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The hardware/software team is more worried about perfecting features rather than rolling out several new ones

When people think about Apple products like the iPhone or iPad, the face they normally place behind the success is usually the top dogs like CEO Tim Cook or even co-founder and Apple legend Steve Jobs. But behind the public faces are two men who have worked quietly, yet obsessively to make Apple products what they are today: Jony Ive and Craig Federighi.

Sir Jonathan Paul Ive (who prefers to go by "Jony"), senior vice president of design at Apple Inc., recently sat down with USA Today for an interview before the launch of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. Ive was joined by Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering. 

Ive joined Apple's design team in 1992 while Federighi was employed at Jobs' NeXT venture in 1994, but went to Apple when it acquired NeXT. He left in 1999 but returned a decade later. 

The two are a solid team working behind the scenes on each Apple device, marrying hardware and software in a new way never seen before at Apple until iOS 7. 

During the USA Today interview, Ive and Federighi talked a lot about the new iPhones (which are being released today), but made one point real clear: they're not out to release "new"; they're out to release "better," and they're not worried about what the competition is doing.

According to Ive and Federighi, many competitors are trying to release the next big thing with a spec sheet full of new features packed into one device. But Apple's super team that is Ive and Federighi feel it's more important to perfect certain features rather than roll out a ton of half-brewed ones. 

"Look at the camera space, companies are chasing megapixels but the pictures often look horrible because of their tiny sensors," said Federighi. "My family cares about taking a good picture, not a megapixel count. We carry that through to all the decisions we make about our phone. What experience is it going to deliver? Not what number will it allow us to put on a spec sheet."

Ive agreed.

"That is exactly it," said Ive. "It's just easier to talk about product attributes that you can measure with a number. Focus on price, screen size, that's easy. But there's a more difficult path, and that's to make better products, ones where maybe you can't measure their value empirically.

"This is terribly important and at the heart of what we do. We care about how to design the inside of something you'll never see, because we think it's the right thing to do."

Ive and Federighi say Apple sells more than just devices with the latest specs, but also a philosophy that each and every detail will be carefully examined. Take the iPhone 5S' new fingerprint scanner, for example. 

"This right here is what I love about Apple, this incredibly sophisticated powerful technology that you're almost not aware of, it absolutely blows me away," said Ive. "You can't get this without working cross-functionally."

Ive also made it clear that Apple isn't worried about what the competition is up to. 

"We, and the people who buy our products, steer us," said Ive. "It's certainly not other corporations at all, and we've shown that for a long time.
"I would love, love, love to show you what we are working on now, but I'd lose my job."

One major complaint against Apple is that it isn't innovating the way it did when Jobs was around. Instead of introducing the next big thing, like the iPhone was in 2007 and the iPad was in 2010, there are concerns surrounding the fact that Apple has only tweaked its pre-existing devices since the death of Jobs in 2011. 

"I've been here for years, and the way we're working is the same," said Ive. "Nothing's changed in terms of that. We're trying to solve problems in terms of future products that are incredibly complex, whose resolutions have no precedent. And then sometimes there are a lot of people who talk about stuff who aren't at Apple anymore, so that's a self-selecting group."

"People come here for the values that are evident in every product we build," added Federighi. "When we make decisions, it's not a battle of people trying to break us out of our value system. We all want to double down on these values, whose aim is to make things simpler, more focused. Those are spoken and unspoken mantras in all the discussions we have. You can call that Steve's legacy, but it's Apple now."

Source: USA Today

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Funny excuses for releasing a mediocre device
By UpSpin on 9/20/2013 4:26:13 PM , Rating: 1
Apple is the one who brags about 64 bit, a meaningless number with which they try to compare the A7 to other ARM chips.
Apple is the one who even invented meaningless marketing words, just for bragging, like Retina Display.

What many people wanted was either a budget Smartphone for the masses, but that's not Apple's way, OK.
Or a modern smartphone with a large screen and tiny bezel.

At the time of the iPhone release, the display size was fine. It was the best compromise between cost and usability. But this was 6 years ago. A lot of people still like the size and want that size, but many more just want more as can be seen by which Android phones are the most popular ones. Not the mini versions comparable to the iPhone, but the 5" ones or even larger. Apple is the only company not getting it.

Their SoC is top-notch, so their designs, their OS is fluid but sadly dated and lacks functionality, personality compared to Android or WP8. The features they add to the hardware are great and useful (Dual Flash, Fingerprint reader). (in contrast to the simple new skin for the OS)
But the overall package, something this article is about and they think that's the most important part is just several years old.

The use case of smartphones has evolved, and Apple isn't keeping up with it. The gap between smartphones and tablets and computers gets narrower and narrower, except at Apple. They still live in the year 2007, the time they introduced the iPhone.

If they don't at least catch up it will end the same way it did with Apple vs. MS, except that this time customers can be happy that an open OS wins.

RE: Funny excuses for releasing a mediocre device
By UpSpin on 9/21/2013 1:17:43 PM , Rating: 1
I think you missed my point.

By superstition on 9/22/2013 11:00:18 AM , Rating: 1
Apple is the one who brags about 64 bit, a meaningless number

I guess you missed Samsung's copycat 64-bit announcement in making your "point".

RE: Funny excuses for releasing a mediocre device
By Tony Swash on 9/22/13, Rating: -1
By Cheesew1z69 on 9/22/2013 1:01:39 PM , Rating: 1
Guess which tablet AMRv8 will be on first?

Guess who gives a shit besides you and the other Jerky Boys? And ARMv8 was introduced in 2011, it's not new.

It's pretty pathetic that your talking points are all the same and repeated every post.

RE: Funny excuses for releasing a mediocre device
By UpSpin on 9/22/2013 1:33:35 PM , Rating: 2
I haven't said that Samsung didn't brag with specifications. Quite contrary, I agreed with the two interviewed, which said that others, like Samsung brag about their specs. But they also said that for Apple it isn't about specs, but only the overall package and user experience, which is false, see my post above.

So again, you totally missed my point, and your reply is totally unrelated to this article and my post. It's a random stupid rant.

By superstition on 9/22/2013 6:46:23 PM , Rating: 2
Apple is the one who brags about 64 bit, a meaningless number

Someday, perhaps, you'll read what you wrote.

Samsung is also bragging about 64-bit.
It's a random stupid rant.

That's the impression I got from your post, yes.

By Reclaimer77 on 9/22/2013 9:29:43 PM , Rating: 2
Nobody is copying anyone. ARM has been 64bit ready, Apple didn't develop the spec, its ARMv8.

Unlike Apple, Samsung actually needs to move on 64bit. By next year they'll have devices with 4 gigs of RAM. They were going that direction with or without Apples plans, out of necessity if nothing else.

By superstition on 9/22/2013 9:54:53 PM , Rating: 2
So, 64-bit is not a "meaningless number".

Apple has the tendency, at least it did under Jobs, to try to keep things under wraps. So, if you think Samsung is going to release a product with 4 GB of RAM, it's also possible that Apple will.

What is going to need all that RAM? Or, is it just more of the specs war?

By Reclaimer77 on 9/22/2013 10:09:45 PM , Rating: 2
You're using quotations on someone who never said that FYI.

And considering how even the iPad still only has 1 gig of memory... well I don't know.

To answer your question, the Note phones need lots of RAM because they are heavy multi-taskers. Samsung's custom UI allows two apps to run in windows simultaneously.

By superstition on 9/23/2013 2:26:52 PM , Rating: 2
Two windows being shown onscreen requires more than 3 GB of RAM? What apps need 2 GB each?

RE: Funny excuses for releasing a mediocre device
By vol7ron on 9/21/2013 11:33:31 AM , Rating: 2
You think Android is open OS? It's not. It's closed open source. There's a big difference between true open source and closed open source.

You think Apple is the only one coming up with marketing words like Retina display? How about Samsung with the UI they're calling TouchWiz? Companies market... if you're oblivious to that fact then you're either 3 or there's no helping you. It seems like the harder it is to talk about something important and worth talking about (like the brilliance and high resolution or pixel density of a display) the more you want to market it so there's an easier way to talk about it. Now people say "Retina Display" or "HD" and somewhat know what you're talking about. It's education/acceptance through marketing.

Agree with the OS. Been using iOS 7 for months and am already getting tired of it, wishing for iOS 8. The featureset and customizability is one place where Android excels. However, there is benefit in having something more common and less diverse.

RE: Funny excuses for releasing a mediocre device
By UpSpin on 9/21/2013 1:14:55 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, for me Android is open source. I can download the source code of the currently released Android version, modify the way I like, compile and release it and further develop it. I can do with it whatever I want, without any restrictions! (see CyanogenMod, MIUI, all the other modifications built by Samsung, HTC, Sony, ...)
The development of the next version is private and not open, but this doesn't change the fact, that the source code is open and free!
The Google apps are closed source, but those have nothing to do with Android, because they are seperate and you're independet of them. You can use other markets, maps apps, etc. If you don't like Google, you can avoid them, but still use Android.
And btw. 'closed open source' is nonsense.

I haven't said that Apple is the only one with marketing words. But those two here in the interview said that they don't really care about them.
So I just said that Apple likes and uses specs as much as Samsung or others to illustrate the superiority of their latest device and it's nonsense what those two are talking with the Quality vs. Quantity.
Apple is the one who constantly bragged with how much they sold, how much faster it is, ...

They know exactly that the current device is not what customers and investors wanted/expected, and to avoid to admit it (clearly they can't admit such a thing) they start inventing such random nonsense to justify the poor specs (tiny display, huge borders) of the iPhone 5S.

By vol7ron on 9/23/2013 12:09:36 AM , Rating: 2
Google releases their source code only after they've released their device and does not commit their updates before hand - closed point 1. Sometimes, as with what happened with Honeycomb, they don't even release the source code for some time - closed point 2. Finally, you can't even claim it's "Android" unless your device meets their specs - closed point 3 - only, to meet their specs, you generally need some proprietary piece of hardware. Why do you need hardware to use the "open source" software name?

Yes, Apple does play into investors and the media with its numbers, but it has always touted quality vs quantity. That was the whole essence of what Jobs wanted to begin with - taking the bulky computer and making a household masterpiece and not something you put in the basement, but something you could show off. Apple wasn't selling more Macs then MS devices, they sold Macs at a huge premium and hardly had any market share before the iPod, but the computers they sold were solid - personally, I didn't care because at the time I was a Microsoft/Linux shop. Regardless, quality and design were the two main focuses.

Your last point may be true, who knows. Aside for the screen size, which may be the main focus because it's easy to see initially, I think they put out a device that is really nice. The camera was a great step - finally, a larger pixel sensor - the fingerprint reader can be useful, but the big thing, I think, is what most people won't really talk about - the 64bit processor. They've loaded more registers to make it potentially awesome. While these devices (4S/5) may not be able to handle it, in the iOS beta they had a panoramic wallpaper that changed with your position - that is a neat effect that we'll see in the devices to come. The 64b processing will help in keeping the battery cost low.

Apple's biggest challenge is keeping up with (ahead of) the other manufacturers. When you're one company competing against many and only coming up with one product a year, you have to be ahead of the curve. Apple is sitting on a phone that's a smaller screen size that Apple-minded consumers have to deal with for a whole other year, but the fingerprint, camera, and processor may give them enough edge for at least half a year.

Looks like they reached their BS quota.
By maven81 on 9/20/2013 2:11:13 PM , Rating: 5
"We, and the people who buy our products, steer us," said Ive.

Oh really?! That's funny because Apple pooped all over Intel (even making an ad with a slug!) until they realized the PC market was eating them for lunch and next thing you know they had the Intel CEO on stage. Jobs also insisted that no one needs a screen bigger then 3.5" because "no one's going to buy that". (He also insisted that no one needs video on an iPod, until they released the video iPod).

But looking at their current products, and what the people who buy them asked for... Not a single professional user I know has asked for the mac pro trashcan. Likewise I don't know of anyone that asked for a thinner imac. When people asked for blu-ray they pretended it doesn't exist. In fact they killed optical disks entirely. I also know plenty of people that would buy a thicker iphone with a bigger battery, in place of a thinner iphone.

One could write a book about this doublethink, denial, and clever marketing. Recall when they couldn't figure out a way to make a tiny ipod with a screen, they decided to create one without it (the shuffle) and pass it off as a feature. There was actually a giant billboard for it on my way to work that read "life is random". Life was only random until the next generation, when they figured out how to make a small ipod with a screen.

I'm very happy with the fact that people are finally waking up to this crap.

By superstition on 9/21/2013 12:49:45 AM , Rating: 2
There was a time when PowerPC chips were faster than Intel chips, at least in laptops. Also, years later, AMD was beating Intel because of Intel's mediocre NetBurst platform and Itanium.

Apple had to go to Intel because Motorolla/Freescale couldn't keep pace, just as AMD hasn't been able to keep pace lately. Regardless of the chip inside, the Mac OS is what matters at this point. Unfortunately, I am not happy with many of the changes that have been made since 10.6.8.

By vol7ron on 9/21/2013 11:13:35 AM , Rating: 2
You quoted something that it seems like you didn't read - my goodness man, it was only one line! Let me dissect what you quoted. When it comes to steering the direction of Apple products, there are two, not one, but two things that have an influence:
(1) we, referring to Apple (Ive and team); (2) the consumers (the point being made, not the media or other companies).

That said, look at what you wrote. It's like at times you pick one of the two influences and completely disregard the other. For instance...
But looking at their current products, and what the people who buy them asked for...Not a single professional user I know has asked for the mac pro trashcan.
So do you think this might be one of those times where the design team wanted to try something new?

I agree that there are a lot of faults that Apple has, especially since they explicity insist they want to perfect the current features/tools/products. Really, Apple? I think email is one of the most used applications out there - let me rant and say that I can't find a "Select All" button or make mail contact groups - for something that is so used and has been around so long and should be easy to perfect. I think this shoots a hole in that statement.

But the rest of your statement drills down to customer preference. You want a thicker phone w/ more battery, I don't. I want it slimmer to fit in my pocket - if you want something bulkier, I'd recommend you get a Mophie (battery/case). You think the Shuffle was because they couldn't get a small screen, I don't - it was/is a perfect workout player - people liked it so much that after they discontinued it, they brought it back. I also don't like how they don't have Blu-Ray, but to be honest, optical discs are dying - physical medium in general is dying. That said, why ship a DVD reader/writer, but not BluRay - agree with you that this doesn't make sense.

I'm responding because you took the time to write something at length, so I feel you deserve a proper response. You think people are waking up when I think you're just closing your eyes.

RE: Looks like they reached their BS quota.
By Tony Swash on 9/21/13, Rating: -1
RE: Looks like they reached their BS quota.
By Cheesew1z69 on 9/21/2013 4:15:20 PM , Rating: 1
Outside of a few specialist users who would need an old fashioned desktop PC anymore?
How utterly ignorant can you possibly be.....

RE: Looks like they reached their BS quota.
By Tony Swash on 9/21/13, Rating: 0
RE: Looks like they reached their BS quota.
By Cheesew1z69 on 9/21/2013 7:17:30 PM , Rating: 3
Cool story bro, not going to happen anytime soon as much as you like to believe it.

By retrospooty on 9/21/2013 8:21:21 PM , Rating: 2
LOL. He does have a fascinating fantasy life, give him that. It's a complete fantasy to think that a closed platform will ever ever ever take over any market segment. IOS had a head start 2007 to 2011, but its already peaked. The open market is already taking over and that is what bothers Tony and the reason he keeps railing against it.

Unless the closed platform is significantly better, or significantly cheaper it will never win versus the open platform. Apples platform is not significantly better, its not even equal. Never going to happen.

By UpSpin on 9/21/2013 6:35:57 PM , Rating: 2
Sadly it's not as easy as you think. It's not an issue for Apple to run Mac OSX on ARM, the same way it's probably fairly easy for MS to run Windows 8 on ARM. The issues come with the programs and drivers on top of it. Both Windows and Mac OS run native code, no program will work any longer.

It's totally different if your programs run in a virtual machine, as is the case with .NET programs (which probably still would work on Windows 8 ARM) or just about almost any Android app (the reason you can run Android on ARM, MIPS, X86 processors with 99% app compatibility).

I agree with you, and I also think that Apple would like to move everything to ARM on their own in house designed SoCs, independent of Intel. But it's not going to happen soon, especially as long as the ARM chips are slower than the latest Intel chips. People who edit movies, pictures, ..., people who want a powerful machine buy a Mac, not people who visit kitten sites and waste their time ;-)

right right
By sprockkets on 9/20/2013 4:17:30 PM , Rating: 5
During the USA Today interview, Ive and Federighi talked a lot about the new iPhones (which are being released today), but made one point real clear: they're not out to release "new"; they're out to release "better," and they're not worried about what the competition is doing.

Sure. And that control center, notification center and your "new" flat look didn't come from your main competitor either.

Sorry Jony, your RDF (aka bullsht) isn't as good as Cook's.

RE: right right
By retrospooty on 9/20/2013 4:21:08 PM , Rating: 3
"Sure. And that control center, notification center and your "new" flat look didn't come from your main competitor either. Sorry Jony, your RDF (aka bullsht) isn't as good as Cook's."

Apple people are just... creepy arent they?

Freegin ick man.

Finally, some senses from Apple
By milktea on 9/20/2013 2:00:39 PM , Rating: 2
What Jony Ive said actually makes more sense than the CEO. Tim was just a complete nut taking trash about competitors. Apple should just replace the CEO with their head designer.

RE: Finally, some senses from Apple
By mik123 on 9/20/2013 2:04:31 PM , Rating: 2
Apple should just replace the CEO with their head designer.

Why, do you want Ive to stop designing?

By aurareturn on 9/20/2013 4:09:52 PM , Rating: 2
Going from leading design to leading a 500 billion dollar company is very different.

Impossibly high expectations
By Shig on 9/20/2013 2:56:55 PM , Rating: 2
The legions of fans that magnified the already out of control wall-street hype made any product they come out with just not good enough. It'll never be good enough, expectations are out of control, and Tim Cook doesn't know how to manage them like Jobs did.

At least this guy isn't an idiot like Cook imo.

First problem..
By vol7ron on 9/21/2013 10:38:43 AM , Rating: 2
But behind the public faces are two men who have worked quietly, yet obsessively to make Apple products what they are today: Jony Ive and Craig Federighi.

Jony Ive has been a public face from the start. There's a team of designers/developers working on these products, yet Ive received the sole attention. Go watch the initial iPhone launch, the cameras are on him as Jobs has him stand up from the crowd.

From that point on he's been in the limelight. He has been the voice of many of the design videos, he's been in interview videos, he's on stage at almost every event. I don't know if I'd be right, but I'd propose that more people recognize Ive then they know Cook.

Had to get this out before continuing to read the rest of the article

I am confused...
By vanionBB on 9/23/2013 2:18:18 PM , Rating: 2
Why did you drag Ace and Gary into this? There is nothing ambiguous or gay about this article. Where is the innuendo?, you only said the word "behind" four times!

You have invoked the duo and have not used innuendo at all, anywhere...

This is BLASPHEMY!!!

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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