Having finished today reading, Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products, I feel a better sense of understanding; not so much of Jony the designer but of his company, Apple.
It almost seems like the biography is a smokescreen.
This being my first book on Apple, I didn't know what to expect but I enjoyed it from beginning to end. Well, actually, the early history of Jony Ive was slightly boring to go through but at least it paid off with the connections to his later life.
The book covers what happened backstage during significant points in time and I now see Apple in a different light because of it but its history isn't of highest interest to me.
What I take most from the book is the inner workings of the company.
Quick takeaways if you haven't read the Jony Ive book
Why don't you love documentation as much as Apple?
The written procedures comes to mind first:
…the ANPP resembled a giant checklist. It detailed exactly what everyone was to do at every stage for every product, with instructions for every department ranging from hardware to software, and on to operations, finance, marketing, even the support teams that troubleshoot and repair the product after it goes to market.
_Businesses standardizing and documenting their inner systems isn't new nor surprising. I just didn't expect it from Apple._Not sure why not. Probably because I had this image where they did everything on the spot, something closer to artists.
The Unibody process is more important than it seems
The second highlight is how much machinery Apple gobbled up to replace the old method of working with many components and fitting them together to create a product. Instead, they are opting for their unibody process where they start with a raw block of material and then carve out the product’s form, allowing for a higher quality build.
The fact that you need robots for such precision work makes me wonder if this is how Apple will eventually decrease their reliance on human labor in third world countries like China and bring their manufacturing back to the US.
Industrial Designers are the new tyrannical Steve Jobs
The last takeaway is more on Apple’s organization.
Despite the dark days of Apple then, the stage was set the moment Jony Ive and his fellow designers were first brought in. The following quote sums it up:
Jony’s early experience as a consultant at Tangerine built in him a consultant’s mentality and workflow, which Jony brought to Apple, where the design studio operates like a consultancy, only within a large corporation.
Like an outside design agency, Apple’s design team is in many ways isolated and apart from everyone else. Over the years, as power shifted away from other divisions, Jony Ive’s group began cementing their hold.
The way I see it, Apple now has a pyramid-like scheme where generally the designers are the masters on top and everyone else is on the bottom. The designers are taking Steve Jobs’ place and are deciding the direction Apple is heading towards while the rest of the company is there to carry out their vision.
Of course, this secretly places Jony Ive at the helm.