Jonathan Ive has recently given an interview at Hodinkee, a specialized watch medium. The chief responsible for hardware and software design at Apple has been involved in the process of creating the Apple Watch from the first minute, and in this interview he gives some interesting details of that stage.
The first of them highlights something we already knew: that the Apple Watch is the first project beyond Steve Jobs. The co-founder of the Cupertino company “was not particularly interested” in watches, according to Ive, so the first internal discussions to create it did not start until 2012.
At that time, with the death of Jobs still very recent, Apple thought “in the direction where I wanted to go“:
Unquestionably, I believe that Apple has made decisions difficult to understand since the 70s. But we have also made inaccessible technology easy and understandable.
The Apple Watch does not wear, it dresses
The executive and designer talks about how Apple took the unusual decision to consult external experts to create the Apple Watch , when the normal thing in Cupertino is that there are no parallels with any other product when something new is going to be created. To create the iPod, the iPhone or the first iMac did not take anything as a reference, but Apple decided to break that limit and study the watch market well before starting to make their own.
Apple consulted experts from foundations and watch companies, but the Watch did not have any specific tribute to specific watches. Perhaps the digital crown, reminiscent of the buttons on many other watches, is what reminds us more than the Apple Watch is indeed a wristwatch:
Everything served a purpose. Everything we did was to pursue what we thought was the best solution. “
The strategy has worked: Apple is now the largest watch manufacturer in the world. And the strategy of merging it with the experience of having a device permanently connected to us in the most personal way possible, too. Properly configured, the Watch is something that “does not wear, but dresses“.
In addition, normally a product is created to solve some problem or need of the users. But Apple did not take that base with the Watch: Jonathan Ive explains that creating the watch was more “a matter of optimization and opportunity” for the user. Iva imagines that one day we will have the power of the current iPhone on the wrist: “Imagine the opportunities that could arise for the user“.
The original focus of the Watch has also changed: it began to be sold in a way very similar to how some watches are sold (models in various finishes and luxury materials), and then focus on the most successful characteristics of a health partner. Still, Jony reminds us that the focus on exercise and fitness was already a very important point in the first generation of the clock.
Despite that, Ive admits in the interview that he would love to have an Apple Watch made in platinum, both on the body and on the leash.