While there was somewhat of a debate on Sunday as to whether Apple could still be thinking of a next-gen HDTV or not, a new Time interview with Sir Jonathan Ive surfaced early this morning that packed quite a punch. It provided us with Ive's most stark quote to date: "We're at the beginning of a remarkable time." Was the timing of Ive's interview coincidental or simply perfect timing? Ive is Apple's master Industrial Designer who meticulously pays attention to every possible detail of every product that Apple develops. So when he says "we're at the beginning of a remarkable time" – you have to smile knowing it's just another detail to another master plan. This time around, it's a positive marketing message to crank up the volume as they march towards their annual World Wide Developer Conference in June. With Tim Cook saying this was the year for new product categories to emerge, the excitement is beginning to mount.
Time posted a great article today by John Arlidge called "Jonathan Ive Designs Tomorrow." While the article has many interesting segments, the one that stood out for me the most was the one titled "What's Next?"
Time states that "the new big thing is wearable tech. Google has brought out web-enabled Google Glass spectacles. Samsung and Sony have introduced web-linked smartwatches. Will Apple make an iWatch? Ive's reply was simple and expected: "Obviously, there are rumors about us working on… and, obviously, I'm not going to talk about that. It's a game of chess, isn't it?"
Yet the timing of the article is interesting considering that we learned more about Apple's forthcoming Healthbook earlier this morning. Apple's Healthbook user interface strongly suggests that Apple's iPhone is likely to get a new accessory supporting some of the new features highlighted in their Healthbook. Yet only time will tell on that front.
On the topic of fast-followers or copycats, Time's Arlidge notes that "I hear it again when I ask whether he is flattered or frustrated when he sees his designs so widely referenced, reworked — ok, copied. Ive sharply replies "It's theft. What's copied isn't just a design, it's thousands and thousands of hours of struggle. It's only when you've achieved what you set out to do that you can say, 'This was worth pursuing.' It takes years of investment, years of pain."
Jobs put Ive's anger into action. He severed ties with the Google boss and former Apple board member Eric Schmidt, when it emerged the search giant was developing its own answer to the iPhone. Jobs also successfully sued Samsung for $1 billion for ripping off Apple's ideas.
Ive added that "Yes, Steve Jobs had a surgically precise opinion. Yes, it could sting. But his ideas were so bold and magnificent. They could suck the air from the room."
The most interesting moment in the article is when Ive's told Time's Arlidge that "We are at the beginning of a remarkable time, when a remarkable number of products will be developed. When you think about technology and what it has enabled us to do so far, and what it will enable us to do in future, we're not even close to any kind of limit. It's still so, so new."
Are we possibly at the new beginning of a new design and product cycle at Apple? Will some of Apple's magic make its way to their World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June or will they stretch out the suspense until September when the iPhone 6 is due to debut. Only time will tell. For now, if you have the time, check out Time's article.