Apple's Jony Ive, Craig Federighi Say it's Quality Over Quantity When it Comes to iPhone 5S/5C Specs
September 20, 2013 1:14 PM
The hardware/software team is more worried about perfecting features rather than rolling out several new ones
When people think about
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
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.
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."
"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
"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
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