Businessweek has published the full transcript of their interview with Jony Ive and Craig Federighi. It's a great read. These are some of my favorite excerpts.
at any given day, we’re looking at “what’s the behavior of the home screen?” or the log screen, and we’re together talking about it and we’re in the company of various designers and engineers who are also part of that discussion. But it was throughout the release and an ongoing set of semistructured discussions to work through all the different design issues, to review. We would prototype. We would review how it felt. Did it really work in the way we hoped it did once it was in our hands? We would get versions of it that we would live on, and then we would get together and we’d say, “I’m using it and I like this, but this bit is not coming together quite the way we wished,” and we’d iterate. So a lot of those conversations are just driven by perfecting the product together.
It’s interesting. Successful collaboration, in your mind, could be that your opinion is the most valuable and becomes the prevailing sort of direction. That’s not collaborating.
Somehow, because our products are used by more than one person, you don’t accept “OK, there is this polar opinion and this opinion,” because basically then what can happen—and I have seen this in other places—what can happen is that energy then is spent in the debate, rather than the belief that, you know what? We have an ambition that is real because we believe there is a solution. There is an idea that actually transcends that debate.
On iOS 7
One of the things that we were interested in doing is, despite people talked about this being “flat,” is that it’s very, very deep. It’s constructed and architected visually and from an informational point of view as a very deep UI, but we didn’t want to rely on shadows or how big your highlights could get. Where do you go? I mean, there is only so long you can make your shadows.
It wasn’t an aesthetic idea to try to create layers. It was a way of trying to sort of deal with different levels of information that existed and to try to give you a sense of where you were.
But the idea of how we could create this sense of depth, that was just the most phenomenal collaboration which required everything from motion graphics to sensing in the hardware to the most remarkable sort of algorithms from a software point of view.
There are times when I think either one of us or members of the team can feel discouraged. So I think that’s one of the things that’s fantastic working in groups. When you really think this can’t be solved and perhaps we’ve got too ambitious here, it’s fantastic when you’ve got other people round you to keep you going.
The fact that we’re all united, that we are genuinely focused on trying to solve the same problem, I think those are the days that you go home feeling what a privilege it is to work at Apple.
And you don’t do it because you like this idea of collaboration. You do it because you really like the idea of trying to solve difficult problems and make better products. And collaboration is actually a requirement.
Whether it’s the engineers or the HI designers, they understand that there is no questioning why we are putting so much effort into something that seems small. Of course, that is the right solution, and we are going to put all the energy necessary from the smartest people we have to get it right. And I think we see that in every member of the team across so many areas. I think you just do that over and over again, and you get a different result.
you could spend 60 percent of the time actually debating the virtue of why are we doing this. And I think one of the characteristics of Apple is that, if we’re faced with a hard problem—and the product is the culmination of many hard problems solved—if we face the hard problem, we don’t spend time debating why are we doing this. You know, the virtue of solving it. We spend all of our time just like trying to solve the problem.
When developing silicon, I think it’s probably the longest schedule that we work with. So you get to sense then if something as fundamental as that was architected into the process for the 5S, how long we have been working on this.
I think Tim absolutely resonates with those values. I think of Tim first and foremost as almost a beacon for Apple’s values. I think Tim understands intuitively how what we do here is the product of so many disciplines working so closely together. And he does everything he can to foster that happening to create great products.
On Inevitability in Design
One of the ironies is that, from a design point of view, we feel that we’ve done our job when you finally get to that point and you think, “Well, there couldn’t be a rational alternative.” It appears inevitable. It almost appears like it wasn’t designed. Then we feel like we got it right, which is sort of semi-ironic, as a design team, to not make you feel like it was designed. But that’s what we try to do.