Ian Parker Profiles Jonathan Ive and Apple’s Design Team for The New Yorker

Astonishing, unprecedented access to Ive personally and his design team at Apple. At nearly 17,000 words it’s closer to a book than an article, and not a single word is wasted. This is a resource we’ll refer to for decades to come.

The piece is worth your full undivided attention, so I won’t quote or spoil much. But what’s clear is that Parker gets it — in stark contrast to Steve Jobs’s anointed biographer Walter Isaacson. Ive, in fact, effectively trashed Isaacson’s book:

“I’ve seen Jony deeply frustrated, but I’ve never seen him rant and rave,” Laurene Powell Jobs said, and she added, laughing, that she would not have said the same of her husband. (And it’s hard to imagine Ive using a disabled-parking spot, as Jobs often did, long before he was unwell.) Ive likes to be liked; the story seemed to be a preëmptive defense of Jobs veiled as self-criticism. It was also an indirect response to Walter Isaacson’s 2011 biography of Jobs, which, though not hostile, included examples of unkindness. In a later conversation, Ive said that he’d read only parts of the book, but had seen enough to dislike it, for what he called inaccuracies. “My regard couldn’t be any lower,” he said, with unusual heat.

In addition to Ive, Parker also has honest, bracing quotes from Tim Cook, Bob Mansfield, and others. It’s just an astounding, thunderous example of the new post-Jobs/post-Katie Cotton “open Apple”, and Parker has made the most of it.

There’s much to digest, but I think the biggest takeaway is that Jony Ive is stretched very thin. The Watch is clearly his baby, but he’s also heavily involved in the supervision of Apple’s new campus and he’s working with Angela Ahrendts on a heretofore unannounced redesign of Apple’s retail stores.

Monday, 16 February 2015