In Patently Apple’s first report on the new products introduced at Apple’s October 30 event I noted under the topic of the iPad that “Apple’s SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller’s voice introducing the new iPad Pro not Jonathan Ive. We really miss Ive’s classic introductions.” Perhaps I wasn’t alone in thinking that as a new interview with Jonathan Ive surfaced today to talk about the new iPad Pro.
The British online newspaper ‘The Independent’ interviewed Jonathan Ive about the new iPad Pro. Reporter David Phelan began the interview asking whether Ive felt any special responsibility when a well-loved and commercially successful product is being changed drastically.
Ive: “I think your responsibility actually goes further back than that. It starts with the determination not to fall into the trap of just making things different. Because when a product has been highly regarded there is often a desire from people to see it redesigned. I think one of the most important things is that you change something not to make it different but to make it better.
If you are making changes that are in the service of making something better, then you don’t need to convince people to fall in love with it again. Our sense of habit and familiarity with something is so developed, there is always that initial reaction that is more of a comment on something being different rather than necessarily better or worse. In my experience, if we try very hard to make material improvements, people quickly recognize those and make the sort of connection they had before with the product.”
Phelan: How hard is it to create elements which people consider to be magical – do they come through painstaking work, or eureka moments?
Ive: “Oh dear, I loathe the thought of being predictable, but it’s a combination. Some of these capabilities and features are enabled by extraordinary technology that takes so many years to develop, so those are decisions that we’ve made often many years in advance. Face ID, for instance, is such a remarkably complex and sophisticated set of technologies, it’s not just one that was developed to a singular goal.
I think what puts a product in the place where it’s described as magical is often about those attributes which are less easy to describe. You can’t quite put your finger on what it is.
What I think marks the new iPad Pro as particularly special is it doesn’t have an orientation. It has speakers all the way around the perimeter. By getting rid of the Home Button and developing Face ID, the tablet is able to work in all of these different orientations.
One of the other changes on the newly announced iPad Pro comes in a detail at the very corners of the screen. It is the kind of change you might not spot – but which can fundamentally change your experience of the product.
If you look at the iPad Pro, though, you can see how the radius, the curve in the corner of the display, is concentric with and sympathetic to the actual enclosure. You feel it’s authentic, and you have the sense that it’s not an assembly of a whole bag of different components: it’s a single, clear product.
Many of us wouldn’t consciously say ‘this is the reason I’m fond of this’ but I do think as a species we are capable of sensing much more than we are capable of articulating. I think the new iPad Pro is something so singular and integrated that it appears different from 99 per cent of other complex technology products.”
On the iPad Pro, Ive says he’s thinking about the tablet’s edge, which is now flat where on previous iPads it’s been curved. “We managed to change the form so that the section at the edge has a simple vertical face instead of a curved edge. The reason we could do that was the product had reached the point where the fabulous engineering teams have been able to make it so very thin that it meant we could have a very simple straightforward edge detail. We couldn’t have done that before when the products weren’t as thin as this.”
David Phelan goes on to talk with Ive about Apple Pencil, the Smart Keyboard, the use of aluminum and more. Check out the full Independent report here.