I like industrial design and I have as much time as I remember. As a child, I broke my father's electric shaver, playing with a dialer that raised and lowered the blade because the action was so cool and "clicked". At school I dreamed I was a product designer or an architect.
Those dreams were down when I missed the technical drawing (I was off for more than 4 cm and the test tolerance was less than 0.5 cm) and I did not take physics and math exams. fall. So, for the last 30 years, my inner industrial designer lived in the career of my contemporary (he's only a few years younger than me) and a colleague of Brit, Sir Jony Ive.
I made the designer of the industrial product as "cool". Stop everybody on the street and ask them to name a well-known industrial designer, and I'd risk to guess that if they had an answer, that would be Jony Ive.
Yes, there are many other influential industrial designers. Yves Béhar and Dieter Rams – whom Steve Jobs greatly admired and who was a visionary behind so many Braun products (including my father's electric shaver) – both come to mind. And Marc Newson, contemporary Jony and partner in his new company, LoveForm. They are all legendary in the design community, but nobody has the name recognition or impact on the Ive level.
Not only did I design some of the most famous Apple products created over the past 30 years – iMac, iPod and iPhone, to name but a few – the success of these products has directly impacted the lives of millions of people and changed how they see the importance of great industrial design.
If you simply ask the question "if Jony Ive designed it" [insert product here], "Most people could visualize how this product will look: minimal design, pure shape, functional usability, and abundant use of aluminum. That's awesome.
Furthermore, taking into account the great design of the product has led to it becoming the fundamental principle of the commercial success of any technological product in today's market. I claim that the remarkable revival of Microsoft with Surface under Saty Nadella is at least partly due to its readiness to acknowledge the importance of clean-design design as the company's defining brand. It does not just mean copying Apple: Surface Studio and Surface Pro are beautifully designed by themselves, and they are also unique to Microsoft. The same could be said for the Pixelbook that is distinctly Google, or even for the Galaxy S10 Plus which is unmistakably Samsung (the Bixby button is a dead gift).
And the growing value of a large product design is not limited to businesses working in the sphere of consumer technology. In 2006, when I photographed the interior of the brand new Virgin America aircraft, I remember how often we compared the design language of the seats and lighting with Apple and Ivo. Without Virgin America moods or 50 fun channels, I doubt JetBlue followed so carefully, let alone American Airlines. The same can be said for cars. Look at the interior of many cars in 2019 and I think you can clearly see the implications of Ive's influence.
Of course, I do not say that Jony Ive is directly responsible for a better flight experience or a more imaginative and functional car dashboard. But I say this is a consequence of the undeniable influence of Ivo that many companies now see a good design as a far more important component of their success than they did 30 years ago.
Nor do I claim that everything I've ever done was wonderful. During his time in Apple he also produced some real lemons (Newton, Cube, "trashcan" MacPro and iOS 7). But this disturbance is even more so that I respect his greatest hits. At least she was trying something else and new.
But while the widespread and real application of good industrial design practices has undoubtedly benefited both consumers and designers, it may be ironic that it is one of the companies most affected by the consequences of Apple (though not financially). This can explain Ive's departure.
As Buddy Pine says in the movie The Incredibles, "If everyone is great, then nobody is." Thirty years ago, Jony Ive's design and partnership with Steve Jobseo made Apple's products above all other available products. They were really revolutionary. IMac was a joyously transparent blue, orange or magenta computer when every computer maker's offer was a beige box; The iPod was gorgeous with practical, child-friendly work that put "a thousand songs in your pocket." And as far as this first iPhone is concerned. Allow me to say that in terms of design, I believe this is still the best iPhone.
But in 2019, it is extremely difficult to maintain the level of influence of the game on a continuous basis. It is very difficult to run from the front. Apple has found that the challenge is to boost its user base to upgrade to a relatively innovative new design of the iPhone X and XS. It is no surprise to be wise to introduce something too revolutionary. Apple caught up in the trap of own making: critics demand that Apple be a brave, brave brand we expect, but its users are just fine with it until everything is working the same. We are moving to the post-hardware world where the flawless functionality of multiple devices is of vital importance and excellent design is considered to be given.
Personally, Apple products no longer define the momentous moments in my life as they once did. In recent years these sites have been taken over by Google, Nintendo and Sony. I do not doubt that the designers of all of them were influenced by Ivo in one way or another, but that does not change the fact that the only Apple products I now own are the old Apple TV and laptop I have provided The Verge.
I moved to Apple and I'm looking for new brands to inspire design. Maybe Jony decided to do the same.
Photo: James Bareham / The Verge