27/05/2014

Jony Ive biography by Leander Kahney


OK this book is not brand new, but it's taken me until now to create the time to read it.

Getting any decent info on Apple and Jony Ive's design process is notoriously difficult. Not only is Apple wrapped in secrecy, but Ive himself has always been reluctant to offer any details of practical design matters. Instead in interviews he tends to stick to general design philosophies.

Leander Kahney's biography could easily have been an exercise in hero worship and conjecture, but it's surprisingly insightful. The book is comprised of interviews with former Apple staff and suppliers. The level of detail is unlike anything I've read before on Apple. It details team members, roles, structures, equipment, disputes, difficulties, triumphs and discarded design concepts.

A lot of material appears to have been taken from evidence submitted in Apple v Samsung which covers the inception of the iPhone and the various prototyping stages it went through.

Of course there is an amount of fluff around Ive's family and "genius", but beyond this padding there is, what I believe to be, the first insightful look at Apple's design approach and how it's changed over the years. If you're in any way interested in hardware design (industrial or otherwise) and if you've admired Apple's work, then I recommend getting a copy.