Jony Ive wishes he could kick Scott Forstall in the face, due to crimes against UI design. Or something.
You might have noticed that Jony Ive recently got knighted, and he spoke to the Telegraph about all things design. Naturally, he was asked about Apple’s software design, including iCal’s nasty stitched UI. He apparently winced a bit, but diplomatically offered the following quote:
My focus is very much working with the other teams on the product ideas and then developing the hardware and so that’s our focus and that’s our responsibility. In terms of those elements you’re talking about, I’m not really connected to that.
Initially, this seems surprising—Apple’s hardware and software people being so separate. However, the perceived clash between Apple’s minimal hardware and increasingly ‘real world’ software interfaces actually stem from the same foundation of usability. In other words, both methodologies are designed to make things easier for users—the hardware should get out of the way, and the software should be welcoming, intuitive and, where possible, familiar. Apple certainly doesn’t always succeed in terms of software UI design, but in aping real-world items, it often gives users a head-start they wouldn’t otherwise have (while simultaneously typically infuriating tech-savvy users).
Quite how Jesus Diaz extrapolated this into What Jony Ive Wishes He Could Say About Apple’s User Interfaces, I don’t know. There’s quite a lot of projection within his piece, and he bangs on about the usual things people (including myself) have banged on about in the past, but it’s clear Apple has fairly set thinking regarding software interfaces, and it’s not about to follow Microsoft down the path of UI minimalism. Sales figures suggest the company’s right, but the way things are—and Ive’s quote—doesn’t suggest Ive himself wants to kick Scott Forstall in the face. It just suggests that Apple’s got what the company perceives as the right person on hardware and the right person on software.