ive suggests "Clearly the capability of the iPhone extends way beyond the function of what we would traditionally call a phone."
"If I compare my watch to this glass," Ive suggested while drinking wine, "the effort necessary to make this glass could be the product of one person, but the effort, expertise and collaboration to make this watch is daunting. It is an achievement that we are truly proud of: that you can work with an expert in sapphire crystals and figure out a way to create a form which has never been created before in sapphire crystal."
Apple's responsibility to society
Ive also expresses an awareness that products like the iPhone have so much of an impact on society, and that sometimes that impact cannot be anticipated. "Very often, so much of what a product ends up being able to do isn't what you initially thought," the design chief advises. "If you're creating something new, it is inevitable there will be consequences that were not foreseen — some that will be great, and then there are those that aren't as positive."
"There is a responsibility to try and predict as many of the consequences as possible and I think you have a moral responsibility to try to understand, try to mitigate those that you didn't predict. If you genuinely have a concern for humanity, you will be preoccupied with trying to understand the implications, the consequences of creating something that hasn't existed before. "
Ive suggests "part of the culture at Apple" is to believer there is a responsibility that "doesn't end when you ship a product." To emphasize this, Ive admits it keeps him awake at night.
Last to arrive at Apple Park
The interview also touches upon the completion of Apple Park, and of his design team's eventual move into the new building, something Ive insists was not "late" as it was scheduled that way.
"When you're moving 9,000 people, you don't do it in one day. We're one of the last groups. It's a loaded and significant event because it meant leaving a studio that has decades of history, where we designed and built first prototypes," said Ive. "This is the studio I went back to on the day that Steve died. And it's the place where we figured out the iPhone and the iPod."
The interview follows a recent discussion with the designer where he claims he still foresees a future with Apple for another 25 years, citing the "energy and vitality and sense of opportunity" of doing so.
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