Jony Ive reflects on the design challenges of the Apple Watch

Jony Ive
Jony Ive (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Jony Ive recently guest-edited at the Financial Times.
  • The designer shared some of his favorite tools and design processes.
  • He also reflected on the Apple Watch project.

Jony Ive, the former head of design at Apple, recently reflected on his time working on the Apple Watch.

The designer recently guest-edited at the Financial Times and also sat down with his LoveForm partner Marc Newson. Ive specifically discussed his obsession with silver and how Newson helped him finish the Apple Watch.

Apple is known for commonly making silver an available color for most of its devices and it appears that Ive may have had something to do with that. In one guest article called "The Magic of Silver," Ive reflected on the material, calling it "pure and noble."

"It was in a workshop that I realised I was particularly drawn to certain materials. Silver is uniquely pure and noble. It is malleable and rewarding to work. While it is inherently valuable and precious, it remains affordable and so is made into a range of objects with more applications than most other precious metals. While it has long been associated with transformation and mysticism, for me there is something captivating about the nature of its colour. Silver is an ethereal white. It almost has no colour – or every colour – while titanium or nickel are so very warm, and stainless steel is so very cold and blue."

The designer also sat down with his LoveFrom partner Marc Newson for an extensive conversation about the way they each work together and some of the projects they have worked on over the years. During that conversation, Ive reflected on his time spent designing the Apple Watch, calling it "a joyful and effective collaboration at a particularly difficult time."

"I do think our work on the Apple Watch together speaks to a joyful and effective collaboration at a particularly difficult time. I had felt so strongly that there was an important opportunity to create a very personal and useful product that could be worn on the wrist. I spent a lot of time wrestling with the big founding ideas and the fundamental issues of interface but had somehow assumed that the work on the actual object would be fairly straightforward."

Ive went on to admit that he struggled with the final design of the watch and that he reached out to Newson for help. With the two on the project, they were able to land on the design that we know and love today. Ive said that he always strives to land on a design "where there doesn't really appear to be a rational alternative."

"When the basic architecture of the idea was defined, I really struggled with the physical design. It was from that place of struggle that I asked you to help. While it was humbling for me, I think we got to the final design quickly together. We are proud of the work. I always hope to achieve that sense of inevitability, that simplicity where there doesn't really appear to be a rational alternative. I know when we are working together we are trying to find the same design. I don't know whether it's just the combined experience. I don't know whether it's just the chemistry and the shared references. But it seems like a particularly precious and valuable place to be."

You can check out all of Ive's guest edits on the Financial Times website.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.