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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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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.

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