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What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: July 09, 2012 01:35PM
I'm not trying to be ornery, but Apple's design "genius" doesn't seem to impress me that much. I mean, we've all seen mock-ups online of the latest and greatest Apple products before they are released and many of them are pretty damn good.

I'm not even in the tech design field and I'm sure I could come up with some pretty cool stuff that would rival anything Ive came up with if I didn't have to worry about engineering and cost. And, having finally just finished reading the Steve Jobs biography, it seems that Ive came up with the designs and then Jobs told engineering to make it happen. It's not like Ive had to come up with the design and make sure it could work engineering-wise and, if not, tweak it. My understanding is that he thought of something, told Jobs, Jobs either liked it or didn't and, if he did, he told engineering to figure out a way to make it insanely great.

What am I missing here? Again, there seems to be so many designers online who post amazing ideas and mock-ups of Apple products (see example thread below of the iWatch) that I'm wondering if Ive actually takes some artistic license from others in his own designs.



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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: July 09, 2012 01:38PM
what do you do for a living? its not so hard, i bet i could do it.



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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: space-time
Date: July 09, 2012 01:44PM
Sir Jony Ive
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: (vikm)
Date: July 09, 2012 01:45PM
I don't think you really believe he just designs something based on what he thinks looks or feels good, do you? He absolutely has a better than average grasp of what is "likely" possible and bases his designs in part on that. I mean, it's not like he's coming up with chameleon-like designs that automatically change to appear to look like whatever design each person prefers when it's in their possession. Or a device that automatically turns invisible when burglars enter the home. I don't care what's been written or statements may have been made by whomever, he doesn't just come up with some design whim and have it thrust upon the engineers to get it done.

This is only one aspect of what makes him good at his job. He deserves all of the accolades he gets as far as I'm concerned. If it wasn't hard, there wouldn't be so many companies blatantly stealing their designs and concepts.

---I just read the thread below where you said the following:

"I wonder if it's even technically feasible to make something like that with the listed specs in that size with today's technology?"

That's what I was trying to say above. I'm certain Ive has a firm grasp on what can be done for the most part. Again, that is one aspect of what makes him great at what he does. Combine that with his design tastes and well....



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/09/2012 01:50PM by (vikm).
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: July 09, 2012 01:49PM
Quote
mattkime
what do you do for a living? its not so hard, i bet i could do it.

You missed my point. What I'm trying to find out is what are the little things involved in his job (or any tech design job) that he does that makes him considered a design "genius."

Hence my comment, "What am I missing here."
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: Lew Zealand
Date: July 09, 2012 01:50PM
Quote
(vikm)
If it wasn't hard, there wouldn't be so many companies blatantly stealing their designs and concepts.

QFE
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: July 09, 2012 01:50PM
Quote
(vikm)
I don't think you really believe he just designs something based on what he thinks looks or feels good, do you? He absolutely has a better than average grasp of what is "likely" possible and bases his designs in part on that. I mean, it's not like he's coming up with chameleon-like designs that automatically change to appear to look like whatever design each person prefers when it's in their possession. Or a device that automatically turns invisible when burglars enter the home. I don't care what's been written or statements may have been made by whomever, he doesn't just come up with some design whim and have it thrust upon the engineers to get it done.

This is only one aspect of what makes him good at his job. He deserves all of the accolades he gets as far as I'm concerned. If it wasn't hard, there wouldn't be so many companies blatantly stealing their designs and concepts.

Thanks for this comment. This is getting more to the point of me trying to find out what's so special about him.
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: Lew Zealand
Date: July 09, 2012 01:54PM
Quote
pinkoos
Quote
mattkime
what do you do for a living? its not so hard, i bet i could do it.

You missed my point. What I'm trying to find out is what are the little things involved in his job (or any tech design job) that he does that makes him considered a design "genius."

Hence my comment, "What am I missing here."

Probably knowing what is possible to fabricate for not too much money (though more than some companies are willing to spend) and designing the lines of a product to be aesthetically pleasing, as opposed to flashy, complicated, busy, boring, etc. That last balance is what gives him a paycheck at the end of the month.
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: July 09, 2012 01:57PM
Ever try to get a product from concept to final version ?

It's amazingly painful, even in a smallish company. In a huge company, it's agonizing. Keeping Sir Jon away from the Engineering arguments is a good way to keep him sane.
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: space-time
Date: July 09, 2012 01:58PM
have you read Steve Job's biography? there is quite a lot in there about how Steve and Jony Ive worked together and how they refined the products. For example, when Jony came up with the iMac translucent case featuring a handle so you can easily carry it around, the estimated cost was $60 higher compred to a traditional case. Any other computer maker would have asked for a market study to prove that the extra sales volume would justify such an extra expenses. Steve Jobs loved Jony's concept and approved it on the spot, no market study needed.

I think Steve and Jony formed an excellent team.
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: July 09, 2012 02:00PM
In terms of the comment about other companies blatantly stealing Apple's designs (which I wholeheartedly agree with), didn't someone post something maybe last week about how Ive's designs are eerily similar to many of Dieter Rams'?

Check these links out:

[oglobo.globo.com]

[gizmodo.com]

[www.brennanletkeman.com]

The last link is one defending Ive.
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: July 09, 2012 02:03PM
Quote
cbelt3
Ever try to get a product from concept to final version ?

It's amazingly painful, even in a smallish company. In a huge company, it's agonizing. Keeping Sir Jon away from the Engineering arguments is a good way to keep him sane.

No. I'm in the medical field so I'm about as far away from tech design as one could be. Maybe it's either my ignorance or naivete (or both) coming out, but I'm just trying to understand this topic and thought this is the best place I know of to get some answers.
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: bazookaman
Date: July 09, 2012 02:35PM
If it were easy, everyone would do it.



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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: July 09, 2012 02:54PM
you're certainly asking the choir to go against the preacher, so you know what answers you will get.

I happen to think Ives' designs are very cool, but nothing qualifies the "genius" status that some may bestow upon him. I'm not sure I've heard that very often, though.
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: $tevie
Date: July 09, 2012 03:03PM
Quote
pinkoos
if I didn't have to worry about engineering and cost.

I don't get how Ive doesn't "have to worry about engineering and cost." Of course he does.



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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: July 09, 2012 03:17PM
....just another JONY come lately......???



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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: Psurfer
Date: July 09, 2012 03:28PM
Maybe that he Makes it look easy?
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: July 09, 2012 03:32PM
pinkoos-
No worries. Ask around if you've got any medical colleagues who are in the product development business.. many of them do that. And of course with medical you have endless code bodies (like the FDA) standing in your way. Ick.

The long and the short of it is that the path between vision and product is a long one. "Pilgrim's Progress" is a good sample. Engineering history has made heroes of those people who took shortcuts along the way... The Lockheed "Skunkworks" is a classic tale of that sort of thing, and so is Apple's product development process.

It's a process akin to creating a new forged tool in a village entirely made up of blacksmiths. And every one you take it to has to heat it up and bash it with their hammer. And many of them are idiots. You have to love your idea so much it hurts. You have to be willing to die for your idea, but also to evolve your idea as useful suggestions arise.

It's a brutal winnowing of ideas down to just 'what works'. And if you want to look at a dysfunctional system, just look at Microsoft's electronic products division. Zune ? Surface ? etc...

I had a coworker who was 'pushed out' of the product development cycle and 'set aside'. Companies do that when they want you to quit, but won't fire you. I refer to it as the 'Kevorkian layoff'. Instead he ran his own skunkworks out of the office I shared with him.. stealing resources, making stuff at home or on his own in after hours. It was an amazing process.

And the product he designed ? We sell them like crazy. It's on it's third generation. After his product actually came to life, he finally retired. With two new patents and the begrudging admiration of the people who had shoved him aside.
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: Pam
Date: July 09, 2012 03:52PM
I think it's easy to look at a product design and say I could have done that, and another to come up with a design without seeing the prototypes or mock ups. Take a stab at it. Create a product design.
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: $tevie
Date: July 09, 2012 03:58PM
Quote
Psurfer
Maybe that he Makes it look easy?

I think that is exactly right.



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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: July 09, 2012 04:03PM
I've done a bit of product development. And not been very good at it.
But I'll agree.. the best products are the ones where you slap yourself on the forehead and say "Why didn't I think about that ? "
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: Acer
Date: July 09, 2012 05:05PM
I'd be a little more impressed with Ive's genius lately if he could do it without proprietary SSDs, irreplaceable batteries and soldered RAM. Or is that an engineering problem?
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: bik
Date: July 09, 2012 05:44PM
Quote
pinkoos
... I'm sure I could come up with some pretty cool stuff that would rival anything Ive came up with if I didn't have to worry about engineering and cost. ...

But could you come up with it FIRST? Many of the mockups that we see are (#1) evolutions of existing Apple products, and (#2) just drawings that have no basis in reality.

Ive is an industrial designer who was honing his skills for a lot of years before people started calling him a genius. Any smart and skilled professional who has paid his dues and had several major successes while working at a successful company that has a great comeback story is probably going to get some accolades.

Quote
pinkoos
My understanding is that he thought of something, told Jobs, Jobs either liked it or didn't and, if he did, he told engineering to figure out a way to make it insanely great.

I think you're missing some things -- among them, how Ive came to gain Steve's trust.

Being an industrial designer requires that you have some idea of how things work. If you're just going to imagine stuff that can't possibly be made, you're wasting everybody's time. He may not have designed every piece of the innards of our favorite devices, but his designed had to have some basis in reality.

I don't know the day to day routine of his job, but I have to imagine that he has some role in the ongoing development of products, beyond the beautiful facade that we all see.
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: July 09, 2012 05:46PM
>>I'd be a little more impressed with Ive's genius lately if he could do it without proprietary SSDs, irreplaceable batteries and soldered RAM. Or is that an engineering problem?

I have a really hard time believing these things aren't very small engineering problems



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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: p8712
Date: July 09, 2012 05:47PM
Quote

No. I'm in the medical field so I'm about as far away from tech design as one could be. Maybe it's either my ignorance or naivete (or both) coming out, but I'm just trying to understand this topic and thought this is the best place I know of to get some answers.

Any moron can say 'Take two aspirin and call me in the morning." What makes you so special?
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: July 09, 2012 05:59PM
I understand what pinkoos is saying, but on the other hand, I think it's that extra 1%, or as Psurfer said, "Maybe that he Makes it look easy." It's the difference in the Beatles and the Dave Clark 5; Miles Davis and the band director; Willie Mays and Carl Boles.

The best example I can think of is when I designed my logo. I thought it was good. Then I got a pro to do it and it was perfect - a hundred times better. My first thought was "I could have done that." But I didn't.
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: July 09, 2012 06:03PM
Interesting thread guys. Thanks for enlightening me about this stuff.
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: July 09, 2012 06:17PM
.....I'VE.....got no idea......



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: Lew Zealand
Date: July 09, 2012 06:44PM
Quote
Dennis S
The best example I can think of is when I designed my logo. I thought it was good. Then I got a pro to do it and it was perfect - a hundred times better. My first thought was "I could have done that." But I didn't.

That's a great example and puts you one step ahead of many of us - you actually tried to do that instead of just talking about it, and then found out that a pro is a pro for good reason. I tried to do a mockup of an anniversary CD cover for our institute here, more to hash out what pictures should be included on it and I could tell it was old looking and boring but had no idea how to improve it. Sent the project to the designer and the CD cover looked great. Used all the same pics but knew how to arrange and accent them correctly. Eye opening.
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: rgG
Date: July 09, 2012 09:54PM
Have you ever noticed how great figure skaters make their routines look easy an effortless, but if you have ever put on a pair of ice skates, you immediately know how hard it really is. This is also true of good design, no matter what is being designed.

I am sure that Ive knows a lot more about what is under the hood and how that fits together with the skin than is obvious. If it were really easy, then everyone's goods would look as nice as Apple's, but they don't, unless they are just knock offs of Ive's designs.





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/09/2012 09:54PM by rgG.
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: silvarios
Date: July 09, 2012 10:20PM
Quote
mattkime
>>I'd be a little more impressed with Ive's genius lately if he could do it without proprietary SSDs, irreplaceable batteries and soldered RAM. Or is that an engineering problem?

I have a really hard time believing these things aren't very small engineering problems

Too often engineering dictated by design and business criteria. Little bit too much form over function on the former and the desire to increase profit margins on the latter.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/09/2012 10:20PM by silvarios.
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: July 09, 2012 10:47PM
I figure Ive was told to make a design with no regard to cost to get things started.
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: decay
Date: July 10, 2012 09:31AM
i'd like to see his name abbreviated to J'ive
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: ka jowct
Date: July 10, 2012 11:31AM
Quote
Lew Zealand
Quote
Dennis S
The best example I can think of is when I designed my logo. I thought it was good. Then I got a pro to do it and it was perfect - a hundred times better. My first thought was "I could have done that." But I didn't.

That's a great example and puts you one step ahead of many of us - you actually tried to do that instead of just talking about it, and then found out that a pro is a pro for good reason. I tried to do a mockup of an anniversary CD cover for our institute here, more to hash out what pictures should be included on it and I could tell it was old looking and boring but had no idea how to improve it. Sent the project to the designer and the CD cover looked great. Used all the same pics but knew how to arrange and accent them correctly. Eye opening.

Yup. I wish I had an aptitude for graphic design. I recognize and appreciate it when I see it, just as I recognize bad and inept work. But coming up with anything myself from scratch is torture, and my solutions don't look like something a good designer would do. It's like my brain just isn't wired that way: the way it's not wired for math.
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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: July 10, 2012 03:19PM
I mean, we've all seen mock-ups online of the latest and greatest Apple products before they are released and many of them are pretty damn good.

No, they've all been excellent demos of Shop skills and not much more. Some have been clever but all lacked one of Apple's hallmarks, simple elegance, a graceful blend of style and substance. Most of these designs tried to show that you could have one more thing included, something that Jobs omitted.

I *did* appreciate all the spoof designs, like the G5 'Book, and others.


I'm not even in the tech design field and I'm sure I could come up with some pretty cool stuff

One of the things that makes Ive so special is that he actually does come up with some "pretty cool stuff".

A lot of people "think" they can do what I've does. But nobody seems to actually do it. It doesn't cost much to put one's idea into Shop renderings. And maybe a few people will like it. Maybe even love it. But millions? That's not so easy.

Knowing what not to put in a design is as important as knowing what to put in. Like 24" DUBs on a SC300. Ive and Jobs understand/understood nuance. Something that's often the first casualty in design, not to mention development.

Ultimately, part of the Ive genius *is* the ability to execute a design that makes people feel/think/say "Wow! I could have done that!" when in realty, they didn't have a snowball's chance.


I figure Ive was told to make a design with no regard to cost to get things started.

It doesn't cost much to toy with a design. But I don't know that Ive would give serious attention to a path that would lead to prohibitive cost solution. The idea of unibody Macs meant an huge investment in tooling, but a visionary could see the ROI as well as the end product. I don't know who gets credit for that, but I'm sure cost came into the equation at a fairly early stage.


i'd like to see his name abbreviated to J'ive

That's his street name.





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Re: What's the big deal about Jony Ive?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: July 10, 2012 04:02PM
....to quote the Terminator.....I'VE be back.....???



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