Jony Ive: What’s it like working at Apple?

Jony Ive 1

Apple's SVP of design Jony Ive has shed light on life at Apple and how core principles of the firm remain the same despite the loss of its co-founder Steve Jobs.

Ive discussed the philsophy behind creating products, life under current chief Tim Cook and the pressure associated with developing hit products in a Q&A with The New York Times. The SVP also teased that new materials will shortly be introduced.

Apple's ethos

The need to focus on products is ingrained into Apple's DNA and isn't something which is going to change under the stewardship of Tim Cook, according to Ive.

"Steve [Jobs] established a set of values, and he established preoccupations and tones that are completely enduring and he established those principles with a small team of people. I've been ridiculously lucky to be part of it. But Tim was very much part of that team for that last 15 or 20 years," he said.

One of the things different between us and some of our competitors is we just focus on the product, developing good products.

Life under Tim Cook

While Tim Cook may not be the showman that Steve Jobs was, the current CEO has a 93 per cent approval rating among Apple employees. Cook has delegated authority to senior members of the firm's leadership team including Ive and Craig Federighi, SVP of software engineering, who was a prominent figure at WWDC 2014.

"We meet on average three times a week. Sometimes those meetings are over in his space, sometimes here in the design studio," Ive explained.

"Heading on for two decades working with Tim, one of the things I have always admired is the quiet consideration he gives to trying to understand how he perceives something. He will take the time. I think that testifies to the fact that he knows it's important."

The pressure of developing the next big iThing'

With a streak of hit products under its belt, Apple has become a victim of its own success. Shareholders and consumers demand a 'wow' factor every 12 months, and this is something Ive believes will never change.

"People felt exactly the same way when we were working on iPhone. The iPhone was broadly dismissed. The iPod was broadly dismissed. The iPad was probably more copiously written off as a large iPod.

"When working on projects, you have this determination. You just keep going. If doing anything new, you're very used to having insurmountable obstacles. At some point you have to make a call at some point you have to say, 'We've stretched this and we've come up against laws of physics, which we cannot change.'"

What's on the horizon?

Apple has already released details aboutiOS 8 and OS X Yosemite (10.10) but so far any announcements about new hardware has been lacking. Cupertino is expected to release a redesigned iPhone, refresh the look of its MacBooks and possible even introduce an iWatch by the end of 2014.

Ive declined to share details on any forthcoming products in typical Apple fashion, but did note the firm will introduce new materials, one of which is expected to be a Sapphire Crystal display for the iPhone 6.

"I would love to talk about future stuff they're materials we haven't worked in before. I've been working on this stuff for a few years now. Tim is fundamentally involved in pushing into these new areas and into these materials," he teased.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.